We got married on the 26th of June, the first year in my memory (and worst to date) that wildfire smoke completely obscured the valley where we live. It rolled in the 27th and stayed, as best I can remember, all summer.

The smell of wildfire smoke still makes me irrationally happy and nostalgic.

At any rate, while Andrew and I had a relatively smooth transition into marriage (owing, I think, to long friendship and a whole lot of grace), there were a couple things I remember losing my mind over that smoky summer.

My friend Gretchen shared a post her husband wrote for her blog for their 20th anniversary in which he mentioned a nuclear meltdown over a spice rack, which jostled loose a couple of long-forgotten fights in my brain.

We were wandering the neighborhood on a less-smoky day and talking about the logistics of combining lives. We started talking money, which was ordinarily no big deal. Weirdly, we’d managed our separate finances together for a few years before we got married, so combining yielded no big shocks. I mentioned closing my bank account, since all our checks came out of his now. He wanted to keep it open for reasons I don’t recall now—I imagine to have a separate account to dedicate for… I don’t know. Investment, maybe?

I freaked out.

Same summer, different evening. We both had cell phones (it was 2004, after all) and I asked when we were going to get a landline. He looked confused. “Why?”

I think I cried that time, too.

That winter (I think), the smoke had finally cleared, but now it was cold and dark. He and I went on a drive up Murphy Dome and were just chatting in the car. He talked about a tiny Toyota truck he was interested in buying. It was cheap, and would serve us well.

I dissolved into a blubbering puddle of incoherence.

My poor, darling husband.

He thought he knew what he was getting into when we married. We’d been friends so long, it seemed like he had probably seen all my crazy already. Little did he know.

My dismay over having multiple bank accounts came from a fear we weren’t really combining lives fully. The landline issue was the same. How is anybody supposed to call us if there’s only you and me? The truck was one step further: if he’s getting a vehicle that only seats two people comfortably, he must not want to have kids with me. (Oh, younger me… if only you knew then. Just wait a handful of years.)

The thing that kept exploding out of me suddenly, violently, and at the most random and unpredictable moments like a defective (extra terrifying) jack-in-the-box, was a very specific fear: he had, or soon would, figure out he got a lemon of a wife and the end of our still-new marriage was imminent. Obviously, he’s a catch and I’m crazy and sooner or later he’s going to realize it and want out and I wouldn’t even blame him but I don’t know what would happen to me.

I wouldn’t say the last 15 years have completely eradicated this fear, but it doesn’t pop up like it did that first year. I have a lot more respect for his stubbornness, for one. The man made a commitment, and he’s not going anywhere. I have a bit better view of the wife he chose, too. I’m totally crazy a lot of the time, but I like to think it’s mostly in endearing ways. (?)

More than anything, I have 15 years of tracing the grace of God doled out through our marriage. It’s not Andrew’s commitment or the endearing nature of my quirks that holds this thing together—this is the way He’s chosen to draw both of us closer to himself.

We did not, by the way, close my bank account. We did end up getting a landline. We didn’t use it except as the number associated with our Fred Meyer and Safeway rewards cards, so I still punch it into various grocery checkout keypads many times a month. We had a cute little answering machine, but nobody used that number—they just called our cells. We got rid of it a couple years later. I didn’t cry that time. He ended up getting not one but two little late-80s Toyota trucks. We still eventually ended up having children together. Like a million of them.

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This post is part of my series, 31 days of speaking the truth. You can find the whole list of them here on the first post of the series.

Published by robininalaska

Robin Chapman is a part-time writer, editor, and birth photographer and a full-time imperfect mama, wife, Jesus follower, and normalizer of failure. She’s trying hard to learn how to do this motherhood thing in a way that doesn’t land the whole family in intensive therapy. She has a heart for helping other mamas buried in the little years with hope, humor, and solidarity. You can find her hiding out in the bathroom with an iced dirty chai, writing and editing and making spreadsheets for KindredMom.com where she is a cheerleader for mamas, or online looking for grace in her mundane and weird life. She lives in Fairbanks, Alaska with her four delightful (crazy) kids—some homeschooled, some public schooled, some too young for school at all—and her ridiculously good looking husband, Andrew.

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