Guest Post: A Bedside Confession
A solicited guest post by the always witty and grammatically-flawless turleybenson, a longtime friend of Exponent II.
My bed is the perfect kneeling-height, which I discovered in November, five months ago.
My husband and I have had the bed for well over a year.
Upon said discovery, I sort of froze with the realization that I had never knelt beside that particular bed, and tried not to think about the fact that it was possible I hadn’t knelt by our previous bed. Instead, I tried to focus on where it all went wrong.
When I was a single gal (which was up until the ripe age of 25), I was pretty devout. From the time I was a teenager, I was so straight-arrow that I can’t remember a time I didn’t read scriptures at least 5 of the 7 days of the week, and when I didn’t kneel to pray morning and night. By my bedside. I also journaled (forgive me) RELIGIOUSLY, and lived the gospel principles with few exceptions (though I feel compelled to interject, I have always been a free-thinking woman with a tiny bit of a rebellious streak). I had a crisis of faith in my early 20s, and I faced it head on, and for me, once I decided to stick with the church, I decided not to look back.
So. When did all the journaling, scripture study, and kneeling stop? I can tell you exactly:
The day after my temple wedding.
I married a wonderful, loving, active member of the church about 6 years ago. We go to church every Sunday, perform our callings, support our leaders. We are not not living the principles of the Gospel, but that’s not really saying anything about internal devotion, is it.
OK. I am really ashamed to admit all of this. On the one hand, I’ve always been pretty independent, and relied on myself for my own testimony, but on the other hand I kind of thought it would be easier once I got married. In some ways, (here’s the shameful part) I expected my husband to take over the spiritual stuff. He’s got that all-important priesthood, after all. I thought I could relax, that he would lead family prayer and scriptures and that we might even write in a journal together. I know it is possible (…I’m sure if I thought about it hard enough I could name at least one couple that lives that way…)
Though come to think of it, the more women I talk to about this, the more my story sounds pretty familiar. Like many things, spiritual growth doesn’t automatically become easy after marriage. In fact, in many ways it becomes harder. Was I naive to not know this? When I was single, I relied heavily on Heavenly Father for daily guidance. These days, I check in with my husband every few hours, and who has room for more than one man in one’s life? Is that how it is? Now, when I need advice, a sounding board, or just want to talk, I can pick up a literal phone and do it. So, what—I don’t need to try to connect spiritually with someone I only hope is listening?
And is that the way it is just meant to be? I believe with all my heart that man/woman is not meant to be alone (though, by the law of dumb luck, it doesn’t always happen that way), and so here we are: not alone together. And we are happy, and fulfilled, and understood. But I still feel something lacking that I once had. Was relying on God for all my problems a way to tide me over until I had someone else to bear my burdens?
Of course, that explanation doesn’t sit right, but I honestly don’t know the “right” answer to these questions. I don’t know if I should hang on to this guilt for my suffering relationship with God, or to just be grateful to have a physical one now with a husband. Or to realize that in my new married life, God might just have a different role for me than He used to. Surely there is balance to be struck, but ashamed though I am to admit it, I haven’t found it.