So today was an interesting day at church. It started with an early meeting with my bishop and a surprise release from my calling as Relief Society secretary. It was a bit of a bittersweet moment for me because on one hand I felt relief because it frees up a lot of time (at least until the next responsibility comes along). The reason they released me is they dissolved the whole presidency. They did not give me a new calling so your guess is as good as mine. I’d love if they called me to be a teacher. (As stressed out as I’d get teaching I still learned a lot).
Then we went to sacrament meeting and had one of those ‘when I was a boy’ talks where old people berate the incarnate modern times while waxing nostalgic about their television, movies, music etc. (Remind me to never do that when I’m 80). The truth is every generation has its good sides and bad sides. After all, blacks and whites couldn’t get married or go to the same pools when he was a teenager, so it hasn’t all gone down hill. Sigh…
Then we had Sunday School which was academic but fine and relief society. I was busy as we got things started and then had the lesson which was on marriage. Now, I have no problem with a lesson on marriage. Everything is not about me after all. However, this focused on ‘keeping the romance alive’. How exactly do I keep the romance alive with a relationship I don’t have? She even went so far as to give tips on writing love notes to your husband and talking about her vow renewals in Africa and Tahiti (I thought vow renewals were discouraged by the church. Who knew?).
Anyway, I normally wouldn’t care but for some reason it rubbed me the wrong way. I let a tear out during closing prayer and tried to sneak out but my visiting teaching companion saw me and was inspired to offer words of encouragement. She’s normally not a super cuddly person so I knew her thoughts were sincere, and I was very grateful that she followed the spirit.
As I was thinking about the women talking about their husbands and how one brought them breakfast in bed every weekend and another always did the dishes, I started to wonder what I would want in a husband. I guess thinking about what you’d like to have seems less melancholy than what you don’t.
One of my pet peeves is when I say something like ‘I’d like to marry a Republican’ and my friends say ‘Oh, I bet that means you’ll marry a Democrat’. This is very annoying. Yes, I get that he probably won’t be anything like I think but am I supposed to have no idea what I’m looking for because if I do I will get the opposite? This doesn’t seem logical to me.
How do you find it if you haven’t given it some thought?
I look at it like searching for a house (although even more frustrating). When househunting I had a list of must-haves. Over time, about 3/10 of those must-haves didn’t come to fruition, but I don’t think creating the list was a bad idea. It helped me get the 7/10 and some things I didn’t know I wanted.
So, it begs the question- what would my imaginary husband be like? Here goes nothing:
I think he would be kind if a little obstinate, have opinions on things and be open to discussion (I used to know a guy who had no opinions on anything, such a turnoff), he gives good hugs and has a nice smile, he probably likes the outdoors more than me but we can go to a lake and he can set up camp while I swim.
He loves God and tries his best to be a good man and worthy priesthood holder. He leans conservative and is interested in learning/talking about the world and new things. He is ok with the fact we might not be able to have our own kids.
He is willing to do laundry and doesn’t care that I hate to iron.
I imagine he comes from a big, loud family like my own, or at the least can relate when I love them and when they are driving me nuts. He lets me have time with my girls and he can do his own thing. He comes to my recitals or my swim meets even if he hates them. I will come to his events even if they are deadly dull. We both watch movies, TV and sports together.
Most importantly he loves me and when we fight (which I imagine will be somewhat explosive!) we still know that our marriage is eternal and our commitment is above any such squabbles.
Overly-simplistic? Yes. Unrealistic? Yes. The only way to stay sane? Yes.
President Eyring has a talk called The Law of Increasing Returns where he talks about how some harvests are immediate and some late, requiring great faith. It can defy human nature to keep ‘working and waiting with nothing seeming to come of it’. He speaks eloquently about the moment of frustrations some of us have when we decide ‘what’s the use?’. ‘I seem to be giving too much and getting too little’.
One of his words of wisdom for dealing with late harvest is to create a picture of what you are working for. I just love this (seriously everyone should read this talk):
“You rarely can have a photograph of that future for which you now sacrifice, but you can get pictures. Years ago, near the time of that sacrament meeting, it occurred to me that I would sometime perhaps have a family. I even joked about them, calling them “the red heads.” My mother’s hair had been red when she was young. I certainly didn’t think the idea of red heads was inspiration, just an idea. But more than once that picture was enough to make me work, and wait.
If all my four sons were here tonight, you would see two blond heads and two red ones. In a kitchen chat one evening, one of them said to me he’d not mind exchanging red hair for beach-boy blond. I just smiled. All dads may think their sons are handsome, but I would not exchange his red hair, nor my early vision of it, for spun gold.
It’s not wise to daydream, and I’m not recommending it. If you girls dream too much about a house or a car, some poor man will someday have to get it for you. But I recommend a little thought, not about things or places but about people.”
So, yes my imaginary husband is ridiculous but I agree with President Eyring that it is wise to have a picture of what you are working hard to achieve. Perhaps it makes disappointment more acute but I don’t know? If I have no idea what I am looking for does that not leave me more open to being disappointed? Regardless, it is the only way to do things. Not to be living in the stars but to have a goal, an image, a picture of who someday I might get a love note from and who I can give lessons about our great love in church…. (Remind me not to do that either!)