Morning musings on a changing marriage

wedding day, 1992

By Jana

I’ve found myself a bit blindsided by the news that the Stake President intends to hold a church ‘council’ (or court, as I called when I was younger) because of my spouse’s online writings. Many thoughts have been swirling around in my head from this turn of events, some of which makes me consider the foundation of our relationship and marriage. We met at church when we were nearly-19 years old, John served his mission to Japan and we married in the Los Angeles temple a few months after his return. I’m at peace with where John is spiritually now, though this was not always the case. When I married John, most of our relationship and our shared ideals were based on church doctrines and expectations. So now I find myself pondering how this has changed over time and what, if any, the implications are for our commitment to each other.

This morning we had some time, finally, to be alone. John planned to go into work late, the children had already left for school, and we both needed the connection that we’d been putting off all week long due to other busy-ness.

As we curled up together in our bed, skin on skin, we talked a lot about change. About what it means that five years ago we couldn’t have imagined our selves as we are now. As we moved through the familiar ritual of caress and stroke and kiss there was something just a bit different about it. More intense, perhaps. A conjunction of bone and loin and sinew.

There is a longing and a hunger that comes from change. There is a haven in clinging to each other, even while realizing that the person you think you know so well is evolving and growing. Just as you are.

I knew when I committed myself to a married life that there would be unexpected turns in the road ahead. Detours, blind alleys, and some precarious cliff-hanger passes to traverse together. What I didn’t know then, but do now…is that every day I am growing stronger and more prepared for the journey, even for those times that I will travel alone. Yet still  I am torn, each moment, between clinging to comfort and pressing forward. With each step feeling the struggle of our journey as well as the remarkable serendipities along the way.

I once told John that the best evidence I have of God’s existence is that somehow in this enormous and crazy world we found each other–we whose souls and bodies fit together so well that I can’t describe it without cliche. And that’s still true, even now.

Picture above is a candid photo from our wedding day.

Jana

Jana is university administrator and History professor. Her soloblog is http://janaremy.com/pilgrimsteps/

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15 Responses

  1. Alisa says:

    Jana, this is a beautiful post about transition, change, and boundaries. I admire how you can take this and create something beautiful. I wish you the best.

    Also, just b/c I’m a fan, Bored in Vernal gives a great dedication: http://kolobiv.blogspot.com/2009/06/dear-john.html

  2. EmilyCC says:

    This week, I’m celebrating my 10th wedding anniversary, so your second to last paragraph is particularly touching to me.

    Thank you, Jana. This is beautiful.

  3. My heart is with you, Jana. It’s been a wild ride to see you and John go through so much in the past few years. What a miracle that both of you, your children and your marriage are growing and standing strong. Thank you for sharing it with the blog world.

  4. Janna says:

    Practical question: what happens if John just doesn’t show up to the court?

  5. mb says:

    Janna,
    Ask your stake president that question. He will have the most accurate answer. I could give you a general answer based on general policy, but your stake president will have a more specific answer for your specific situation.
    Love to you and your family.

  6. suzann says:

    Thank you for sharing this intimate love journey.
    The Mormon Church can excommunicate you but it cannot separate you from your personal spiritual journey. I send positive love blessing to you and John.

  7. Janna says:

    Hi MB – Just to clarify, “Jana” is the one with John. I’m the “Janna” who is a just a reader 🙂

  8. Wade says:

    Jana

    My reaction to your reaction is that John is fortunate to have you beside him on his journey away from the Church. I am making the journey as well but it is very lonely without anyone. At times you just want to give up.

  9. mb says:

    oops. Thanks for the clarification, Janna.

  10. Anon on this one says:

    From reading your blog, your husband’s blog and this blog, I have to ask myself if you would ever have left the church if John hadn’t promoted it. If the answer is no, then I feel sorry for constant acquiescing you are doing – even if it is sub conscience.

  11. Kelly Ann says:

    Jana, How lucky you are to have each other! Thank you for your openness and sharing this with us here at the Exponent. My thoughts are with you.

  12. Kelly Ann says:

    Also, I have to say, what a beautiful wedding photo!

  13. amelia says:

    this is beautiful, jana. and i think that the very best marriages must involve this kind of growing.

    anon:

    i think you must not have read much of jana’s personal blog, or read it very closely, because she makes it very clear that she has been on her own spiritual journey which has taken her away from mormonism. speaking as someone who reads her writing and who knows her IRL, i can assure you that jana does not simply acquiesce to ideas john promotes. i’m sure that her own journey has been shaped and influenced by john’s, but i am just as sure that it is her own and that her journey has similarly shaped and influenced john’s. they are one of the couples i most admire and hope, someday, i’ll be able to emulate in my own marriage.

  14. Jana says:

    Janna:
    From anecdotal evidence, it seems that choosing not to attend typically results in excommunication. But that is certainly something that would be decided on a case-by-case basis, I am sure. But John wants to go, and I’m incredibly supportive of his choice.
    Anon:
    I am sure my life would be different if I had chosen a different marriage partner. But I find ‘what if’ questions to be highly unproductive, so I don’t really go there very often. But I can assure you that I’m not just blindly following John. That’s not my style at all.

  15. As all of these thoughts raced through my mind and surfaced in rage as I reached out and slapped John across his right cheek, as hard as I could.

    Seems like you are still torn. Wish I had something I could say.

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