Sunday, July 01, 2012

Married Spirituality is Weird

Okay, it's more than that. Marriage is weird. But marriage in general is two big for one post, so let's focus here.

I've been trying to figure our how to articulate this for a while and it took an episode of Modern Family and, as usual, pulling out my notebook and writing during church. I remember reading somewhere that Brian Jacques came up with part of Redwall in church. It's a good place to get the writing juices flowing. Even if it makes you look terribly un-devout.

The episode of Modern Family, Punkin Chunkin (Which iscurrently available for free on Hulu), had a nice little food for thought moment at the end. You know how sitcoms do that sometimes; They're like "well, that certainly was a silly episode but we've managed to squeeze a moral in here too. You can thank us later for BLOWING YOUR MIND WITH PROFUNDITY!!" Yeah, just like that. Anyway, the moral of this story is that there are two types of people in the world: dreamers and realists. You would think dreamers would marry dreamers and realists would marry realists but that's often not how it happens. In fact, in Jenny and my marriage that's not how it happened.

Jenny is a dreamer. She went to church today in a tie-dyed dress. I wore a black t-shirt with a black button up shirt over it. Yes, black on black. I'm that bad of a realist. Meh, gift and a curse. Jenny and I view the world in very different ways and plan in very different ways. For example, neither of us know where we're going with our future. I've been looking at apartments and found quite a nice and affordable one in Schenectady. The other day Jenny said, "After we're done in Fillmore why don't we just move to Schenectady and see what happens?" I am a realist (or pessimist) so I think we'd be better of applying to every McDonald's on the East Coast and moving wherever they're hiring. We're under-qualified, inexperienced fresh college grads. No one wants us.

But, my realism aside, we do need to do something. That's where being different is good. Jenny gives me something more than McDonald's to dream about, and I try to make her dreams work.

But didn't I start out by saying marriage is weird? Yeah, I did. Though it is good it's also just bizarre. To be joined together with, be one entity with, another person who thinks so utterly differently (and often what I would consider illogically) than I do is at times just downright uncomfortable. Differences that compliment each other are good; but differences are still differences. It's a big adjustment.

Now, the title of this post mentions spirituality with, up to this point, I haven't talked about. As I mentioned earlier I wrote a lot of this in my notebook at church so I have to talk about spirituality, at least a little, or else God may smite me for letting writing distract me during church.

Jenny is "non-denominational." All the cool kids are these days, at least at Houghton. I'm the loser who stuck with my denomination because I feel at home, and called, here. Nothing against non-denominational people, it just is, and has been, an adjustment to be marrying one.

Today during church Jenny took communion. For any non-Salvationists reading this you're probably thinking, "well, duh, that's what Christians do at church, right?" Well, not Salvationists. Not me. The Salvation Army isn't against communion, it's just not a tradition we practice for a multitude of reasons I don't have the space to go into here.

So, what do I do during communion? It depends. Sometimes I pray. Other times I pull out the Bible and read. Still other times, like today, I write. But I just sit there. Whether it's a "pass around" communion where the body and blood come past us or a "come and get it" communion where everybody lines up (this is where I am most noticeable in my non-participation) I do my own thing and people often notice. It's not bad or a problem, it's just a little awkward. To not be partaking in a ritual that's happening all around you is a strange experience. What makes it a step stranger is that my wife does participate.

Jenny and I spent hours and hours in the early stages of our relationship discussing our faith. We both know what the other believes and respect each other in the areas where we differ. Every time we are in a church and there is communion Jenny offers not to take communion if it makes me more comfortable and every time I answer in complete honesty that I don't mind if she does and that it's between her and God, not between her and I. This in my mind would be like if I was reading in 2 Corinthians and Jenny said that made her feel uncomfortable and would prefer I read in 1 Corinthians. Both books are good, and it's between God and I where I read. In the same way though it's a little awkward communion is between Jenny and God, and I don't think I should have say. Just because communion is a tradition I don't practice or because it has a significance to Jenny that I don't fully comprehend is no reason to make her miss out.

So Jenny usually takes communion.

What's weird to me is that as a married unit we have become one. We pray together. We read the Bible together. We sleep together. We are one, yet fundamentally different. Inherently different in some areas. We are two different people in one marriage entity--yet still two.

To some people this might be a bigger deal. To me it's about as disturbing as the fact that she prefers to play Soul Caliber II on my X-Box (that's what's been keeping her occupied while I write this) while I stick to Blacklight: Retribution on my laptop (even if this four year old machine means I have to run the game on minimum everything). It's just strange to be discovering new ways in which we are unified every day and at the same time finding new ways in which we are different.

Not bad, just--different.

Anyway, that's my rambling for today. It feels good to be blogging again. If you, my dear reader, know of any job opportunities please, please, please let me know. I am quite unemployed.

Looking forward to writing again soon. Comments are always welcome!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'm quite late with this. But Matt and I have just begun to act on this difference, despite talking about it for months. And worse, it first happened in the church of his father and step-mother, which led to a not-as-healthy-as-I-would-have-liked debate that evening. That being said, we're exploring the realm outside of Salvationism where we are likely to be attending a church that regularly practices communion. This, then, puts the awkwardness on me as a Salvationist and as a woman who is choosing to opt into a Biblical relationship of "husband, head of household." Will there come a day where I need to take it as a support to my husband (should we get married), who plans to be in a leadership role in a church? Do I want to spend the rest of my life explaining that I don't take communion because of the way I grew up, which I'm not always sure I want to be a part of anymore? Lots of interesting personal explorations here, I'm finding.