On Marriage, Metaphors, and What Being Mormon Means to Me
My relationship to Mormonism is like my marriage.
When I first married my husband, I thought he was one way. Handsome, funny, vibrant, talented, charismatic, intelligent.
And he is all of those things — and much, much more.
But the more I got to know him, the more I became acquainted with his faults. His inflexibility, his quickness to anger, his tendency to withdraw emotionally even when I need him.
It was a terrifying discovery.
Because as a young woman, idealistic and naive, I believed that love makes everything better — and that “better” means smoother, simpler, without stress or strain.
What, then, to do when I discovered that it was harder than I thought it would be? That along with the intimacy and joy, I’d be fighting through pain, frustration, anxiety, even heartache?
If it’s really right, shouldn’t it be easier than this?
The answer, it turns out, is NO.
You see, as I wade through the thick and thin of day-to-day living with this person I know so well, I begin to catch a glimpse of what I must look like through his eyes — and discover that for every complaint I have about him, surely he’s got one for me: I’m selfish, sloppy, stubborn, thoughtless, and profoundly unkind.
I begin to recognize how desperately I need his forgiveness and compassion if he’s going to put up with me a moment longer. And that, in return, I simply must extend the same to him. After all, I don’t have the moral high ground.
And in that moment, he stops being an idealized version of what it all “should” look like, and becomes a real person — an often-brilliant, sometimes-bumbling, living, breathing human being with God’s craftsmanship shining out of him…a man whom I love much deeper now than before I made that discovery.
The Church is the same way.
It’s a mixed bag of goodness and badness, giving and taking, serving and abusing, freedom and control, truth and error. Just like anyone.
Just like me.
But there is something noble about loyalty.
There is something — dare I say it? — Christlike about seeing a group of people for what they are…warts, scales, sins, and all…and choosing them anyway.
So I choose the Church because I love the Church. The way I love my husband. The way I want to be loved.
And that’s what being Mormon means to me.
Please note: Because I discuss him, my husband read and reviewed this post before I published it. He agrees that he’s pretty dang awesome with just a few minor flaws (*grin*), though he questioned my use of the word “bumbling.” Let the record show that he does not bumble; it’s mostly there because I thought “often brilliant, sometimes- bumbling” was a groovy-sounding alliteration. 🙂