I’ve been looking back at the two years Spencer and I have been married. This year especially has been a hard year for us–work, school, money, church. But we are still going strong. I’m amazed by how much we have learned about each other. It is a beautiful adventure. While I’ve been looking back, I’ve been thinking a lot about false perceptions on marriage and love in the world, and specifically with young people in my religion.
I think we all know before we get married that whoever we marry, it’s going to be hard and it won’t be perfect. But I don’t think we really know until it’s in the present and things really aren’t perfect and things really are hard.
As a teenager I always wrote down the perfect personality for my husband. And at my church we would talk about our husband as a prince and the temple as our castle (perks of living in a Mormon culture–Disney is legit!). And what I often heard was stories of profound spiritual experiences, of women receiving very straight-forward, spiritual answers from God that their husband was the one. I heard other stories or beliefs of women who felt that they “without a doubt” knew their spouse in the pre-mortal life. Destiny.
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE those stories. I goo goo and gah gah at those stories. But when marriage was on the table for Spencer and me, I wasn’t getting those revelations or those profound answers from God. I didn’t have a dream of a deep bellowing voice from the clouds saying, “You will marry Spencer of Bountiful! German speaker, Star Wars lover, and future mining engineer!”
When I was in Mexico with my two best friends in 2012, Spencer and I were really starting to think about marriage. After whimpers and anxiety and annoyance at God for not telling me what to do, I realized that choosing who I would marry was mine to choose. From my past prayers with God, I knew He was aware of my desires to choose things for myself. So why was I wanting that answer now? God wasn’t going to pick up Anne doll and Spencer doll and scoot us into the temple doll house. It was my life and my choice. That’s what God wanted from the beginning. For us to choose our lives and our joys.
Once I chose to marry Spencer, countless blessings came our way to make our wedding and our start as easy as possible. I know, though, that if I did not choose Spencer, God would have continued to bless me.
It is hard to get out of the perspective that there is one true love for all of us because we are raised to search for our prince and to search for that one. I didn’t choose my true love. I chose a kind and loving person who made me laugh and who I knew loved me, cared what I had to say, cared about my dreams, and would be an equal partner in our marriage and family. I loved him.
But we choose everyday to stick together. We choose to be honest with each other. We choose to say sorry. We choose to breathe deeply. We choose to serve each other even when we’re tired. We choose NOT to runaway at 3am to catch the 4am flight to Portland and stay there until we feel like apologizing.
My parents are my example of an amazing marriage. I always knew growing up that my parents loved each other deeply. Before I got married, my mom gave me powerful advice: “Love Spencer every day. And when it’s too hard to love him, get on your knees and pray that you will love him.”
I hope my grandchildren will look at Spencer and me and think, They have such a happy marriage. They really were meant for each other. But that is not going to happen for us until we keep choosing every day to keep loving the crap out of each other.
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