October is here. My maple tree is glowing red and everything around the yard is changing. I am changing too. I wanted to reflect on all the goodness in my life. Part of that goodness is my husband. Not just part of it, a very big part of it. So here’s why I stay despite the mess.
I could leave this marriage if I want, I would be perfectly justified. But to leave all that would be to leave all this:
I stay because he is my best friend.
I stay because he gets me Tylenol and rubs my legs when they hurt. This is almost daily.
I stay because when we were newlyweds we made a pact–I would cook and he would do the nightly dishes. All these years later and this is still the case.
I stay because I told him when we were dating I hated to be tickled so he has never once tried again to tickle me.
I stay because he has never once told me how to run my business. He knows I am smart enough to make my own business decisions.
I stay because he helps me mail all those dang packages to customers. I never asked him to–he just saw that need and started doing it.
I stay because he fed our babies in the middle of the night even though he still had to get up early for work.
I stay because he learned how to install granite tile countertops in our old house when I couldn’t take the blue countertops anymore.
I stay because he has always given me wings to fly.
I stay because he has never once complained when I have been gone hours and days for church callings. From 3-hr meetings to 5-days at YW camp.
I stay because he makes the best crepes I’ve ever had.
I stay because he’s always had such a spirit of gratitude when paying our tithing. I’ll catch him saying things like “why have we been blessed so much?”
I stay because he’s the first to volunteer to set up chairs, clean the church, lock up the church, or chop wood for YW Camp.
I stay because he’s a doer, not a talker. Anyone can talk and make themselves look good. Not everyone is willing to serve humbly with no thought for recognition.
I stay because he helps me make school lunches and breakfasts every morning.
I stay because he’s always willing to be my sous chef in the kitchen.
I stay because he appreciates art and has taught me to appreciate fine art like etchings from Rembrandt.
I stay because he says women make better songwriters. He says women feel emotions more deeply.
I stay because he does 95% of the laundry–washing and folding.
I stay because he works hard for our family. He works as long as he has to and never a minute more. He’d rather be home with us.
I stay because he has never once told me I should change my hair, change my make up or clothes. He always thinks I’m beautiful.
I stay because when I make fun of my curly hair he never chimes in.
I stay because he is financially responsible–he’s a saver but also lets me buy nice furniture even though he’s perfectly happy with that ‘college dorm look’.
I stay because he doesn’t make fun of my silly exercise videos.
I stay because he listens to me always and has never ever once told me what to do. Ever.
I stay because he thinks I’m virtuous and trustworthy and he values my goodness.
I stay because he loves to read to the children.
I stay because he’s always been happy to say family prayer, read the Book of Mormon 10 verses at a time with the little children, and hold FHE.
I stay because he’s never said a negative word about the church.
I stay because even when I have said negative things about the church, he just listens and has never said I’m dumb for thinking that way.
I stay for a thousand more reasons.
My husband had a birthday yesterday. Given how horrible the weekend was I’m surprised I was happy to make him a cake. A real cake, not one filled with dirt clods. I also made a fancy dinner. I had his parents over as well. (His parents know now.) They are great people. I wanted to go to the women’s support meeting last night when he went to his addiction recovery meeting so they were kind enough to stay here and play games and help with homework while we went out. Afterwards, he tried to talk to his parents about how grateful he is for their love all these years–especially his teenage years when he was acting out and they were so kind and patient with him. They obviously knew about the expensive 900 numbers, but they also knew about a few other instances. Never once did they shame him. They always started out each painful conversation by telling their teenage son how much they loved him. Great people.
I talked to him this morning about my issues with priesthood worthiness and how it doesn’t really mean a damn. In the church we talk loads about how wonderful it is that men get to hold the priesthood, what a huge responsibility it is, and yet in the end, worthiness doesn’t really matter. He blessed the babies, baptized them as children, and has ordained or set apart the kids as they’ve gotten older. All this while he wasn’t worthy. It’s just so painful. How horrible would it have been to have spoken up and said “I’m not worthy to do this?” Would the world have ended? He had about as much authority as I have (that’s another topic!) and yet all those ordinances are valid and all is forgiven and forgotten. It makes me sick.
I made an appointment with our Bishop to go talk to him about these issues. Why I have no idea. It’s not like he is going to have any insight but who knows, maybe he will. It just burns me up that if the statistics are correct and 50% of men view porn then that means half of our priesthood leaders don’t have the Spirit with them which means there’s a reason everything is a mess in the church. So many men are terrible leaders and now I understand why–plenty are addicted to porn and lust and you can’t have the Spirit to lead and guide your efforts when you are not worthy of it. It all feels so hopeless. I stay in the church because I want to be like Christ–I don’t want to be like anyone else, the men or the women. I need to become who God needs me to become. But with bitter feelings like this I will never become who I need to become. I beg Heavenly Father in my prayers to take away my anger, bitterness, betrayal, and sadness. How long before that prayer is answered?