The newest post in our “Up Close” series comes from FoxyJ, who lives in Utah County with her husband and two children. She loves reading, cooking, and riding her bike (except on hills). She blogs at Yellow Wallpaper and her husband blogs at The Fob Cave.
Growing up, I never liked the idea that opposites attract. I was always a bit of a social oddball and didn’t make many close friends, let alone garner many dates or interest from guys. All I wanted was a husband who would share my quirky sense of humor and love of reading. When I first met my husband one of the things that attracted me most was the fact that we were so alike; we’d served in the same mission, and then returned to BYU at about the same time with the same double major in English and Spanish. After spending a few months as ‘just friends’, we took a spring term Spanish class together and were engaged by the end of eight weeks. During the first two years of marriage we spent plenty of time together, usually arranging our schedule so we took a few classes together and met up during the day for lunch. At church we had shared callings too: first as nursery leaders and then as ward missionaries.
By our second anniversary I had finished my undergraduate degree and had our first child, so things shifted and we didn’t quite have the same intense closeness as before. But we still had a strong marriage, or so I thought until my husband sat down to talk with me one night and revealed that he had serious doubts about the Church. I was too shocked and scared to say much, so we shelved the discussion and didn’t bring it up much for the next little while. He gradually began to withdraw himself from activity, asking to be released from his calling and stopping temple attendance. He continued to attend church with me on Sundays, mostly to support me in my calling, but his heart was no longer in the Church anymore.
We went on like that for another year or so. During that year I had our second child and we moved to another state for my husband to start graduate school. My son’s emergency delivery and a difficult recovery combined with the move to throw me into a serious depression. I barely noticed my husband’s own distress, and by the end of his first quarter of graduate school we were both hanging onto our sanity by our fingernails. In despair I went to my new bishop, who recommended a counselor in a nearby city. To my surprise, both the counselor and my bishop urged us to get divorced. They counseled me that it would be better to start over with someone new, an active, ‘worthy’ Church member. My husband and I were in so much emotional pain at that point that it seemed to be the best idea for both of us. He found an apartment and I worked on finding a job. For several months we lived apart and juggled the kids between us. Then one day we realized that we still liked each other and that we still did have a lot in common. We decided to give things another try, both for ourselves and our children. Things were different; my husband did not want to attend church and we have made other shifts in our relationship. We both realized, though, that we needed each other more than anyone else. Our marriage does not look like I thought it would eight years ago when we got engaged. We’ve both changed a lot, and while some of those changes aren’t the ones I was expecting, I’m learning to be happy with who we are now.
We recently moved (again), and one night as we were arranging our new living room together my husband turned to me and said “we make a great team.” I had been thinking the exact same thing; even if we don’t share everything that we used to we still can find ways to work together. And I’m glad to know that in many ways we are still on the same team, even if it’s not as obvious as it used to be.