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Working It Out

Rick laughs and tells me everything I write about him makes it seem like our relationship has been smooth sailing from day one, the stuff of romance novels. That’s not exactly true, I say. Anyone with a brain will know that two people in a relationship have struggles. And my sweet farmer-fiancé just smiles.

He apologizes to me for making me cry on a semi-regular basis. I laugh and tell him, we’re just working it out. I cry. I cry when doing the laundry of the beautiful and frustrating children whose parents I now help out. Those tiny little clothes are getting bigger. I will miss their sparkly eyes and their unruly hair and the frightfully intelligent smart-aleck comments. And when I realize how much I’ll miss them, I get weepy for my own unborn (un-conceived!) children who will also grow up and change and not be babies forever. I get teary when I see the wedding of anyone else these days. Reading the poetic blog of a young farmer’s wife leaves me wiping my eyes. So, sweet man, there is no need to apologize. I cry.

The emotional roller-coaster I was on during the first few months of our relationship left me wondering if I needed some kind of medication. I swung between feelings of total assurance that this amazing man was the one for me to equal certainty that it would never work and I was giving a kind and gracious man false hope. I mean, seriously, ME? A farmer’s wife??? I asked him if he was still single at his age because he had some kind of weird perversion and watched like a hawk for months, looking in vain for any sign of addiction or character-flaw. I didn’t talk to him for an entire weekend because I thought he had called me fat. He had no idea the comment he thought was encouraging hit a raw and exposed nerve and sent me reeling. He went to another country for six weeks and called me twice a week. After talking several times a day every day for the previous six months, I felt like I’d been totally abandoned. He says he was thinking about me the entire time and thought calling that often while he was on a mission trip was going above and beyond.

We are a real couple with real challenges. After so many years of singleness, we are learning what it means to be a couple. We are learning to change our thinking from “me and my friends/family/church” to “us and our future together”. It doesn’t always come easy. When the sales lady at the department store told me the total on some makeup I purchased during his recent visit, his jaw hit the floor. Is that how much that stuff always costs? I’m learning what it means to have someone else look at how I spend my money. Um, er, our money… Ouch.

But how can two people learn to meld their separate lives into one any other way? We have to learn to navigate one another’s currents. We work together to figure each other out, and we try to be gracious through the challenges. We laugh a lot – maybe not at the moment we realize how very differently we think about something – but eventually. We are learning to compromise. I’m learning that I am right a lot less often than I thought.

Through the challenges, we are learning what it means to be loved. Acceptance, right where we are, for who we are, is a daily practice. And it’s worth it. When I look into his brilliant blue eyes, kindness oozing from every part of him, I see the glory of God. I see just how much God loves me and wants what’s best for me.

I am so thankful for this man who fixes my broken furniture, loads dozens of heavy boxes into his truck for their journey north, and never loses his temper. Gratitude fills my heart for this generous man who wants to give me the honeymoon of my dreams. I am deeply in love. His precious soul is becoming intertwined with mine.

And yet… I still have to remind myself that he isn’t getting off the phone early with me tonight because he doesn’t want to talk to me. He is hanging up because I asked him to help me get to bed earlier by ending our conversations earlier. It feels like he doesn’t want to talk, but he is simply honoring my request for adequate rest. So I give myself a little pep talk, thank him for being so responsible, and (because I have time) sit down and write a blog.

We are working it out.

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