Marriage Letters: Once Upon a Time
These were the days they warned us about. We are tired, and it’s all starting to blur together. I can’t remember what year what happened, and we’ve only been married for 14 years. Forty years from now, I’ll be making up our story altogether, so I’m just glad we’re writing this stuff down now.
I do remember that we had been married for one year when we moved to Fayetteville to the little house behind grandma and grandpa. They had the Rock House, with the fish pond and huge pots of tomatoes. During the day we would sneak Dr Peppers out of her kitchen. At night we ate her ice-cream and watched Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy with closed captions. You worked at Office Depot before you got into law school, and we were so poor. Do you remember how desperately we need that break after the sick church, that simple time with your grandparents? Between my classes, she would make a huge tupperware bowl of tuna fish salad. It had sweet relish and miracle whip in it. She put frozen wheat bread in the microwave and placed the slices on a beautiful plate with tiny pink and blue flowers around the gold rim. She cut it into triangles and put a straw in my drink.
I would pour out my heart to her in increments because she was of a time that believed women should only wear white panties. She knew nothing of my past. She only wanted to make sure I said my prayers and read my Bible. I was trying so hard.
Do you remember how I decorated with scraps of fabric and too many picture frames? Remember the kitchen? There were approximately four cabinets and four drawers. We shopped the chicken house for old side tables. It was mishmash, and I didn’t care. I just wanted us to be good.
It takes so much more than prayers and bible-study, but I wanted marriage to be just that simple, how grandma said. There were ghosts in every room of our little house, and I thought that when we married they would leave me. I thought being under you would make me free, but it turns out that isn’t how it’s done at all. I believed in the metaphor. I believed the metaphor of marriage would do magic.
Think of us these years later, and I never look back on that time with any sadness until I ask myself to write it out. This is a hard stage, the daily grind of it, but I have never believed you more than now, that you love everything about me.
I didn’t realize then how much you would really come to know me, the me I didn’t know I was hiding and how she struggled with old ghosts. Once upon a time I hoped that you would really love me. I hoped that 14 years later I would love you.
You work a metaphor like Wendell’s farm. I say my prayers and read my Bible every single day. And I do love you. There are no magic tricks. Let’s tell the young people. It’s the day to day that always bleeds, how we run into one another, how we never stop becoming one, and how we still sometimes have to wrestle ghosts.
I am tired, but not of you, and I’ll never stop wrestling for you.
We’re starting these marriage letters again, because we need them. Go ahead and read Seth’s letter here.
When we were writing these a while back, others of you needed them, too. Even couples in church small groups followed some of the prompts. It’s good to know our own condition and to sit and think through where we are and where we’ve been, where you need to turn your attention. We have young friends who will tie the knot this year, and we pray for them with all the hope in the world. That’s how you start out, isn’t it? It’s the only thing we have: so much hope in an unseen thing.
Today we want to start again by remembering back to where we first began, the air of it all. We’re inviting you to join us in processing with a monthly prompt, and this one is “Once Upon a Time.” You can’t really mess this up unless it’s just to tell your husband he’s crappy. Try to do that in private first maybe. Otherwise, write to your spouse and tell her or him how you remember it. What was it you were hoping for when you first began?
We’ll be writing Marriage Letters the first Monday of every month and will provide you with a prompt a month in advance. You can leave a link here any time you decide to join us. Go ahead and plan to write a letter to your spouse on March 3rd, and go ahead and leave comments with suggestions for Marriage Letters topics, too.
Add your hyperlink and be sure to send your readers here so they can read other letters. Simple as that.