Sunday, July 5, 2009


The 4th of July typically involves sparks, and ours was no exception, although the sparks came sooner than expected...

It was a miscommunication--my family was coming for a BBQ at 6, only I forgot somehow to tell Scott that 6 meant they wanted to eat at 6, and were coming sooner than that to put their meat on the grill. So add to that the fact that Scott wanted to convert our grill to natural gas before the party (because the propane was nearly gone anyway) and the fact that things always take longer than he thinks they will, and you have him gone to the hardware store, the grill waiting for a gas line, and everyone in my family walking in the door, ready to cook their food, at 5:40 p.m.

Now, when it comes to my family, food and eating in a timely matter are extremely important. Otherwise, tempers flare or emotions get the best of us. In this case it happened to just be my temper and emotions, but it was in part due to the fact that I know that my entire family is driven by time and food, and the situation I found myself in was a bit more than I could handle.

Keep in mind that it has been a stressful week with Scott's nephew being run over (and as a mother, me being unable to get the resulting images and panicky feelings out of my head), fears about the future of our marriage (more on that later--keep reading), bad timing for my hormones, and the fact that I was hungry and therefore getting more and more ornery by the second...well, if you don't know me well, maybe you can't imagine the result. But if you do, oh boy, it was bad.

Our children drove me crazy all day. Like usual on Saturdays, they didn't want to do any chores, and today of all days, it was a holiday. Mom, can't we just have one day off? Who cares about the family party. They didn't actually say these words, but their actions screamed them. Eventually things got done, but in the meantime, our 11 year old was driving me crazy as usual, because instead of doing what he is supposed to do, he is usually chasing or teasing his younger brothers and making them cry. In fact, as all the children raced to the door to let grandma and grandpa in, one child got "pushed" by another child and there was more crying and blaming, as there had been all day, and I had HAD it, and sent the boys to their room. Then, as my frustration with the whole grill situation increased exponentially for every additional minute that Scott was STILL gone to the hardware store, I hear my sister say, "Oh they have new furniture. I think they've got LESS seats than they used to. And then my dad, "Yeah, especially with all the pillows." I was on the phone with Scott, "Where are you? They are all ready to put their food on the grill!" while I overheard the couch conversation.

As soon as I hung up the phone, I lost it. I don't remember everything I said, but it was about a month's worth of build up with regards to things my dad has said. "I'm sorry you don't like my new furniture and the damn pillows. Why don't you all just go home. I'm sorry you don't approve of the parties we have at our house once a month. I'm sorry that you don't like the fact we told our kids and our ward that my husband is gay. I guess I just can't do anything right."

I stormed off to my room and slammed the door and sobbed into my pillow. Why in the world did I just say all of that? I don't think my sister had yet told her 3 youngest children. Well, I guess they know now, huh? I felt so stupid, so humiliated. Our youngest child came in. "Mom, where is Dad?" "He's at the stupid store." I found out later that he repeated this to my mother a few minutes later when she asked him, "Where's your Daddy, huh?" and he matter of fact replied, "He's at the stupid store." While I was crying, my mom was chuckling at the response of my 4-year-old.

I finally slunked out of my bedroom after Scott arrived home and had the grill hooked up and working. I felt really awkward at first, but everyone just seemed to ignore what had happened, and they were visiting and getting their food out and searching for a pan to cook corn in.

We ate, we visited, we lit a few sparklers and sparking fountains in the street. As the two families and my parents left, they hugged and thanked me, and I apologized, and they said not to worry about it.

But I still felt stupid. Stupid sparks. My brother's wife commented about how it is more healthy to blow up and get it all out than to keep it bottled up inside. Well, I definitely let it all out, I guess. What a day. What a week...


How important are sparks in a marriage? Not firework sparks, not angry lose-your-temper sparks, but sparks--chemistry, love and attraction.

I believe Scott and I still have some sparks between us. At least I feel like we do, and I hope they are not all one-sided.

But what if the day comes when the sparks are extinguished, and we become "emotionally" divorced. Is it better to keep the marriage together, just in appearance, without the sparks? Living in separate rooms with separate lives, but sharing the house and finances and children and grandchildren, but otherwise being alone. No soulmate, no companion, no lover. . . no sparks?

Or is it better to separate legally as well as emotionally, remaining best friends and sharing children and grandchildren, but seeking "sparks" elsewhere, away from one another?

These are questions Scott asked me last night as he had pondered the marriage of another MoHo friend and how it has become like this first situation. And so, he wondered, if we found ourselves in the same situation, would we do the same thing?

It freaked me out. I told him I don't want to lose him. He asked me what I meant by losing him. I said that if we weren't married, living in the same house, sleeping in the same bed, that would be losing him. It was too painful to continue the conversation, and then sleep did not come easily for me.

I don't want to lose the sparks. I hope we never do.


Amigakitty said...

I understand about freaking about losing the spark with my husband too. Sometimes it feels like the spark is there and sometimes it feels forced. I too think it is too painful to think about losing him....

cj said...

Becky and I often have that thought itching in the back of our minds--what if the "spark" goes away? I know I am a little pipsqueak when it comes to marital experience, but this is what I have come up with.

I think that in any marriage, it is not if, but when that spark seems to fizzle. Every marriage has its low points, it only matters what we do when the low points come. Will we work it out? Will we talk honestly to each other? Will we forgive each other? Will we remember the reasons that we promised each other to stay together during thick and thin? Will we remember all the good things we have between us? Will we include Heavenly Father in our problems?

My father is a divorce lawyer and has seen hundreds if not thousands of couples in his office. He says the only difference between a couple that divorces and one that stays together is the level of commitment--the couple that chooses to stay together and the one that does not has essentially the same problems. Only the one who sticks together is willing to work through the problem rather than give up. (I know there are extreme cases where divorce is an absolute necessity, of course, such as abuse or unrepentant infidelity.)

Basically, when that spark seems to have fizzled one day for us, the commitment to our relationship, which hopefully we have built up during the good times, will help us through. Things get better, as they always do when we are patient and trust in a better tomorrow.

Sounds corny as I am rereading what I said, but that's what I think. ;) Recognizing that marital sparks come and go will help us deal with when they do.

Ezra said...

I will try to be better about praying for you and Scott. I will ask god to lead you both in the direction that God knows will be best.

The Wife said...

Wow! I'm sorry to hear about your weekend.

As for sparks, Chris once told me that there will be times in anyone's marriage when one person will feel the spark is gone...the trick is to make sure that both spouses don't reach that point at the same time.

I feel there is still a spark between us. We are still playful together and enjoy being intimate. But then sometimes I wonder how much of him is left craving something more...something different. I asked him last week if he could quantify how much I satisfy him, and he said he couldn't quantify it; I bet he just didn't want to quantify it because it might hurt me.

I tell Chris all the time that I don't want to lose him. He always says he's not going anywhere, but I always wonder about the future once our little guy is all grown up. It scares me a lot.

tksinclair said...

You put this so clearly. It was a year ago last week when my husband first told me and these issues are things I think about, well, maybe not "daily" but certainly A LOT. Intimacy. Intimacy. I'll be 56 next month (how that happened I'll never know - I'm sure I'm only about 35 and so is my mother!) and so the issue of age also comes into consideration at a certain point.

If things are going to fade or fizzle is it better to know sooner than later? One thing I'm seeing more and more - at my ripe ole age - is this "empty nest" thing. I don't think people plan it or anticipate it but something happens when the kids leave. Time is ticking away. You think of your regrets. Things you never got to do. Should you start over? Should you leave this world without exploring all you wanted too?

Can you "lose" someone you've already "lost?" I mean things change...people change...compromises are made...when are compromises regrets? How many can you make before you think "I can't go any further." Or "I need more". I will share this, things happen in your mid 40's. There is a mid-life - I won't say crisis, it's so cliche, but there is definitely a mid life reevaluation that comes to everyone I've ever known. The kids are leaving. You realize you only have so much time left. You see Christmas's go by faster and faster.

Intimacy. Sparks. And, do you need sparks to be happy? My ex mother and father in law were married over 50 years. FIFTY YEARS. Then, suddenly announced they were getting divorced. They fought and fought as long as I ever knew them and from what I've heard for most of those 50 years. So, what happens after 50 years that you just say "enough?"

Well, it's too much for me tonight. I'm going back to my "one day at a time" theory for now!

Sarah said...

Thanks for all of the comments. It is nice to know we (as MOMs in this blogosphere) are not alone in our feelings and fears. I really feel like with the way things are going, that Scott and I will be happy together for the rest of our lives. I know there will be ups and downs--there always have been. But we have made it through a lot, and put up with a lot of crap from each other over the years. But I have heard some crazy break-up stories (like the one you shared, Terri), and there is just that twinge of "what if" that comes up every once in a while.

Terri, is is really good to hear from you. You mention that it has been a year--the year mark for Scott and I is this coming Saturday. That reminds me of how we found each other on that stupid spouse email list last summer when everything was so fresh and confusing to both of us. I believe God lead us to each other and I am grateful for your friendship. I hope you are well.

tksinclair said...

Yes Sarah, it's been a year. Hard to believe (speaking of how fast time goes by!) We were in Alaska a year ago last week and my husband told me hardly two days before we left on a 10 day vacation with my entire family!!!! (We've come a long way, baby! LOL) I have no doubt that God brought us together. No doubt at all. I still feel bad for new people applying to that list. It's heartbreaking. The one "in person" meeting I went to was even worse. I'm grateful for your friendship too. I've been fighting, well, suffering from I guess is more accurate, bronchitas, and Sunday watched a SIX HOUR Little House on the Prairie movie. While watching I thought about the hardships young people went through then. Unimaginable to me. Protecting your children from Indians? HUH? Well, it made my problems seem somewhat trival in perspective.

Sometimes "last summer" seems like yesterday and other times it feels like a thousand years ago. Funny how life is. Will stay in touch!