Saturday, August 1, 2009

Acceptance in Marriage

I am not easy to live with, especially when on "vacation" or at certain times of the month.

So, this summer when a friend accompanied us on our family road trip, he learned just how hard I really am to live with. One morning after Scott and I had a fight, I mentioned to this friend at breakfast (while Scott was away at the breakfast buffet), "I bet you are wondering why Scott has chosen to stay with me." (At this point it had been almost exactly a year since he told me that he is gay.)

He replied, "Yes, the thought has occurred to me."

The friend's open honesty was hard on me and made me start to question my marriage AGAIN. Why does my husband say that he cannot imagine life without me, and therefore stay instead of finding the man of his dreams? I really struggled for a while with my feelings of worth and my fear of losing Scott at some point in the future.

Fortunately, communication has a great healing power. Scott and I talked about my struggles. He told me about how over our years of marriage he has learned to accept me for who I am, with my emotions and stress and outbursts and nagging and fits and moments of insanity. He has come to realize that much of it is inherited and learned from my upbringing, and that I do not mean to attack him personally when I freak out.

On our wedding day several years ago, he gave me the book "Believing Christ" by Stephen E. Robinson. From the moment we started dating 4 years before, he wanted nothing more than for me to be truly happy. But happiness is always something I have struggled with. While he was on his mission, I struggled with an anxiety disorder. He was hoping that I could find happiness through the Atonement, and that the book would help me to understand it better.

I remember moments of exasperation throughout our marriage when he just wanted me to be happy, but nothing seemed to change my disposition. I was always worrying about something. If it wasn't money (or rather lack thereof), then there was always something else.

But he has gradually come to an understanding of me, of how I thrive on stress. He has also recognized my efforts and successes in trying to be a happier person. But now, with the gay issue in our lives, it has become easier for him to accept me as I am. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I have so fully accepted him for who he is. We have learned to see each other and love each other as God does. It is something that takes time and effort, and might seem impossible to younger adults, like our friend, that could not imagine how our marriage will ever survive.

But survive, it does. And not just survive, but thrive. It seems like it just keeps getting better.

I am so grateful for Scott, for his compassion and understanding and patience with me. He will truly earn some points in Heaven for loving me as he has, and I am so lucky to have him in my life.

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