Marriage is this bizarre thing. When I was younger, I always dreamt of finding “the one” and I’d follow that Godly man anywhere (so I said). Back then, I also thought marriage was about happiness. (Simeon told me it was about God and I told him he was nuts.) I told God I wanted a preacher or a teacher, but was not interested in a military man. You should have seen my face in college when Simeon announced he was seriously considering the military a couple of weeks before we started dating. I was too embarrassed at the time to explain to him that he should stick around and date me, but did insist that he not leave just yet.
Marriage has been the death of me and yet has made me stronger in some areas too. And I am serious. There have been parts of marriage and raising a family that have been so painful that you wonder what the condition of your heart and soul look like and if this must be what death feels like. People say marriage and family are “hard”, but that does not really prepare anyone for what hard looks like and how you seek God out to help you with that load.
Our first year of marriage, I had just graduated with my teaching degree in Chemistry, Earth Science, and General Science 5-12 and had even taken Spanish to help make me more desireable in the teaching field. I had gone into college with the hopes of eventually obtaining a doctorate in education and moving into administration at the high school level. My personality was pretty focused on achievement and I think I thought that was how you earned God’s love too. I wasn’t “perfect”, but used to feel like I should strive to be and wondered why the heck most people did not want to do that. (It’s exhausting for one.) So with that process, the people closest to me would definitely get an earful of my opinions when I thought they were headed the wrong direction. And my expectations…they were high for others, but just as high if not higher for me, so what was wrong with that? Life had been difficult growing up having been through a couple of divorces as a kid and several moves and family drama every which way you can think of (seriously, like the ghetto kind). So as an adult, I thought I could make a life for myself that was not so difficult and I could finally find joy and peace or calm seas. I had an ideal life in my head and thought I had found the man who would help me live it.
The Big City – Okay, I was more of a small town girl. Wichita seemed scary and humongous to me when we moved there. The city seemed like a great place to move in order to secure jobs. Simeon transferred to Starbucks in Wichita where we rented a small, but nice 1 bedroom apartment. June through August, I worked as a camp counselor, but could not get a teaching job for the fall. Come to find out, the school district was in a hiring freeze AND for some reason not a lot of other places want to hire someone with an overqualified resume to organize clothing. I could not even get a substitute job, because they only hire during certain times of the year. Student loans started sending bills 6 months after graduation. Fun.
So I was stuck at home in an unknown city, uncertain of how to connect anywhere. It was depressing. My husband worked hard at Starbucks and came home with the hope of relaxing rather than getting out of the house. We had been arguing over the summer, because I was gone all week except Friday nights through Sunday afternoon. I discovered that my new husband did not like unpacking or organizing (and still does not). The job of making home rested on me for a handful of Saturdays and then more when camp ended. Simeon also did not enjoy doing homework to the point that there were some more failed classes. We also found out one of us had a credit card spending problem, though later down the road we realized we BOTH had spending problems.
On Simeon’s end of marital life, he had married a woman who had been through a date rape whose LAST love language was intimacy. Combine that with all of my frustrations towards him during that phase, you know there was not much going on. The less going on in that department, the more Simeon felt rejected and unloved. The more he brought it up, the more I felt pressured and didn’t want it. Simeon gave me permission to also say that porn was a big addiction and issue for him during college and the first part of our marriage as well. The rejection he felt from me, compounded that problem. You can guess how I felt about that. What did I do with my time? Job hunted, learned to crochet, and adopted a cat.
After a big argument over what to make for supper one night; I was sitting outside on some steps thinking that I had made a HUGE mistake in getting married. I regretted it. I also knew a lot of people struggle their first year. It was the first time I realized I had anger problems. Either way, I had made a promise and was going to stick through even if it was hell. As a kid of divorce, I did not want any part of it for myself. Both of us had agreed it would never be an option.
I sought help in the form of a mentor through a church we had just visited and started attending weekly studies in a small group. I learned not to let excuses get in the way of attending that group too, because those ladies were that awesome (well, actually God working through them). Simeon would beg me to go, because I came back in a better mood. We started regularly going to church. I was hired in December as a long-term substitute. THAT was actually so hellacious that I began questioning whether I should be teaching at all. The students had run off their teacher and several other subs and they were quite shocked when I kept returning. Simeon was very supportive through that time. Some good times included teaching the cat to fetch, discovering parks around Wichita, Renaissance Fest, and bike riding. It was also a plus that we could go out to eat at so many different places and go on a date whenever we wanted. Have you been to the Warren Theater? It’s amazing. Also, Kinai’s is the BEST sushi place in town in my opinion. In the spring, God moved fast. Within a few days of each other, Simeon was hired as a children’s pastor at the church we were attending and I was hired as a Chemistry teacher at a local private school. We then moved to a bigger, cheaper apartment and welcomed the summer.