Growing up I quickly fell in love with the idea of being in love. Let's face it, I was a succor for princess movies and chick flicks. My future husband was going to see me and I was going to see him and we would be in love almost instantly and we would know that we would live happily ever after. Our trials would always bring us closer together (if we had trials at all) and we would never argue of course. Also my future husband would be so in love with me that his whole life ambition would be to please me and give me undivided attention at all times. I knew marriage was hard but that was for other people, not me.
Well any who, I met my husband when I was 19 and he was 22 (and of course when you are that age you are ready to be the perfect wife and husband, enough experience and knowledge for anything, right? I remember it so well the first time I saw him. I was attending Friday Forum at the institute (every Friday at the college institute building they had a guest speaker come) and I was sitting behind a couple of guys. One of the guys tapped his friend on the shoulder before it started and said, "Let's find you a girl." I found this kind of funny and they both stood up, turned around, and started looking around. The friend who agreed to stand up when suggested (now my husband, also known as Weston) had this grumpy face expression as he was looking around. We had eye contact for a slight second and then he looked away and just kept looking around. No, I never imagined that I would ever marry this guy that day (or even after I knew him for a good while either) and he doesn't remember me at all from that day. Ha, just like all the princess movies and chick flicks right?? I suppose from this experience I should have started to believe that my life was going to be normal, not another movie, but still "marriage is hard" was not talking about me, just every other real couple.
Well to make a long story short, we became friends, then best friends, then fell in love and decided to get married. Marriage was pretty good, I didn't have much to complain about and so far I was living the dream, the princess/chick flick dream. I even remember feeling like, the Lord did good in putting us together (another story on receiving revelation about marrying Weston) because we are absolutely perfect for each other in every way. His strengths were my weaknesses and vice versa.
After about a year though things started to change. I think reality hit for both of us. All the sudden it was open if it was supposed to be shut, it was out if it was supposed to be in, it was lost when it needed to be found .... and this was just what he had to live with. I was unorganized, I had trouble cleaning up after myself, and I lose everything!
I started to notice Weston wasn't perfect either. He started to act different. I didn't know this at the time but he was struggling with an emotional disorder known to most people as depression. I soon began to learn something about myself through this, I let my self worth and happiness stem from my husband's self worth and happiness. If he was unhappy, I was in tears. If he was angry, I was in tears. If he wanted to be alone.....I was in tears. I was co-dependent with him, a phrase I came to learn later on in my marriage.
I am not sure how long it had been in our marriage, maybe 2 or 3 years, but I was attending church at our college ward (all young couples happily in love, hardly any children) alone again. My husband began to miss a lot. In that ward, Sacrament meeting was first, then Sunday School, and last was Relief Society/Priesthood. Well I went to Sacrament meeting alone, then Sunday School alone, and I was so excited for Relief Society to finally come because then I wouldn't be alone there would only be wives there. Then right at the end of Sunday School they announce Relief Society and Priesthood are going to be combined next hour. Hmmph! I had enough. I was so tired of being a lone at church. I decided to leave but as I started to walk towards the door I saw a picture of the Savior and the words came to my mind, "You are not here to make friends or to gain favor to others, you are here for you, you are here because you need Him." I turned back around and went to class. That was my first lesson that truly spoke to me on where my happiness needed to come from.
On another occasion I remember reading my scriptures and it hitting me for the first time that the Savior died not only so that we could repent but he also suffered for our pains and sicknesses. He could heal me in every way. I probably had heard that a zillion times but it didn't register until that moment. I could be healed from the Savior. I didn't need my husband to be perfect for me to feel happy. I needed to build a relationship with my Savior. In order to have my happily ever after, I needed to find my self worth from the Savior.
I still struggle sometimes but the times I am doing the best and feeling the most happy I am doing these things: Daily falling to my knees and praying vocally to my Heavenly Father (of course privately), I have been in the habit of reading my scriptures daily but that wasn't enough, I needed to set a certain time everyday (right before bedtime is not a good time) and really study and ponder the words, journal writing, serving others, keeping the Sabbath day holy (this one surprisingly makes a huge difference), when I have a hard time sleeping because I am feeling disappointed or afraid I turn on the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, really working to confront a negative thought quickly and replace it with positive thinking, and listening to conference talks while I am cleaning.
Yes I have come to learn "Marriage is hard" for myself. It is not just a fairy tale. Through the trial of living with someone who has depression I have grown a lot and this has resulted in my relationship with my Savior growing tremendously.
Now I don't want you to think my marriage has been all hard. I love Weston. He is so good for me. He is organized, frugal, good with directions, smart, he makes me laugh, etc...and I have also seen him turn to the Lord through this trial also. He is doing so well right now. After Elder Holland's talk in October 2013 General Conference and advice from some good people in the church we have sought medical help for his depression, he is also working on his relationship with the Savior to help heal himself.
I am glad things are going better for my husband and I am really glad that I have learned through the times when he isn't doing so well that I can still find happiness.