The marriage encounter weekend was more than I could have ever imagined. There was so much that I learned and experienced, and I have to admit I did not go with an open mind. I was very skeptical. Even as the first couple started speaking I was wondering what I was doing there. I found out soon enough. I was doing something that I should be doing.
I think what I discovered was a deeper intimacy with my husband. Not sexual intimacy, but emotional intimacy. Suddenly all of the things we went through - any issue no matter how small or how large - just didn't matter. What mattered most was where we were. I realized that it was Brian's idea to go in the first place. He had no qualms about calling and setting things up for us. It really meant a lot to him as well.
Saturday night close to the wee hours of Sunday morning I sat up in bed and listened to my husband snore. It was comforting and it made me smile. With each intake of breath I knew he was alive, and as strange as it was, I knew that he loved me. If I got up from the bed he would stir and ask me if I was okay. How do I know, because he does it all the time. I can move and in his sleep he checks on me. Even in sleep I seem to be on his mind.
Sunday morning as I sat in our small cube on the twin bed we shared, I remembered someone from my past. I could almost see her in the room with me. Her name was Darlene Kellogg. She was an amazing woman and a great friend. She had two children, a boy and a girl. She was the one that sewed a lot of Sarah's clothes as a child - dresses complete with little pinafores, and she even sewed the first wedding dress for my sister, Kim.
Darlene was married to a hard working man, Earl. They seemed so loving and supportive of one another. But one day Darlene told me that Earl working nights was taking a toll on their marriage. They weren't able to spend a lot of time together. This coupled with the fact that Darlene's brother disappeared one night only to find him laying dead in a field several months later only put more of a strain on them, I'm sure.
I don't remember how Darlene and I grew apart. I'm sure it was my fault. I started going to college. I seemed to have lost track of a lot of my friends and neighbors for a while. Of course I was growing further apart from my husband at that time as well. Regardless of the reasons - more like excuses, I think - we lost touch.
Years later I discovered that Darlene had passed away. She and Earl had divorced. I admit I was surprised, but then I realized that everyone was surprised when I had divorced my first husband, Oscar. No one thought we had any problems. They didn't know about my crying at night alone or how we fussed over who was to blame for what petty thing. None of those things matter now, but then they seemed so important. "Little things matter."
Darlene, on this cold and snowy Sunday morning, made a difference in how I saw things. I had let a good friend go and I couldn't even think of a good reason why I would let that happen. I wasn't there for her when she more than likely could have used a good person to lean on. And maybe, just maybe, if she and Earl had given themselves an opportunity to try a weekend of rediscovery of each other they wouldn't have lost each other either. But that wasn't important, because I couldn't change the past.
What is important is I have control over what I do know now. I know that I am deeply in love with my husband. I know that I have some great friends and a wonderful life. I have been blessed and instead of sweating the small stuff I just need to trust that I'm not alone when I face them. I am at peace at this moment with the decisions I have made in my life. I have a renewal in the relationship with my husband and with my family. Life really is good.
So here is a little sappy song with lyrics so you can sing along. Give it a try. :)