The World According to Tiff Sniff

Meandering ponderings and wonderings on the state of things.


Learning Curve

I've never been good at following things through. I start something, but never quite seem to feel the need to finish. I have at least 10 half-read books lying around my apartment. Work projects would never get done if I didn't have court dates. Even then, things that don't have to get done, don't get done. I get excited and distracted by new and different things. Then, when I get bored, I look around for something else. It never seems to end.

This is the big reason the whole idea of marriage scares me. My dad's parents were married 61 years before my grandfather passed away. My mom's parents have also hit the big 6-0. My own parents are approaching 40 years of togetherness. Actually, those numbers don't scare me; they are comforting and reassuring.

What scares me is the 15-year mark. 15 or 20 years in, how will I not be bored? How will I not get restless and want something new?

(Okay, bear with me - I promise this will all tie together.)

Yesterday at church, one of the girls in the youth group was baptized. I thought about my own baptism, and my faith experience since then. I was baptized at a fairly young age - on my 11th birthday. At the time, it was something I knew I needed to do, and that I thought I understood. I was going to be a Christian, and was going to get to go to heaven.

As I got older and my faith got more complicated, I toyed with the idea of being baptized again. After all, I clearly didn't know what I was getting into when I made the original decision. Wouldn't it be good for me to declare my allegiance again? To re-dedicate myself to Christ? I toyed with the idea all through grad school, and in the end kind of never did anything with it.

My faith, belief, relationship with Christ (inadequate phrases, all) is so much more beyond what I ever imagined 16 years ago, or even 5 years ago. I am so amazed by God, and last year in particular, because it was a hard year for me, brought me even closer to Him. My eyes and heart were opened to His love and power and holiness as never before. I can't wait to see what He will bring me next. I am in love with Him in a way I never thought possible, and could have never imagined.

In America, we do marriage a great disservice. We build up romance and weddings to almost unattainable heights. We teach our children that to fall in love is to become complete and completely happy. At the same time, we are casual and cavalier about divorce. Our divorce rate is unbelievable. In essence, we have glorified the falling-in-love part as the most important. The marriage part, pah, it's disposable if it doesn't suit you.

Maybe I'm too harsh. Here's where I'm going with this:

Sunday, watching the teenage girl start down the path I've been on for a while now, I was excited for her, that she would get to experience what I have. That she will know the joy that comes from loving and serving God and others. That she will be fulfilled in a way she can't explain.

And it hit me what an overwhelmingly perfect analogy a marriage is to faith - and a wedding is to a baptism. (Have to mention here having read and studied F. Lagard Smith's Baptism: A Believer's Wedding Ceremony in college. I was too new in my faith then to "get it". I imagine I will "get it" even more as I get older. But I digress.)

When a couple marries, they know they are in love. They know it is the right thing for them to do. They know and understand each other, and know and understand what marriage means.

Then, after a couple of years, they look up and realize they didn't know or understand any of these things. (Statistically most divorces happen after 2 years of marriage.)

When I was baptized, I thought I knew and understood why I did it and what it meant. Eventually, I, too, realized I had had no idea what it was really all about.

But a good faith journey mirrors what happens in a good marriage - you stay, even though you've realized this isn't what you signed up for. You stick through the crummy parts, when you're sure he doesn't really love you. And in the end, as you work through it, you realize that it's even better and more wonderful than you were giving it credit for.

I cannot wait to fall in love with my husband the way I have been falling in love with God. I cannot wait to get to 20 years of marriage, and to realize that I am in love with my mate in a way I never thought possible, and never could have imagined. Will I get bored and restless? Who knows. Probably. But I know now what awaits me, and I know now that I can do this.

5 Responses to “Learning Curve”

  1. # Blogger Michael

    I know you didn't write any of this to intentionally hurt me...but you know, you did cast a light on some stuff I don't really like dealing with on a regular basis.

    See, I've been through a divorce. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. I entered the marriage like you said in here--in love. I'd almost use the word twitterpated from Bambi if you will. I felt we had a good footing as her parents were married a good long while and so were mine. I'd been around good friends who were great examples of a solid, stable Christian marriage nad I had some close friends who had had marriages fail and had talked to seirously about what it took to be a husband that God needed me to be.

    And I can honestly say I worked hard to be that. And if there's one thing I regret most about the divorce is that as hard as I tried to be the man God needed me to be for my ex-wife, she wouldn't let me do that for her.

    I will also say that I struggled with the divorce...and still do. It was a conventant relationship and I broke it. It is something I will have to answer for when I stand before God.

    I admire and respect your desire to find that relationship God has created for you. I pray that you find it....because I've seen in freinds and family how awesome it can be. It's something I pray about God leading me to. I know He'll get me there when the tiem is right.  

  2. # Blogger Steph

    Wow! Not only did I learn a lot about marriage and my faith (and how it all ties together), but I learned a lot about Tiff and BigOrange. :D Thanks guys- what a wonderful afternoon blog break!  

  3. # Blogger Tiffany

    Michael-
    First of all, let me apologize. I would never try to hurt someone intentionally, especially a friend.

    I admit that I know nothing about what a divorce entails. The only one I've been remotely exposed to was my uncle's, when I was a kid. I cannot explain, imagine, or understand what you went through, and I would never pretend to.

    I just realized that my fear of marriage comes from my not understanding it - when in reality, no one can understand it until they are in it, and it's stupid to pretend otherwise. Now that I've let go of that hangup (well, loosened my grip, anyway), it's a lot less scary. Comparing it to my faith walk made it easier for me to understand.

    Honestly, I have set myself a really high, possibly unrealistic, standard for what I'm looking for. But from where I am now, and coming from what I've experienced, I really can't settle for less. Not at this point, anyway. At this point, I'd rather stay single.

    My comment about our divorce rate wasn't meant to be a condemnation of divorcees, or of those who struggle in their marriages. It was more a condemnation of my own perspective, and of a general societal tendency, not of specific people or acts. In my mind, it is this collective attitude, and not the situations of individuals, that makes the divorce rate so sad.

    I know you loved your wife and that you love and follow God. I would never judge you for what y'all went through.

    Thanks for your thoughts and your honesty. I know God has more in store for you.  

  4. # Blogger Michael

    Tiffany,

    I know what you said here was not intended to hurt me. It's one of those things where when you hear a person who you respect and consider a friend speak a truth, you can't really ignore it.

    The thing with marriage is that it takes two people to make it work and it takes two people to make it fail. And really both of you need to be on the same page at least most of the time to make it work.

    Funny you should say that about your expectations. I had high expectations as well when I got married and at one point, my ex told me I shouldn't have such high expectations. Maybe I was unrealistic, but I didn't think having a relationship built on love, trust, communication, mutual respect and the occasional sense of humor about things was too much to expect. But then again, I'm weird that way...

    Anyway, like I said--I don't feel lik you were writing specifically aobut me...because that'd be pretty darn egotistical of me. But some of what you said was very true and it hit home for me on some stuff that has bubbled under the surface in my mind and I wanted to acknoweledge that.

    Thanks for listening!
    Michael  

  5. # Blogger Malia

    What to say, what to say...I have soooo much I want to say!!! First of all, WOW! Tiffany we have a lot in common. I too start MANY things and rarely finish them. I too was baptized early (~9 1/2) and have/had contemplated the whole re-baptism thing. NOt that those two things themselves are inherently unique to us, it was the way you described them in your life that is so eerily similiar to my own. Oh! I just have so much running through my head right now about all of this I want to talk more about it but I don't want to ramble or preach on your blog :-)

    This was an EXCELLENT post!!! Thank you!  

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