Monday, April 1, 2013

To Cheer Up His Wife

Back in the day, in what many people refer to as "Bible times" marriages were arranged.  Typically, the bride would have to leave her entire family, even the very land she grew up in, to go live with her husband.  The Bible doesn't really touch on the emotional repercussions of this, good or bad.

Very recently, I moved halfway across the United States to be near my fiance and his children.  My upcoming marriage was not arranged and I am not being traded for livestock, thankfully, but I did leave everything I know and love and moved in with my future in-laws.  Although this move was completely voluntary and I am confident in my decision to do so, it isn't without some emotional turmoil.

This new land is beautiful.  These people, my new family, are awesome!  I have no regrets in coming here.  The most difficult part is that it is unexpectedly more difficult than I ever imagined.  Before coming here I had friends, who have been through this type of move, tell me that I will at times feel like I'm on a honeymoon or vacation and then all at once I will go into a deep, dark depression.  I thought that was a little dramatic, but alas, I have already experienced some of that deep, dark depression.  It happens when I least expect it:  after family gatherings, driving home from work, watching a movie with my future husband and children.  It's the tiny things.  It's the lack of routine that leaves me feeling a little lost, it's the smidge of jealousy that we can so easily visit his family on a whim and I now have to plan months in advance to see mine.  It's the Fridays that I used to spend with my nephew, the birthday parties for my niece and nephews that I know I will miss, the date nights with my friends, the conversations I would be having at work if I were back there versus alone in my new office.  

I let these little things, these emotions I thought I had under control, get to me until I finally snapped and broke down with a box of Kleenex and cried the cry I reserve only for funerals.  I blubbered all of these seemingly simple things to my fiance who I thought for sure was thinking I was crazy or ungrateful, or worse, thinking that I didn't love him more than all of these things.  He didn't.  He listened.  He told me he already knew, that he could feel that I was struggling and was giving me the space he knew I needed until I was ready to talk about it.  He wasn't mad that I was sad.  He didn't think I was ridiculous for being a little jealous of him. He didn't counter my expression of frustration with, "Well, how do you think I feel?!" or "Do you think this is easy on me?!"

Earlier in this post I stated:  The Bible doesn't really touch on the emotional repercussions of this, good or bad.  That's not necessarily true.  During my little breakdown, my fiance said, "You know, this makes me understand that passage about newly married men not being allowed to go to a war for a year a whole lot better."  

What?  I paused, Kleenex in hand, dabbing my wet face, trying to preserve my eye make up, and thought, isn't this where he's supposed to hug me now?  Instead he grabbed his scriptures and opened to Deuteronomy 24:5:

(KJV) When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.
(NIV) If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.

Huh.  I can imagine that a young woman, newly married, in a new land, without her mommy and BFFs, would need some cheering up from time to time.  The fact that it was specifically commanded thousands of years ago that the husband's focus should be to cheer her up, to keep her company, to help her acclimate for an entire year is no accident.  It means this isn't supposed to be easy. I don't have to suck it up and figure it out.  It's okay to be heartbroken sometimes, even after a really fun day.

The best part is that my future husband knew right where this scripture was and I know he was thinking about it while I was revealing my emotional guts.  Not only that, but he said, "This is part of my responsibility.  To be here for you in this transition, to cheer you up."

You know those romantic movies where the guy swoops up the girl and kisses her in the rain?  This was way better than that.  Girls, ladies, women- don't settle for less than someone who will actually put you before himself.  Wait for the guy who legitimately gets to know you and who wants to know you.  Romance, love, or being treated like a Queen is not about jewelry, fancy dinners, and eloquent words.  It is being with someone who lets you cry until you sweat (yeah, I sweat when I cry, it's lovely) and hugs you anyway, tightly. Someone who doesn't care if you have to use your hand to wipe your drippy nose because you don't yet have a Kleenex.  It's about being able to truly be yourself, quirks and all.  It's about being with someone who takes care of you even when it's not easy and who feels responsible for making sure your relationship is successful.

I never imagined I would have this type of man.  I never thought I would feel about someone the way Charity Berwick feels about her husband.  Her posts about her husband always baffled me, until now.  My fiance and I are two totally different people with firm opinions and stubborn attitudes, there's a lot we don't agree on but we do agree on what it takes to have a successful relationship.  For him, one of those ways is to cheer his fiance up when she finds herself struggling to acclimate to a new life.