Although I was raised Presbyterian, I haven’t stepped foot in a Presbyterian church since my niece was baptized 15 years ago. That was until this past Sunday. While the order of the service remained the same as the church I grew up in years ago and half way across the country, my mind drifted during yet another esoteric, mind numbing Presbyterian sermon.(Although I did get something out of the children’s lesson.) I wondered, why was I here, hoping against hope, that a rigid worship structure would have changed in the last 15 years? That a minister, no matter how nice, was still the product of his seminary education, and fundamental belief system. Then it struck me…. in the last 15 years of my marriage have I also expect significant changes?
My mantra, which I tried to instill in our kids, is “Live your life out loud.” Live life out loud….to the fullest….with reckless enjoyment and enthusiasm. Live life as though people can see your every move. I used to say that a good rule of thumb was that if you could’t discuss what you’re doing in your life, chances are you shouldn’t be doing it. If you have to keep parts of yourself hidden and secreted, you can’t live out loud.
I’ve been married just about 15 years. It seems we have some of the same discussions over and over again and just like the Presbyterian church, I hope for a different outcome. What has happened to passion? Romance? An event, weekend or vacation planned by somebody other than me? We had this discussion just recently. Again. It’s not just that these discussions seem to fall on deaf ears. There’s a honeymoon period that lasts for about 2 weeks after the discussion. Then in another few months…we have it…. again.
We have worked through a lot of what life can throw at us and because of our relationship, we always come out better for it. But this is not something that makes me better. It makes me sad. Lonely. Confused as to why I’m taken for granted. I understand stress, the issues facing each of us daily. That there is an ebb and flow to relationships. That after 15 years it is unrealistic to be endlessly red hot. Besides, who has that much time?
I miss the reckless enjoyment. I miss feeling like something more than an afterthought. We are comfortable. We can finish each others sentences. We love each other. So why isn’t that enough? Probably because I didn’t get married to end up with a roommate. I want romance. Passion. New experiences. Excitement. And an end to this recurring discussion.
I’m a cockeyed optimist. I live out loud; the good, the bad, the joys, the sorrows. I believe there is always something we can learn about ourselves or someone else in sharing what is real, honest and heart felt. If I can keep hoping against hope that the mountain of dogma, discipline and congregation that is the Presbyterian church can evolve, then I have to believe the same of my relationship. It may not happen today or tomorrow, but practice makes perfect. I love this silly man I married and life would not be the same without him.
Even though we’re here again, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that the honeymoon phase of this discussion will last longer than two weeks. And if there’s a need for this discussion again, I’m going to change things up a bit…he’ll be attending Presbyterian services until hell freezes over.