Our “Christian” Wedding

So, you already know that we consider our wedding to have been non-conformist. My husband and I are Deists, not Christian. But while writing a review of The Pilgrim’s Progress, I realized that there are a lot of Idols and Symbols associated with a modern wedding that aren’t what I consider Christian.

I really feel like my husband and I had nearly the most “Christian” version of a wedding–there were no frills, no Idols, nothing but us in front of the very few people who matter most to us. We actually planned it, rather than a quick elopement, so it was done with purpose in a place that felt special, but wasn’t ornamented to make us seem any more special than anyone else.

The only thing we “splurged” on was our clothes, because I wanted to be pretty on my wedding day and I wanted him to be drop dead gorgeous (because we’re not the type of people who dress up, ever). However, the actual amount of time and money spent on our clothes was relatively little. My dress took about an hour to order online. Three quarters of that was debating if I really wanted the dress that immediately caught my eye in comparison to the rest that were available. It is black and white hounds-tooth patterned and doesn’t conform with any Idolized Ideal of a wedding dress (a tradition started by Queen Victoria and isn’t in the Bible, so far as I know). The rest of that hour was getting my husband to measure me.*

My husband’s clothes took a bit longer because we had to go to multiple stores, but the overall look was relatively cheap: Jeans and a gray button-down. New boots, which he needed anyway (and we did this trick again for his son’s wedding: they looked fine under his tuxedo). The most expensive item was his suit-coat, which we got new, but could have come from a thrift store if we really wanted to search it out, though he’s a big guy, so our choices were limited. But time is money and getting his suit coat new also got us a great relationship with that particular Philip Michael’s store in Chesapeake Square Mall, who helped us out when we needed to measure my husband for that tuxedo.

If being a good Christian means being austere (and really, I don’t think you can be both filthy rich and a good Christian), I think a big, audacious wedding ends up being more a status symbol than a sacrament. A few choice items, picked for their importance to the couple are wonderful, but more for the sake of filling up the space, well, maybe you shouldn’t be getting married in such an empty room!

We didn’t have a registry for gifts. Honestly, I find this entire idea a bit nauseating. I’ve seen the movie My Fake Fiancé where two broke people pretend to get married for the gifts, but really, as a person, I hate any time someone wants me to tell them what to give me as a gift! My least favorite part of Christmas is the gift exchange because I hate the idea of gifts being an expectation instead of a surprise. Ideally, I’d only give gifts when I feel inspired to give gifts and it seems stupid to literally hold onto items that you know someone will love because of the unspoken obligation to have something for them to open at Christmas. Seriously, I’ve started working on my Christmas presents for this year and I will have to store them for the next 8 months. Is there any wonder why people wait until the last minute to buy and wrap their gifts–that’s where all the incentive is.

When we invited everyone to our reception in May, I specifically told everyone not to bring a gift, but to bring a dish to share (it was potluck). Honestly, I loved packing up all the leftovers to fill our fridge! That was the best gift we could have asked for because I won’t be tripping over random stuff for the next 20 years. Okay, I will be, but it’s all stuff my husband had from before we married.

We didn’t have a cake either on our wedding night or at our reception. Wedding cake is yet another unnecessary Idol/Symbol/Tradition. While I’m amazed by the amount of work that can go into a gorgeous wedding cake, at the end of the day it will either be eaten or thrown away. It is food. I think everyone should take a moment when they buy their cake (and their flowers) and decide if they are getting it because it’s something that means a lot to their relationship or because it will make a good statement piece.

I guess there’s a fine line between a bride getting her vision and the audaciousness of a $50,000 wedding. And I guess that if you can afford it, you should get what you want. But, I think it’s important to keep your priorities in check with everything you do. I actually do have a really big problem with the divorce rate being 50% and while I’m libertarian enough to say that folks are more than allowed to do whatever the hell they want, I think society would be better off with better marriages, not more of them!

Oh. One final note is necessary. It’s actually really easy to identify when you’ve crossed the line from getting the wedding of your dreams and the wedding meant to please everyone–you’ve felt even the smallest twinge of regret over at least one choice. If you feel overwhelmed, you’ve definitely crossed this line! Yes, things can (and do) go wrong, but if you feel unable to run with whatever life throws at you, STOP. You need to reevaluate the situation. There is no need to rush into anything and I can tell you from personal experience working in a print shop, RUSH means that someone, somewhere screwed up (and because of that, more things will go wrong). There is no such thing as a job marked RUSH where everything was done right from the beginning.

*By the way, while my husband is a good sport about measuring me, keep in mind that husbands will shrink you an inch around the waist, where it’s easy for you to inadvertently suck in your stomach when he pulls the tape too tight.

Our Non-Conformist Wedding: Part 3, Finale

Well, I’ve got 3 posts in progress this morning and I just realized that I never offered a real conclusion describing our actual wedding :-). So, over a year later, let me answer some of those hanging questions!

We did get married at St. Luke’s.

I absolutely LOVED my dress! I decided that instead of hemming it to make it shorter, I bought a petticoat so that it would poof out instead of hanging drably. Perfect! Well, except for my adventure with the petticoat on the morning of the wedding when it decided to fall down, but I got that figured out and it was fine.

We were married by a former sheriff of Isle of Wight County. My husband has always respected him and the sheriff’s wife works in the office of the body shop husband tows for, so it worked out great. He was really awesome, didn’t mind that I wanted things short, sweet, and to the point. He had a favorite ceremony that he read to us and I thought it was perfect for us. Seriously, if I didn’t know that it was one he used often, I’d think it was written specifically for us!

The ceremony went smoothly, except that my husband and I both ended up saying “I will” 3 times instead of 2 because we both interrupted at the same wrong spot, haha. I did it even after I heard him do it and thought to myself that I wasn’t going to do that! Oh well. We had a moment.

I didn’t cry one single tear at my wedding! With my Stepson getting married this past Feb, I can confirm that I have cried at every wedding I’ve attended, except my own. Actually, I cried more at during my Stepson’s rehearsal (I was a bridesmaid), because I knew when to brace myself and look away during the actual ceremony.

But yeah, during our own wedding, I was grinning ear to ear during the whole thing! I was wearing my (now) daughter-in-law’s over-sized sweater to the church (they drove me over) and I’d stuffed some paper towels in the pocket for my waterworks, but ended up just forgetting about them. She texted later asking about them and I told her they were clean!

I did walk my own self down the aisle. St. Luke’s is set up with 3 “sections”, which are all well separated from each other. There’s a foyer, where I was able to leave the sweater, the main pews, and then the front set of benches situated in front of the alter, with a 3/4ths wall separating them  from the rest of the pews. When I called out that I was ready to walk, Charlie (the Sheriff) instructed everyone to rise and while I could see their heads, I don’t think they could see me (they were seated on those couple benches right up front). I could see my husband, though, but I don’t remember really looking at him; I was too busy trying not to fall over in my heels.

Oh! And my husband didn’t wear a suit. In fact, after seeing him in tuxedo pants at his son’s wedding, I hope to never see him in suit pants again, haha. I put him in a new pair of jeans, a grey button-down shirt, new work boots, and a suit coat. He didn’t wear a tie, his shirt had the top button undone. He was yummy looking. Perfect!IMG_0184

Yes, there is a step up for the actual alter (which, since it’s a historic church, is out of bounds), but my husband was able to help me onto the 6 inch wide step outside the fencing for our kiss and the first set of pictures. In real life, I’m a foot and a half shorter than him.

Oh! And since I hate PDA, I thought it was very sweet that by putting me up on the step for the kiss, we ended up with his back to our audience, so we could have a private kiss(s). He gave me our usual 3 pecks and a hug.

And then I nearly fell over when getting off that step by myself. He had to grab me/I had to grab him to keep me upright, haha.

We left from the church for our super short honeymoon (we got married on Monday and I wanted to be back at work on Wednesday). We didn’t get very far because my husband realized he didn’t have his nitroglycerin tablets which meant he didn’t have his house keys. And of course I didn’t have my house keys! The Kids were supposed to lock up the house when they left. So we spent a good hour and a half trying to get in contact with them because we really needed the rest of his pills that were forgotten.

We went to Luray, VA and toured the cave and various museums there. He had wanted to take me to the Eastern Shore for our honeymoon, but after discussing his first 2 marriages and honeymoons, I vetoed all trips east (both went to beaches)!

Look what we found!!

My husband and I were driving around a couple weeks ago (as a former truck driver, he loves dragging me on 4 hour drives around southeastern VA) and spotted this guy in Surry, VA.

The window says the shop name is “A Steampunked Life”. I wanted to go in, but the husband said he saw a closed sign on the window (I was otherwise distracted and missed this).

I looked them up online and they have a nice Facebook page and Etsy shop! (I’m just sharing what I found, I don’t know these folks.)

Anyway, the arm there is part of a hookah and on the back is the rest of it seeming to function as its propulsion system (we didn’t get a picture of that).

Surry is only about an hours drive from Norfolk and is even closer to Williamsburg.

4 Tips for an Egalitarian Marriage

My pinterest homepage is full of the usual mix of crafts (especially note cards), gardening, recipes, funny animals, and “helpful” blog posts about making your marriage stronger.

I’m a curious soul, so I generally read these latter posts, figuring that somewhere in them there must be something helpful.

Yeah…not really. All of the ones that propagate my pinterest are those that at face value seem great, but when you really start thinking about them, they’re really sexist and misogynistic, even though they’re all written by loving wives.

Here’s the problem: they all are written with women in mind and generally that woman is actually seeking help for a problem in her marriage. Most of the “solutions” offered are ones that the wife can implement without her husband even really understanding that there is a problem. When I picture my own marriage trying to do some of these tips (“Have a weekly husband/wife meeting” for example), I can only snicker. I mean, the idea is that you pencil each other into your busy schedules so that you can discuss the upcoming week, which is pretty ridiculous when this is your spouse we’re talking about. “Honey, I want to schedule a meeting with you so that we can discuss scheduling future meetings…”

This is as bad as scheduling sex! Or really scheduling anything in your marriage!

I guess life is different when you have kids, but honestly, if your husband in involved with the kids (like he should be!), he doesn’t need to have a weekly meeting for you to tell him that Timmy has baseball practice on Thursday and it’d be nice for him to be there. Because, you know, he should already be planning to attend like he does every week.

If Suzie has a tonsillectomy scheduled for next Monday, Dad shouldn’t need a meeting to tell him that Suzie will need him to help hold her hand.

The tips that piss me off the most are those which tell women that they should “love their spouse more”. You have to remember the type of women these posts are going to affect most–those who feel like their marriage is on the rocks. Most of these bloggers are very anti-divorce. For them, it is a woman’s responsibility to keep the household together, regardless of her personal feelings.

It’s really easy for a desperate woman to forgive her husband for everything, but it’s not emotionally healthy. She can decide to be submissive to his will and smile to the world while inside she’s dying. This is abuse. And telling a woman that if she just loves her husband more he’ll change is flat wrong.

Yes, it is imperative that you love your husband! BUT, loving him should not mean sacrificing any aspect of your own well being! If you find yourself wondering why you married him, you need to identify the actual problems with your marriage (are you working too hard so that he can play?) and address them. Trying to remember the good times of your relationship won’t help if your husband is no longer the man you married. People do change and that’s both a good and a bad thing in a marriage (depending on if you are growing and changing together).

Anyway, enough of my rant. Here’s my 4 tips for a happy and healthy egalitarian marriage (because you two are partners in life).

  1. SPEAK. AND LISTEN. Seriously, your husband should be your best friend. Treat him as such. Talk to him about what’s going on in your life. Your likes, your dislikes. Vent to him. Listen to him when he needs to vent. If you ever feel like you can’t say something, anything, to your husband for whatever reason, run, don’t walk away from this relationship. That isn’t what a marriage should be!
  2. SPLIT THE CHORES. You both live in the house, you both have equal responsibility to keep it clean. Of course, your family situation is probably different than mine and that’s cool! Dividing the chores equally doesn’t really mean that the chores are divided perfectly in half. A lot of tasks make up all that goes into running a household and you should split them up in such a way that makes the most sense to you and your family (children should also be put to work maintaining the household).

    When splitting chores, be mindful of the time you and/or your spouse spend working and commuting (seriously, give each other extra credit for that commute!). Since I work full time and my husband works part time, it is more fair for him to do more of the housework. Plus, he’s the real mess maker of the two of us.

  3. SPLIT THE BILLS. I realize that this is difficult in families with only one income earner…

    Actually, I’m scared to picture my life if I were dependent on other people for money. I’m one of the odd people who in high school was loaning my parent’s money. Even though I wasn’t earning all that much to start with (just mowing/raking my grandma’s yard), but I didn’t spend it, either.

    But, if you’re cool about getting an allowance from your spouse, that’s fine. That’s your life. I wouldn’t want it, but that’s me.

  4. HAVE TIME FOR YOURSELF.  You and your husband are two individual people. You are not joined at the hip. You have separate interests. So, enjoy them! Apart! Do not be afraid of your independence.

    You and your husband should spend lots of time together. I recommend eating together 99% of the time, but you know what, sometimes your husband is going to get a police call in the middle of you cooking dinner and if you don’t eat you will literally tear him a new asshole because low blood sugar affects you that way (true story).

    But, if your husband enjoys working on cars, you don’t have to be involved with this. I quite enjoy shooing him out the door to play with his friends so that I can watch what I want on TV instead of having to share with him. This actually makes the time we do spend together that much sweeter!

 

I imagine that the author’s of those blogs I mentioned earlier would have a conniption if they read that last bit of advice (about spending time apart). I guess they feel like a marriage on the rocks is one in which the individuals of the couple are “growing apart” and the only way to combat this is to spend more time together.

I think it’s important to identify why your relationship is “growing apart”, because honestly, you can spend every waking moment physically together, but not be connecting emotionally. It’s funny that they’ll recommend remembering the “good old days”, but would be afraid for people to reconnect with being independent.

I just finished a book where the main character thought that she wasn’t ready for marriage because she didn’t want to give up her independence. What had instigated this thought was her sister’s husband clarifying with the sister her plans to going to the main character’s house for a late evening. It is not losing independence to tell your husband that you are going out. But, you have lost your independence if your husband tells you that you aren’t allowed to go out (this is an abusive relationship: RUN!).

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A cute couple, but I don’t think couples can be defined by gender. You love who you love! 🙂

Ready for marriage?

Before We Kiss (Fool’s Gold Book 16)” by Susan Mallery –

“Sam glanced at the door and thought about bolting. This wasn’t his area of expertise. Yet even as he inched toward freedom, he realized that he knew exactly what she was doing wrong. His mother would be so proud. He took a seat across from Fayrene.

“This has to stop,” he told her. “Put on your big-girl panties and tell Ryan what you want.”

She rolled her eyes. “I can’t.”

“You won’t. There’s a difference. If you’re not prepared to ask for what you want from a man who loves you very much, then you’re not ready for marriage. It’s a full-time commitment. It requires everything you have, and being honest about how you feel is the cornerstone to success. If you can’t be honest about this, what else won’t you be able to talk about?””

This is some excellent advice :-).

Start reading this book for free: http://amzn.to/2gu8T4M

Mojo Monday #491

IMG_0276

Hello! This is my single attempt at this week’s Mojo Monday Challenge. I liked this sketch a lot, but when I sat down to make something my stash let me down. I just couldn’t find any inspiration, but that’s okay. It happens.

I’m really happy with how this one turned out, though I wish I’d thought about that green “stripe” before I put it down. It’s part of a 6×6″ sheet of, essentially, washi, so when I took it off the backing, it was very transparent, as you can see. I like it, but I think it looked just a little bit better when it was opaque.

Importing from my previous blog…

I’ve noticed that a blog I used last year has recently gotten a lot of attention. That’s wonderful, but I really hate the idea of that content being more or less orphaned. So I decided to try out the “import/export” features of WordPress to transfer that content to this blog. It’s importing now, so we’ll see how this goes!

Why I don’t overreact when my husband falls over.

My husband is 19 years older than me and he has a heart condition that causes him to overheat (he had the “widow maker” heart attack when he was 39, before we met). He had a stroke a year after the heart attack (still before we met) which has left his left side alternatively ultra sensitive and completely numb. To top it all off, shortly after we started dating the pickup truck he was driving while towing a boat  was rear-ended by a tractor trailer and he got chronic vertigo from the accident.

In other words, he’s normally only about a half step away from hitting the ground.

Tonight we had our bowling league and it was very warm in the building even before we started. He was sweating profusely and with about 3 frames left in the 2nd game, he was looking so bad I told him I’d hogtie him if he even joked about bowling the 3rd game. He tends to push himself too hard. Luckily we were already on the same page.

In the 10th frame of the second game he threw a spare, which definitely looked like he’d done everything in his power to stay straight. As he walked back to push the button to reset the pins, I was pretty sure that he was either going to fill it with a 1 or he was going to hit the floor.

Now, he doesn’t actually fall very often! In fact, I think I’ve only seen him fall maybe once, though he’s told me about numerous occasions when he has fallen and I haven’t been around, but most of these have been in ditches while retrieving a car as a tow truck driver or not being able to get out of bed properly. On flat ground, he’s usually more or less stable, though he’s often catching himself on tables, or at the bowling alley, the ball return and wall (he likes lane 16 because of the wall!).

Anyway. When he let go of the ball for his fill, it looked straight for the pocket and I was bracing myself for him to hit the ground. He nearly caught himself, but then, down he went.

I stayed in my chair. I did not jump up and rush towards him. I guess to an outsider I appeared like I didn’t care that my husband had just hit the ground.

But really, I’d never taken my eyes off of him. Since I knew he was going to fall, I was watching to make sure he landed properly. He’s twice my weight, so there’s no way I could have caught him without him crushing me, so the only thing I could do was watch and see whether he’d land properly or whether he’d seriously hurt himself.

As he started to go towards the floor, I’d seen that he’d gone into his stumble backwards, meaning that he was falling butt first. This is good! He’d twisted his body somewhat, so I thought he’d landed more on one butt cheek than the other, but it turns out that he’d bumped his knee when he’d landed. However, from watching the way he fell, I knew he hadn’t actually twisted anything, which he confirmed after the fact.

Once he was on the ground, I still didn’t get up. I was still watching him. Two guys who were up to bowl after he’d finished (one off either lane next to him) came over to help him up. He refused the hands as I knew he would and levered himself back to his feet.

First, I know from personal experience as a klutz who trips a lot, a person who has just wiped out needs a minute or two to put their senses back together, so running over to drag them to their feet isn’t very helpful. Second, I know that most people who have just fallen down are embarrassed about looking stupid in front of a crowd and would love it if everyone just ignored what just happened.

He was able to get up on his own terms and without pain, or rather, without any worrisome pain that would come from a serious injury. In other words, he was fine from the fall.

I was concerned about the overheating, though. He definitely looked done in, BUT, I have seen him look worse. He has nitroglycerin pills for emergencies and I have seen him look terrible right before taking one of them. Tonight, he didn’t look like he needed one and I don’t believe he took one. He really just needed to get out to his car where he could blast the AC and get his body temperature back where it needed to be and I was torn between making him actually sit a moment and getting his shoes changed so he could run outside.

By the way, though he has taken the nitro roughly once every few months, there has never been anything on his heart monitor report that has ever indicated that he really needed it.

I gave him about 10 minutes outside before I went to check on him. One of the bowling alley employees had given him a rag full of ice to put on his neck, which was kind of her. He’d put it on even though he really hates the feeling of dampness on his neck (I think he was just being polite; he told me that he started feeling better as soon as he got outside where it was at least 10 degrees cooler). He really did look a lot better while sitting in his car and he was on the phone with his son, so I felt fine leaving him out there while I went back to bowl the 3rd game.

20 or so minutes later I started worrying about him a little because usually when he overheats enough to skip the 3rd game, he comes back inside within a couple frames, but this game was half over. So I went back outside and he was simply still on the phone with his son. He came back inside a short while later and while not looking 100% (for him), he looked a heck of a lot better than he had!

I know that I was probably the least worried person who’d seen him fall, but then, I’m not someone who gets frazzled during an emergency. Generally I fall apart after the emergency is over, but since I never felt that he was in any real danger, there was no reason for me to fall apart at all.

It’s not like when my dad dehydrated himself a few years ago and fell twice at home.

When my mom found him on the floor, she started screaming hysterics. My brother was baffled. And I took charge. I got him up and conscious and was able to walk him outside to await the paramedics my mom had managed to call (911 sent out fire and police as well because she’s was in a panic and not good at explaining the emergency). The paramedics actually walked right past my dad, who was looking fine-ish on the porch, until we told them that the fallen person was right there. They looked him over, took his blood pressure, and said that they couldn’t find anything wrong with him. He declined any medical attention and since everything seemed okay, we told them that they could leave and my dad got up to go back inside.

I was following close behind him and right inside the front door, he went down again. Luckily this time I was able to get my arms under his armpits and more or less lowered him to the ground. Okay, really it was a controlled fall because I’m 4’10.5″, 120 lbs and my dad is 5’10”, 160 lbs and I couldn’t actually keep him upright. When I caught my dad, I knew that we were both hitting the floor, so I just tucked my leg under me and sat down hard.

Hence why I wasn’t too concerned about my husband’s fall: he’d essentially done the same thing tonight.

I told my brother to run out and get the paramedics again; they were still parked in the driveway doing paperwork. They helped get my dad into his bed (where he wanted to be) and then helped him get into the car when I told him that he was going to the hospital and he could either ride in the car or the ambulance.

I calmly drove my dad to the hospital in his car. My brother drove my mom in his truck–they rode separately because my mom needed to grab some stuff from the house for my dad and it was easier for them to just come behind me. I hadn’t been able to find my phone during the 5 minutes it took for the paramedics to get him into the car, so I’d just grabbed my dad’s.

At the hospital, I parked the car next to the emergency entrance and went inside to get an orderly to help me get my dad inside. Once he was in a wheelchair and in the hands of a nice nurse, I had to move the car into a parking spot.

At this point, I pretty much lost my shit. The emergency was out of my hands and I was no longer able to keep it together. I had no idea why my dad had suddenly fainted twice.  I was in tears, trying to see well enough to get into a proper parking spot. I’m surprised that the only thing I hit was the curb at the emergency entrance which was curved and I couldn’t see where it ended and the road towards parking spaces started.

When I got the car into a parking spot, I called my husband (he was my boyfriend of less than a year at the time). Well, I was using my dad’s phone, which is connected via Bluetooth to the car. I hate Bluetooth! I had dialed the phone normally, but it decided to connect to the car’s radio, so I had the phone up to my ear, but my husband’s voice was coming out of the speakers. I was speaking into the mouthpiece, but the microphone is actually in the roof above the driver’s seat. In other words, I’m sitting there blubbering like an idiot, trying to explain to him what had happened and where we were and that I wanted him there NOW, all while getting incredibly pissed that I couldn’t understand him and he was having trouble understanding me!

Luckily he did get the message and arrived in I think record time. He was very good at calming me down and getting my mind off of every worst case scenario; his son too, who he’d brought since he wasn’t sure what the situation required.

It took about 24 hours for the doctors to determine that my dad had just severely dehydrated himself (though he perked up within an hour of them giving him his first bag of fluids as soon as he’d been properly admitted). He spent an additional two days in the hospital as they tried to figure out how he’d dehydrated himself and debated whether to continue the “battle prep” for the colonoscopy.

You see, that’s what he’d been doing when he’d dehydrated himself. He’d spend all day drinking Gatorade and laxatives for the colonoscopy he was supposed to get. His doctors were baffled that the battle prep was the cause of the dehydration because the Gatorade was supposed to keep him hydrated.

However, my dad has some weird (UNDIAGNOSED) form of diabetes and he hadn’t even thought about the sugar content of Gatorade when he planned his battle prep. A few weeks later he experimented and drank a bottle of Gatorade and paid attention as he peed out more than he had drank. This is what had happened to cause the severe dehydration, though after 3 nights in the hospital, the doctors still couldn’t figure out the cause. Had my dad been thinking about sugar, he would have chosen a diabetic friendly battle prep and would have been fine. But, because his A1C is practically perfect, his doctors are convinced that he is not diabetic. Dur–he’s able to control his sugars with diet and exercise and has been treating the diabetes for over a decade–before it could start to negatively affect his body!

My dad did enjoy his mini-vacation in the hospital where he was doing as much walking around as he could get away with despite being labeled a fall risk. They even gave him the nifty compression cuffs for his legs!