My sister has known my husband longer than I have. They went to the same high school, and she was friends with his sister long before he and I ever met.
For those who don’t know the story, Nathan and I met in a debate round. I’m pretty sure no other love story has such an auspiciously geeky beginning. He and I were power debaters, both dedicated to our high school teams, and we were both used to winning.
We were paired in a Lincoln Douglas debate round, which, for the less hard core among us, means that you are debating a pre-selected topic one-on-one. One person gets assigned to present a case in favor of the topic, and the other person is supposed to negate the case. Most people have both an affirmative and negative case prepped, even though technically, a negative case isn’t required. On the negative side, all you have to do is prove the other person is wrong.
I was assigned the affirmative side, Nate the negative. In a word, he proved me wrong.
We both admit being taken with each other after that debate. I still remember loving it, relating to this person in a way I had never related to anybody before. And usually after a round, when it is clear who the winner is, the loser tries to get out of the room fast. Nathan and I walked out of the room together, still talking.
I told my sister all about it, and the next day at school, she encouraged Nate to ask me out. He did, and we tentatively started dating as our senior year in high school ended. Six years later, we were married. Yeah, there was some other stuff in there, other people, lots of angst across a couple of oceans, but in the end, we got there. Eventually.
But in the beginning of this relationship, I talked to my sister about him a lot. She described the person she knew, and I didn’t recognize who she was talking about. I thought, “That’s not what he’s like. You don’t really know him at all.” Nate has often said the reason that he fell in love with me is because I saw him, REALLY saw him, that I have always known who he was, and yet I stuck around anyway. Amazing.
Nathan is now in the bishopric in our ward. He’s been serving in that capacity for over 2 years. It is the first time in our marriage that he’s shouldered such a calling, and I can’t say it’s my favorite. Still, the most amazing thing about it is how many people tell me how much they enjoy getting to know my husband, and they say it as if they are surprised he’s a good guy. I know they mean it as a compliment, and I’m glad that they like him, but I wonder, what did you see before?
He spent the first part of the summer at girls’ camp. One young woman told me that she liked seeing the “wild” side of my husband, that she always thought he was so proper, and maybe a little stuck up. Nate doesn’t exactly live on the edge, but he’s not so proper that he’s above farting in the bed and claiming it’s a sign of love.
So it’s a new thing that I am sharing my husband with the ward, that people are getting to know him in this way. And as a member of the bishopric, he is presented to people in a new and different position. We snorted and laughed together when he had to interview me for my temple recommend, but it occurred to me that when he is in the room with another person reading the same questions, they’re probably not laughing. Maybe people have asked him for counsel, maybe people have confided fears to him, maybe people have looked to him for help, or maybe people have kept fears to themselves because they wondered if Nate was too proper to understand. And while he is as tightlipped as he should be about these matters, I know he has had to sit on councils and wrestle with the spiritual decisions about how to help those who are seeking repentance.
Sharing my husband means that for the first time since we met, there are parts of him that I can’t see.
And I’m not quite sure what to do with that.
How do you feel when you see your husband in a different light, or when others seem him differently than you do? How do you handle sharing different members of your family, and seeing them in different positions than you’re used to? How does it make you feel about yourself, your role in the family, and does it change your relationships?
For my part, I’m glad that my husband is serving the Lord, and most of the time I feel pretty okay with it. But I’ll be glad when we can attend church as a family again. There are days when everybody is pulling at my guy, and it’s all I can do to say, “STOP! MINE!” What can I say, wrestling kids in a pew alone brings out my inner 2 year old.