Newlywed Love (#29)
February 6, 1970
Nate and I had been married for 70 days when we hit some “white water rapids” in our adjustment to being husband and wife. Much like the misunderstanding that occurred when he bought the Christmas tree without me, this episode was similar. It was a minor disagreement related to how our varied upbringings had taught us differently — neither was right or wrong, just not the same.
As with the Christmas tree, my response was not to ask rational questions or use logic but to burst into tears.
I wasn’t weeping to manipulate Nate or get my way. That hadn’t even occurred to me. The crying was completely involuntary, and as always, I made no attempt to hold it back.
What I hadn’t considered was how upsetting my tears were to Nate, just as they had been in December. He immediately blamed himself for causing me to cry, which he saw as a catastrophe. This compounded the issue at hand and tipped the blame heavily in his direction. And that wasn’t right.
After our clash, we had restored our relationship quickly with lots of hugging and affirmations of love. But the next morning, as I tried to teach school, I was still bothered by my irrational tears and the extra stress they added to Nate.
I kept picturing his grief-stricken face as he tried to comfort me enough to stop my crying, and I felt terrible about it.
During my lunch break, I decided to write him a letter.
The only paper I had was a sheet of newsprint from my students’ art bin, but it was good enough. I wanted to reassure Nate of my unshakable love and also thank him for putting up with my tears. And I wanted him to know that my weeping wasn’t “the end of the world” as he seemed to think it was.
I knew I couldn’t ask Nate to just get used to it, and I didn’t want him to go to the other extreme, disregarding my tears as insignificant. I loved when he comforted me. But I hoped he could learn not to see it as a disaster but just as one of the foibles of his bride.
I wanted him to know, in writing, how grateful I was for his patient, caring response to me the day before, and in a way, I wanted to apologize for upsetting him so much.
By writing a letter, I hoped to build up my young husband and sympathize with him for his having to accept me “as is.” And rather than hand it to him that evening, I decided to mail it – from Champaign to Champaign.
That way the message would have greater impact than if I just said it out loud. He could read and re-read it, hopefully being uplifted each time.
I thought back to our pre-marriage days when both Nate and I had prepared for marriage by reading books about it. All the authors agreed that difficult challenges were sure to come, and we had said, “Oh, not with us.”
Now we were beginning to see what they meant.
“After you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.” (1 Peter 5:10)