Thursday, November 14, 2013

How to Hunt a Husband: The Justin Story

For Aimee.

When I started this blog I imagined that I would be posting , mostly , about marriage. At the time I was very newly married and it seemed like the most fascinating topic one could write about. I posted about the little things: figuring out how to live together--you were there.

In the short time I have been married though, I have learned that the ins and outs of the institution are really not always compelling to other people. Marriage is a way of life. I think Justin and I have managed so far to have a very good marriage and I think what is has boiled down to is accepting another persons' presence as a permanent fixture in your life. Well not just accepting their presence, welcoming it, needing it , breathing it in and knowing that it's what sustains you. Knowing that without their presence you wouldn't really be yourself anymore.

On Sunday I rode back to California with my parents for what my sister is calling my "exile" and my mother is calling my "days of confinement". My insurance is here in California and Justin's very strict PT program is in Arizona. I am 37.5 weeks pregnant and I am waiting here for this baby to come so that we can make the trip back home together. Right now Home is in Arizona, Home is where our husband and daddy is.

I know I have done my fair share of gushing on this blog about how much I love my husband. I know that loving your husband isn't really all that unique and you guys are probably sick of hearing about it, but well you know that's kinda my life I guess.

When I got married at 20 I think some people might have thought I was throwing away my chances at a successful life. Over the past two years I have wondered that myself on many occasions. Most recently, I had to quit coaching for Chandler ( despite lots of people telling me I was really good at it), because Justin's in school and we're having a baby. Sometimes it feels like marriage makes the decisions for me.

I've been reflecting though on why I married that man and how I knew I had to. I was young and immature but I know I made the right choice.

I had always been looking for someone really. From early teens on I craved the attention and affection that a relationship promised to provide. I didn't really have a whole lot of people interested in me in high school, but my senior year I got a taste of what having someone could be like. I wanted to get married, to have someone be mine, to have someone to hold me and tell me I was beautiful and smart and strong. I needed that. I knew I could be someone big, if only I could find the someone who would help me get there.

I graduated and went to BYU-Hawaii and had all sorts of adventures with other 18 year-olds. I'm really grateful for the friends I had, who pushed me to explore the world and enjoy life with or without that special someone. We were busy and having a blast, but that didn't stop me from continually hunting for that person that would be mine. That one who would hold me in the night and tell me everything was o.k., the one who really knew me for who I was and wanted nothing more than to bask in the little quirks and strengths that made me me...whoever that was.

I had crush after crush and I threw myself at them. I imagine I was quite annoying if not a little scary for my intensity. I tended to go after the guys all the other girls were going for too. The ones who were friendly and outgoing and really cool and well-liked. Lots of times they responded to my advances, noticed the good in me, but then things would fall through--there was often someone else who was better, or a little older, or a little more their style. I'd be left feeling dejected and unworthy and horrible about myself, then I'd eat a bag of marshmallows, let my friends tell me what a jerk the guy was, and move on to my next victim.

Then I had a crush that really CRUSHED me ya know? He was very philosophical and very interested in my perspective on things. I felt smart and ambitious around him and I just knew ( this wasn't the first time I "just KNEW") that he was the one for me. I spent hours analyzing every thing he said to me, repeated over and over the signs ( my parents knew his grandparents who knewblahblah) that we were definitely going to get married one day. He'd invite me for late night walks and we'd hold hands. I met his friends and thought I was in. I wasn't. I wasn't really the only girl getting that kind of attention from him. It's not like we were dating, but the whole thing just hurt. He ended up awkwardly terminating our midnight talks by telling me he wanted to date someone else; that he really liked me, that I was this amazing person, but that things would be too serious... it hurt then, though now I can see that I was a very intense person around him and that it would never have been a good thing.

I didn't let him go right away. I thought that maybe he'd date around for a while and then look my way again. We were both in California over summer and I was wishing on every star that he'd come visit, that he'd text or call and want to hang out. My mom said it was like the saddest thing she'd ever seen. I like to call it my period of DESPERATION.

It got far enough into the summer that I realized he just wasn't that interested. If he was, he would have come. He didn't. I needed to move on. I needed to stop trying to find someone who would find me. I needed to be ok with myself, know myself, be ME. I came back determined not to date for a while. I didn't want to be depending on attention from others anymore.

I felt really different when I got back to school. I was still lonely, still wanting somebody, but I was more confident and I wasn't LOOKING for someone anymore. Turns out I didn't ever need to be searching as hard as I had been. A couple weeks into the semester the new guy on the team walked into the weight room and captured me with his big brown doe-eyes. It was different this time. I wasn't going to be following him around like a sick, lost puppy, I was going to attack that man with all the force of a full grown retriever, pin him down, and slobber all over him.

Why was it different? Wasn't this just me being intense and aggressive again only this time it worked out? NO. This is what was different. I didn't want Justin so that I could find myself, so that I could feel like I was worth loving. I wanted Justin because I wanted him. I wanted him more and more as we spent time together. Forget trying to make myself seem funny or unique or lovable. I went on dates so I could hear him laugh, see his sweet smile, feel the warmth and integrity of his spirit. I treasured his kindness, even when it wasn't aimed at me, I marveled at his discipline, his passion. I pursued him. In his words " It was a real shock to me, to know someone wanted me that much, to feel like I was worth it." As our relationship progressed I think Justin started to feel the same way about me, wanting to hear more about who I was because he loved me...nothing more nothing less.

When we started talking about marriage, there was this instant in which I flickered back to that old feeling of needing validation rather than of simply loving him. Justin, who was way more mature than me at this point (ok fine he still is) said this; " I want to marry you because I have to see who you become. You are a wonderful person now and I love you, but I know that you have a lot of growing to do and I simply can't give up my chance to see that. I want to be with you when you become the person I know you can be."

At the time I was really offended and a little panicked by this. " You don't love me for me, " I wailed.  "You want me to be someone different , you are only marrying me because I am a blank slate." Justin just sort of chuckled and half took back what he said, I can see it now, him hugging me to him but half-smiling at my dramatic outburst and looking forward to those becoming a little more thought out ( sorry babe, I hope you didn't think 3 years would be enough time for that.) Now I practically cry every time I think of what he said. He gave me so much room for growth. He loves me so much, sees me so clearly, that he knows now is only the beginning of things. He doesn't just love me for who I am. He loves me for who I will be.

He wants things for me to. He is constantly pushing me to pursue things in the areas he perceives me as talented. He wants me to live up to my potential. And you know what? That's exactly what I want for him.

That's why I am here in California. Doing things in a really inconvenient way. Standing on the cusp of dedicating my heart and soul to Justin's and my son. I'm not just ok with it. I am relishing every moment of it. Every panicked phone call from him seeking reassurance about the final he is about to take is music to my ears. I know him, I see him, I love him. I will do anything to help him be the man I love. Now and Forever.

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I am a videographer located in Goodyear, Arizona. Visit my site to check out my best work and the Stories Told blog.