Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The ADD demons are back

This morning was the first normal morning I think I've had since June, 7th 2012.

This was a really good thing. Until it got problematic.

You'll see what I mean.

I didn't get to bed on time last night. I fell asleep at about 12:30, but for some reason, I woke up at about 6:00. I got up, and milled around, and then an idea hit me as if were the most profound possibility ever generated by a human mind: what if I were to actually start my day at this hour?


So, I did.



Friday, July 27, 2012

Scissors

A conversation with Viva on her birthday:

Viva: I'm four now!

Lolly: That's right sweet girl! You're getting so big!

Viva: Mommy, when I grow up can I do bad things?

Lolly: Uh... what?

Viva: When I grow up can I do bad things?

Lolly: (hesitates) Do you want to do bad things?

Viva: Yes.

Lolly: What kind of bad things?

Viva: Like... *thinky face* using the scissors that only you and Daddy can use!?

Lolly: Yes, Viva. Yes. When you grow up, you can definitely do things like that. Plus, using scissors isn't "bad." It's just dangerous.

Viva: Thanks mommy!

Cut to: the next day, Lolly and I walk into the kitchen and Viva is at the counter holding the forbidden scissors. "Look Mommy and Daddy!" she says. "I cut open this birthday present all by myself and I didn't even cut my finger! Cuz I'm four now!"

Yes, Viva. Being four makes your little digits indestructible. Therefore, keep using those meat-cutting scissors. 

 Totally not dangerous!

Photo Attribution: here

Oh, to dream a dream... to dream of using kitchen scissors like a grown-up. Now if only the "bad" things she wants to do remain so innocent, we'll be set for life.



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sometimes 6-year-olds have questions about sex (in Primary class)

Is that such a crime?

So, after church on Sunday my good friend Leslie came up to me and said that she and her husband Richard had substituted Anna's primary class that day. 

And, naturally, things got very interesting.

Apparently they were giving a lesson on the parable of the Prodigal Son. 

Anyway, Richard was giving the lesson and was describing how the Prodigal Son left his homestead with his inheritance, and went gallivanting around, squandering his wealth and living riotously before coming home to beg for a servant's position form his father.

Of course, he was speaking to 6-year-olds, so he kept it simple. (I'm basing this conversation off of a transcription that Leslie sent me via email as well as the conversation she and I had about it after church.)

Richard: And then the prodigal son left his house. And he went to live in a big city. And he did bad things there.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

And... breathe. Also I'm on the radio in Canada in 15 minutes.

Thursday was a really interesting day.

In the morning, we got up and knew that our life would be on national television, and that we had no control over how it would go.

So, we spent the day getting ready and kind of zoned out. There was this weird mixture of terror and anticipation (as there has been all along in this process.) Waves of near-panic, leveling out to this strange kind of inevitablility.

By the time the show came on, I was keeping myself distracted by reading stuff on the internet. And then, I got the first text from someone on the East coast who had seen the piece saying it wasn't bad at all, and the pit in my stomach lessened. And then (since I'm on the West coast) I waited as the show swept across the continent hour by hour, and got a small deluge of texts and phone calls saying "It was good! Really, it was very good!" each time it hit another time zone.

By the time Lolly got home from a girl's night with friends, and the show was going to air, I had heard enough people tell me I wouldn't be horrified that I was finally actually looking forward to watching.

So, Lolly and I sat, and we watched our local news channel report about our story (which was surprising and totally surreal). And then we saw our little family on TV, and watched our words be spoken, and saw very fair counterpoint, and saw a Nightline piece that was very kind to us and that told our story in a really fair way. Granted, there were things that weren't exactly right (as there always are in this kind of thing, or so I've heard). But the overall feel was really sweet and fair, and I feel like they did us justice.

And now we can breathe for the first time in over a month. The terror has subsided, and instead we have a really neat memory of our story being fairly told.

It's a really nice feeling.

Anyway, I wanted to post our reaction quickly, but I'm also posting to let you know that in 15 minutes (sorry for the short notice!) I'll be on the radio in Canada.

It's called the Drew Marshall show and I'm being featured as their "God Blogger."

Here's the link: http://www.drewmarshall.ca/

I hope you can tune in!



Thursday, July 19, 2012

Welcome, Nightliner!

Oh hi.

If you're here tonight, it means you probably saw the segment about me and my family on Nightline. So, welcome to the blog that started it all!

Let me show you around.

First off, you might be wondering about the coming out post that began this whole process.

I posted it over a month ago, and then it went viral. It's the thing that will answer most of your questions (if you have any) and you can find it by clicking here.

If you don't want to wade through the thousands of comments on that post, but want to leave a thought for us about it, feel free to do so on this post. (But, I'll tell you what, there is always a distinct and obvious difference between commenters who have read the coming out post, and commenters who are just going off what they think it might have said--so if you're going to comment, I'd recommend reading it.)

Before that post, The Weed was primarily (and it still often is) a humor blog. Here are a few of the most popular past posts if you're in the mood for a chuckle:

Bambi Nuggets
Previously the most popular post on my blog, in this post my daughter and I discuss the tragedy of Bambi's mom, and the resultant conversation turns my blood cold...

The Time I Almost Played Trivial Pursuit with Ken Jennings
Spoiler: I'm really bad at trivia...

Morning Run
Yeah. THAT happened on my morning run...

Celebrity Crush
How can I can compete with this guy? Answer: I CAN'T.


All right. Hopefully that gives you a taste of what you can expect 'round these parts. It's pretty much a regular riot, with a lot of talking about homosexuality, and a lot of hilarity surrounding my kids and stuff.

So, yeah, welcome aboard! Or at very least a hearty thank you for dropping in and taking a gander.

(Oh, and if you want more regular updates, I just started a Facebook Page so I'll post a bunch of crap there and it will be awesome.)

All right, I've gotta post this! Someone out East just texted me that the segment's on. (I won't get to see it for a few hours because I'm in Seattle, so instead I'm going to go put two rascally girls to bed and be really nervous and sick to my stomach for a couple of hours. Later!)


Nightline is tonight unless there's breaking news UPDATED W/ CORRECT TIME

Which means we are NOT breaking news.

We're just regular news.

Here's the link to the promotional video:


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Consumer Alert!

Do you love your child but want him or her to stay in bed at night?

Is your child in a crib, and you know that he or she could probably climb out of the crib, but you don't want to transition to a toddler bed yet because that would mean a perpetual battle of trying to make your child not ask for water 2348 times a night?

I used to have a solution for you!

It's called a Crib Tent!

Here's the basic idea. Your child is in a crib, and then there's this tent thing that attaches to the crib and covers it up like a champ and boxes your child into the crib like magic. Your baby will sleep soundly and can't get out and hurt herself by falling out of the crib.

It really is a tent on a crib!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Reparative Therapy Video


Hey everybody, this is Lolly again. Josh has been in Utah for the past couple of days at a therapy training. He just got back tonight.

There have been some questions that have come up lately regarding Josh's therapeutic stance and practices. He promised he would write a post in response to those questions. He has spent hours over the course of days trying to write a response. Nothing has felt right, so I suggested he just try doing a video where he can talk about it. So, that's what we did tonight.

I realize this video might be boring to a lot of you since it's all about Josh's therapeutic stance regarding homosexuality. We will not be insulted in the slightest if you opt not to watch the video. The video is in two parts because YouTube wouldn't let us publish it as one video. Altogether it is about 18 minutes long. Sorry. We tried to be quick and concise, but that was the best we could do.

For anyone who is interested, we certainly hope this clears things up. Josh couldn't be more real. I can't guarantee you'll like his therapeutic stance, but I can promise you that these videos are totally genuine and real.

Part 1



Part 2


Thursday, July 12, 2012

An old post and a brief update UPDATED

I'm gonna do the thing that bloggers do when they are really, really busy but they want you to know that they haven't died, and that is that I will post one of my favorite posts from the past with a teeny update.

Here's the teeny update:

I'm finally over my cold. And the hope is that I didn't give it to anybody else. Because that's just mean.

I'm at a conference. A sex-worker conference. (Really it's about sexual addiction, for Lifestar.) And in honor of that, I'll post a post from the last time I was at one of these conferences and I found the most awesome store ever. This was posted originally on 11-22-11.
_________________________________________________________________________

This post is about a store.

Back fourteen centuries ago when I was in Utah at the beginning of the month, my sister's car broke down when she came to pick me up from my sex conference.  Then a couple of days later, we were driving the same car which had miraculously begun working again. The plan was to pick up In-N-Out and go to Grandma Weed's so I could see her one last time before she died. (Side note: I did not actually know she would die several days later at this time. I know it now because this is me from the future talking. Which is why blogs are like time machines.)

While sitting in the drive through at In-N-Out, the car died again. And this time, it did not start up again miraculously.

So basically we were stranded at the mall.

Now, I don't know what laws of economics are in play in Salt Lake City, but for whatever reason, Valley Fair Mall is perhaps the strangest mall I've ever seen. Where most malls have a string of predictable common stores selling popular goods (I can't name these stores--I don't really go to malls very much), Valley Fair Mall has really odd wannabe versions of those stores with catchy names like "Bedazzled" and "Eyebrow Miracle". The most awkward of those stores is the lingerie store called "Husband and Wife".

I'm not kidding you.

So, there we were, Jenni, Justin and I (and their two kids Alice and Parley) wandering around, waiting for our ride. We wanted to find a place where we could let Alice roam and we soon found ourselves in a randomly chosen store.

So what you're saying is that everything IN this store is either a dollar or not a dollar. That makes it entirely different than every other store!


Jenni and were standing there talking in an aisle. Suddenly, we became aware of what we were standing next to.

As seen on TV!  In 1987!

We kind of couldn't believe what we were looking at. It was a Waist Trimmer that appeared to be from an infomercial in the 80's. And it was priced at $6.95 and $14.95. (For those unfamiliar with business and sales, that's a little trick to distract you from the fact that the implication of the store title is that everything should be around a dollar.)

It was at this point that Jenni and I realized that this store was amazing.

Our time waiting for a ride suddenly became a contest to see who could find the most ridiculous merchandise. The following is some of the best of what we found, documented by photo because if it wasn't, it would be too ludicrous to believe.

Let's start with the underwear section.

First off, we have these:

I don't know about you, but when I buy over-sized granny panties, I definitely favor the ones that have little green bears on the back. It makes taking a dump WAY cuter!


Fittingly, I think the middle bear is actually squatting to defecate (while the other two watch?).

Oh, and one more in the front. Plus a little green bow. SEXY.

But if you think those bear panties were a dream, wait till you get a load of this G-string!

 It's possible somebody needs a lesson in what "G-string" means. 

Soon, we were done looking at intimates and we moved on to other things. 

Jenni found a purse. Made of glass.

"The thing I'm most interested in in a hand bag is finding one that will literally shatter to pieces at the slightest jostle."

I stumbled upon a a "dog collar".



Where when I say "dog" I actually mean "T-rex"

Soon, Justin was helping too. The hits just kept coming.

We found a double glue pack!

Yes, on the left you have your glue, and on the right you have your glue stick. Strangely I had always thought of a glue stick as a stick of glue. Silly me!

Candles!!!
Somebody made a mistake here. 

I just don't understand why these aren't selling like hot cakes? Who DOESN'T need exterior palm support?

Some masterpieces go totally unappreciated.

What's that? You want to read the back flap of "Growing Pains?" Sure!

  I'm biting my nails just THINKING about how Sandra might have learned her big lesson about popularity not being everything! (I think it might have something to do with her broken foot.)


 Hey, girl with the Neck Rest. 1988 called and they want their feathered hair back. Oh, and they also want their Neck Rest back. Oh screw it. Does anybody have a time machine so we can take this thing back home? (Also, what better place to read a magazine than in the driver's seat of your vehicle. While wearing a neck brace.)

We were winding down because Allison and Spencer, our ride, were about to get there. However, before we left, we found one more awesome gem... perhaps my favorite find of the evening.

 Wow, this hardware set sounds really fancy! I can't wait to utilize their variety, credible, quality broad purpose. Let's turn it over and see what hardware we get in thi...



 Wait. I don't understand. These are... glue sticks. Not hardware.


"Caution: Extremely Sharp Blades--Handle With Care."

Yes. One should always be careful when handling room-temperature hot glue. Because of the sharp blades.

At about this point, Alli and Spencer arrived, and it was time to go.

But I will always remember. I'll always, always remember that if I need an infomercial product from the 80's, or if I need a glue stick that's actually a bottle, or a glass purse, or a g-string, I can find it at All a Buck & More!

It might be my favorite store ever.
____________________________________________________________________________

All right. Hopefully that was fun. It was fun to reminisce. I'm pretty sure I should pay a visit to All a Buck and More while I'm down here. As well as Cafe Rio. And Leatherby's.

Also, we have a tentative date for Nightline. July 19th. We'll let you know if anything changes.

UPDATE: I also wanted to mention that the comments on the last post were incredible. I have more to say on the subject, and I think that discussion might yield a couple of posts. I've gotta say: there were so many brilliant and moving comments that I was truly educated and learned a great deal. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and insights. 

Later.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A quick question about Jesus

Hey guys.

I have a quick question about Jesus.

It doesn't matter what your religious orientation is, because I think we can hopefully all agree that he was a great man who taught a lot of good principles, so I'd love to hear your input.

To some of us, like myself, He is literally the son of God. Which is why I care what He thinks about things.

So, here's the dealio.

Part of the message I love most of Christianity is the concept of turning the other cheek.

I think it is an amazing teaching. It softens dispute. It nullifies conflict. It allows for love and peace.

However, there's the whole idea of bullying.

I'm not sure if the idea of "turning the other cheek" applies to bullying. Or does it?

Is bullying a scenario where we should expect people to turn the other cheek? And how would that look?

Or is it more of a "money-changers in the temple" scenario?

What do you think? What would Jesus tell someone who is being bullied to do?

(A future post hangs in the balance...)

What would Jesus do?

PS--I have had the WORST COLD IN HISTORY for the last three days. Seriously, it was totally debilitating. Fever, chills, the works. (This is ironic because Seattle finally got sun approximately, oh, three days ago. So, naturally, that's when I get a cold.) I think I'm finally on the mend. Imma take me some cold medicine and sleep all night long. And hopefully I feel better in the morn.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Lesson in obedience--aka sometimes FHE doesn't go as planned...

The other night during Family Home Evening:

Lolly is giving a lesson on obedience.

Anna: Ouch! Tessa [our one-year-old] is pulling my hair!

Lolly: Tessa, no! We don't pull hair.

The lesson continues.

Tessa pulls Anna's hair again.

Anna: Ouch! Ooooouuch!! Tessa stop it! I guess maybe I should pull your hair so you can see how it feels.

Anna tugs at Tessa's hair.

Anna: Do you like that Miss T?

Tessa laughs and nods her head yes. At which point, Lolly looks at me like "What the....?"

Tessa then reaches over and grabs Anna's hair so hard that she rips a chunk of hair off of Anna's head.

Anna:  Ouch!!

Lolly: Tessa, no! We need to be nice to Anna!

Tessa: *laughs maniacally, starts flossing her teeth with strands of Anna's ripped-out hair, begins to growl like a rabid dog that has just tasted blood*

Everyone in the room looks at each other in fear of what will happen next. We all laugh, but it's a nervous laughter, filled with dread.


Tessa: *gets off the couch and begins running with Anna's hair-strands in her mouth around the island in the kitchen*


Lolly: Tessa, come back until we finish the lesson on being obedient...


Tessa: *starts screaming like a banshee, removes her own diaper, runs naked around the house*

We wonder if we should corral her. Instead we quickly finish the lesson, and then I grab the naked one-year-old and take her, howling and writhing and nipping at me like a fox caught in the wild, up to bed.

Aaaand, scene.





Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Patriotic Unicorn Post by Lolly


Hey y'all. This is Lolly. Last Sunday an idea for a post came to me. I told Josh about the premise and I tried to get him to write it, but he thought I should write it myself. So you're stuck with me for this post.

I wanted to share some feelings about America and some of my feelings about Club Unicorn.  I am kind of blending these concepts together, creating a Patriotic Unicorn post, if you will.

I am a true Patriot. I know that in Josh's last post, I was giving him a hard time for being cheesy. But, when it comes to the United States of America, I am the one that gets over-the-top cheesy and sentimental.

There are many examples of the extent of my cheesiness when it comes to this fine nation. I always cry when I sing "The Star-Spangled Banner." I proudly place my hand over my heart when I say The Pledge of Allegiance. American history was my favorite subject in school. I'm proud that my birthday, September 17th, just happens to be Constitution Day. Hanging in my house is a print of Del Parson's "The Old Man Wept" which shows Benjamin Franklin shedding a tear as he signs the Constitution. I have a deep love and respect for the Founding Fathers of our nation and I am truly, truly grateful for the brave men and women who serve our country in the Armed Forces.

Yes, I'm really patriotic--cheesily so--but I'm pretty sure this picture just crossed the line even for me.

Now, I know that the United States is a country that is far from perfect. We have a lot of problems in a lot of areas, but I still love America and what it stands for. In church on Sunday we sang "America the Beautiful" and a couple of lines from that song really hit me. The phrases that stood out to me had to do with sacrifice and self-control. They were "Who more than self their country loved" and "Confirm thy soul in self-control."

I was thinking a lot about those phrases. The concept of holding something -- your country, your beliefs, something that you cherish-- so highly that you could say you loved it more than self. Loving something so much that you are willing to control your own wants and desires for it.

Isn't that noble? Something to be respected? I'm not sure that concept is considered to be a good thing anymore. Which I think is a shame.

Now, I realize that sometimes people can start worshipping or placing faith in ideals that harm others. That is never a good thing. But, when someone has found something that brings them true happiness, and they're not harming others, how could that be a bad thing?

Josh and I knew that we were going to be sharing the reality of his homosexual attractions in what is now known as the "Club Unicorn" post for a few months before we even wrote it. I was really nervous, almost terrified, about doing it. The thing that scared me so much was wondering how people would react. While we had no idea how far it would end up spreading, I knew even then that we were going to be getting reactions from all sides --from members of both the religious and LGBT communities. I knew that people would be judging something incredibly special to me -- my marriage and my family. I was hoping we would get support, but I also figured that people would say hurtful, mean things when they didn't even know us. Or worse, they would say hurtful, mean things when they did know us. I was worried about people making rash, knee-jerk reactive responses, without even reading our post thoroughly or seriously contemplating what we had to share. Yet, I knew we needed to share.

As it turns out, my concerns were absolutely valid. We have gotten a LOT of feedback about our lives from thousands of people. Some of it has been wonderful and I'm so thankful for it. Then there are others who, for whatever reason, can't seem to see that we have found something that brings us true happiness. That Josh has "Confirmed [his] soul in self-control" because "more than self [his faith and his family he] loved." Even if one doesn't agree with the religious aspect of our decision, isn't there some merit behind this concept?

We're not directly harming others in any way, and yet some people find our lives to be worthy of extreme criticism and cause for great alarm. Some people say we are harming others by sharing our story. What I would like to ask for is that we all have more faith in each others' intelligence. Let's not be scared that sharing opinions and life experiences is a bad thing. Let's be respectful of one another's ability to ingest information and then make informed choices for ourselves. True change was never fostered through hate or ignorance.

I find that when people are rational and comfortable with their own belief system, they don't feel threatened or scared of others whose opinions differ from their own. They don't have the need to forcefully persuade or condemn others.

I have many dear, dear friends who hold differing beliefs than I do. My very best friend is no longer a member of the LDS Church and is now an Atheist. My wonderful neighbors, whom I adore, are Muslims. My daughter's best friend and her family don't practice with any organized religion. I love them all and I find that their roles in my life make it richer and more meaningful. They are not threatened by my life choices, nor am I by theirs. We respect each other and care for one another.

On this fourth of July, I would like us all to act like true Americans. Let's respect others who are different than ourselves. We are a country that was founded on the concept of freedom. The freedom to choose our own personal truths. Let's give all men the right to worship how, where or what they may. Let's share our personal truths with love and then let people govern themselves according to the dictates of their own conscience.

I'm thankful to live in a country where we can do just that.

God bless America!

This is a picture of my brother-in-law, Shane, seeing his daughters, our adorable nieces, for the first time after basic training. I love this picture! And I cry almost every time I see it.  I am so grateful for the sacrifices of the men, women, and their families in our Armed Forces. Thanks for your service, Shane!









 



Monday, July 2, 2012

The Shoe Story: A Treatise on Conflict in Marriage

It has to be said: Lolly and I fight.

I've gotten comments from some really sweet people who have been following our story saying things like "watching your marriage from afar and seeing the connection between you and Lolly makes me feel deficient in my own marriage..." and hearing that, while it's a really kind compliment, makes my heart hurt a little bit.

I want to write this post to emphasize something that I think is very important: every marriage, in its very essence, can be both good and hard. The key that I think is easy to forget at times is that the good and the hard are inextricably linked together. You cannot have one without the other. They are part of the same formula which leads to closeness and unity.

We are no exception to this.

Yes, we are totally in love. Yes we feel that our life together is truly wonderful and we feel very, very happy and fulfilled. Yes, everything you have seen and read (that has come from us) is true.

But, there's more to us than all of that. Things are hard for us at times in many ways, just as is the case in any marriage. And the "hard" thing that I want to talk about today is something every marriage experiences: conflict.

Lolly and I are multidimensional people, and both of us are very passionate and verbal. Before coming to consensus on things, sometimes we have to process a bit. Sometimes we get a little grumpy. Sometimes things aren't all "Goody goody gumdrops I love life!!!"

So yeah, basically what I'm saying is that occasionally we bicker like 80-year-olds who are lost and late to a wedding.

"If you had read the map correctly, Arlene, we wouldn't have missed the brunch. So yes it IS your fault."


I want to emphasize here that different people have different communication styles. I always tell my clients that that's totally okay. Lolly and I both come from parents who rarely fight, so when we found that our style of communication included verbal conflict, we had to figure out what that meant for us, and if that was okay.

Early on in our marriage, we realized the answer. While sometimes conflict is petty and can be avoided, other times our fights are what bring us closer together. Sometimes in facing the difficulty of challenging emotions and the vulnerability of saying hard things, we pass through the portal of deeper understanding and more intense closeness. Sometimes our conflicts are the very key to ensuring that we understand each other and feel intimate and connected and understood.

So what I'm saying here is that conflict can be a good thing in marriage, as long as it is handled correctly.

Here's one of our favorite "fight" stories.

When we were first married, we moved to Provo, Utah. We were broke, but Lolly went to the store and bought some decorative stuff so we could settle in and make our new little apartment a home. She bought some fake ivy and some candles, among other things. When she showed me what she had purchased, she said "I feel so guilty I bought all of this! It was $60!" to which I replied "No, sweetheart. Don't feel guilty. Let go of the guilt. I want you to feel good in our new home. I want you to feel content here." She went back to putting the stuff she bought up, but then she said she felt guilty again (have I mentioned Lolly has a mild case of OCD?) which I responded to by saying something like "Lolly, let me do this for you. Let me buy you some decorations. Please." When she said she felt guilty a third time, I kinda lost my cool and said "Fine. If you're gonna feel guilty about it, you might as well just take the stuff back."

That was a poor choice.

From there we launched into an intense fight, the content of which I don't remember. But what I do remember is that at one point Lolly got so angry with me that she kicked her shoe across the room. I watched as the shoe glided across the room, ricocheted off the wall, hit the ceiling, and then broke the huge front window of our new apartment.


"Um, yeah, Mr. Landlord? We need to replace the window. Because we broke it. With a shoe. During a fight."

I don't remember the cost to replace the window, but I'm pretty sure it was around $60.

This fight was about something petty, but it's also an example of conflict in our marriage. We're not usually hurling objects at each other, but I want you to know that we have worked through some difficult moments. We've had some really hard discussions and we've gotten upset and emotional. We've talked sometimes about heart-rending things with courage and love for each other, and even when things got messy, we've pushed through until we understood each other. And that's the key. Push through the conflict until you get to the other side.

We don't let bad feelings last. We don't let a conflict change how we feel about each other. We push through until we find a solution or a compromise, or until we can say we understand each other. That kind of tenacity has paid off. I trust Lolly with literally anything in my heart, and she does the same with me.

In fact, as I think about it, that all started during our engagement. And it started with something Lolly said.

I have a distinct memory of sitting on the floor of my parents' kitchen talking to Lolly on the phone. I was telling her that sometimes I hesitated to let her know how I was really feeling about hard things because the intensity of her emotional reactions made me uncomfortable. Sometimes her responses scared me.

I wanted to tell her everything. I'm, at the core, an honest person who wishes to be as real and frank and open as possible. We both knew that it was incredibly important to be able to say whatever needed to be said to one another. But now that we were getting so close--marriage close--I was feeling responsible for her emotional well-being, and saying things that made her sad or uncomfortable was beginning to feel painful for both of us. I realize now that what I was asking for at that moment on the phone was not a reasonable request. I was asking that she not emotionally react when I told her hard things. I was asking that she stifle her emotions, and just let me say hard things without having to work on the emotions those hard things evoked.

In response to my concern, she said something totally clutch that has been a bedrock of our communication ever since. She said "Josh, I want you to say anything and everything you need to say. I can't promise I won't have an emotional reaction to what you say. I don't have control over the feelings I feel. But I do have control over my actions. I can promise you that no matter what I feel, I will work through the emotions with you until we both come to a mutual understanding. So you tell me whatever it is you need to say, and I promise we'll talk through the emotions until we both understand it."

I married a smart one, didn't I?

That was a profound insight. We can't control our emotional reactions to things. Our bodies just respond to stimuli. But the thing we can promise each other is that we will sit there, side by side, working through it until both parties feel good, and until both parties understand what is happening.

That's what marriage is about. That's what communication is about. That's what loving others is about. That's the balm we need in order to feel like we can talk openly to our spouses. We can't promise each other unearthly peace or a total lack of human emotion. That wouldn't even be healthy. We can only promise to be there, thick and thin, willing to work until our hearts feel at peace.

If you, like the commenter I mentioned above, are having difficulties in your relationship, I want you to know that you aren't alone. Every relationship has difficult moments. Every single one. If you have gone through difficult times in your marriage, it means you are living. If you and your spouse have had disagreements, it means you are two adult people who have preferences, and the courage to share those preferences with each other.

Having hard moments of conflict is not a sign that things are falling apart in your marriage, or a sign that you and your spouse have failed. It is a stepping stone. It is an open door, awaiting the two of you to join hands and walk through it--walk through the conflict,--to the other side. That's where understanding is. That's where unity is. That's where you and your spouse can be if you simply promise to keep talking to each other until there is understanding, and then actively seek for that understanding.

It sounds like an easy solution, and I don't wish to make light of how complex conflict can be. Heck, I just shared a story about a fight that ended in a broken window. But what I wish to communicate is that even when things get shoe-breaking-the-window intense, you can still find the peace afterwards. You can each take a break, take a deep breath, and try again until your connection is restored. And when that happens, you will feel closer than you did before. You will know you are in this together, and that the only thing that could stop you from being the couple you know you can be is being too afraid to face the hard things head on, with faith in each other and faith in God.

Walk through that door. Walk through the door of conflict and see what awaits you. Don't be afraid. Push through, and there is the potential to be understood in ways you scarcely imagined possible.

*Ummm, as a side-note I'd like to point out that Lolly and I got into a fight as we were editing this post.

It went a little something like this:

Lolly: Um, this part about "walking through the doors holding hands" is too cheesy.

Josh: I'm not cheesy. I'm writing what's in my heart.

Lolly: Sweetie, the fact that you just said "I'm writing what's in my heart" proves you're cheesy.

Josh: I'm not being cheesy! I actually mean this crap!! I am seriously writing what's in my heart!

Lolly: Fine. Your heart is cheesy. Let's move on.

Josh: Okay.

Lolly: Ope, this next sentence is too long.

Josh: Read it back to me.

Lolly: I don't want to read it back to you. It's too long.

And then I got angry and hyper-sensitive. And Lolly said, "Okay Josh, let's hold hands and walk through the non-cheesy open door of this conflict until we reach further understanding."

And then we laughed. And then we talked it through. And then we finished editing.

And that's how this post came full circle. Kind of like a miracle.