Friday, March 15, 2013

Being Married to a Dreamer

Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me,
starlight and dewdrops are awaiting thee.
Sounds of the rude world heard in the day,
Led by the moonlight have all passed away.

So last weekend when Carrie and Ashley and I had a chance for some extended conversation, one thing that of course came up was NYC. Ash started asking me more about Peyton's side of it and it occurred to me that I haven't fully talked about the decision in the context of our marriage beyond "This was Peyton's dream, this became our dream...yada yada". Sometimes I think I inadvertently convey that this is a dream he wouldn't be willing to sacrifice on the alter of marriage.

I actually really appreciate Ashley initiating this dialogue because first of all I think she was showing a true desire to better understand what makes Peyton tick. But more importantly, I think this conversation came out of a place of DEEP love and friendship and I think as one of my best friends, she really needed me to confirm to her that Peyton had thought hard about what he was asking of me- how potentially difficult and lonely and even frightening this could be for me. She knows Peyton is deeply analytical and works through most things thoroughly, but she also know he's human (and also kind of flighty in the sense that he loves to get an idea and run with it, let's be honest). And, she also knows, because she's one of my closest friends, that he has extremely high expectations for people. Including his wife. It felt so good that someone cares enough about me to want to talk through these things. It was neat to analyze this all in a safe and encouraging place and also to think about the journey the Lord has had me on and the way he's worked in our marriage and softened my heart to not just tolerate, but appreciate, the dreamer Peyton is. And also to teach me to better serve him by letting his dreams become our dreams.

Anyway, I thought I'd share more of my feelings on this.

The conversation got started as we were talking about Peyton's high expectations. Peyton is a man who has really high expectations for himself and for those around him. Fortuantly, I've never seen this manifest itself in a unhealthy way, but we've had conversations about making sure to find a balance with our children, espesially in the context of our sensitive child. We were talking about the things I often joke about on here and in life- doing cloth diapers, buying fair trade, ect. I think sometimes, I've complained in jest, and while those things have started out as activities and issues he was passionate about, I've never felt like they were burdens he put on me.

This transitioned into his expectations about NYC and would he be able to postpone or even relinquish his dream for my sake, were I to ask him to.

Honestly? I can't say for sure. Because I've never asked him to. And, barring something extreme, I will never ask him to.

Here's the thing-- when we got married, I honestly think me asking him to give up on this (not NYC specifically), but dreaming in general, would have been akin to him telling me he had changed his mind about having children. It was that central to who he was. And at that point, I think he was still adjusting to life with a family. If I'm honest, I really don't think he necessarily thought he would get married/have a family. And I think he was okay with that. For me on the other hand...that's sometimes hard to process. I mean, I know he'd *never* change his life now. But getting married and having kids have always been so central to who I am, it's weird to know I married a man who was different from me in that way. But also kind of cool, because you know, I was cool enough/sweet enough/pretty enough to woo him ;)

Now. That said, he's obviously in a different place. [But that was the place we were in when I made a (very serious) commitment to do this thing anyway, even with young children.] I know without a doubt in my heart if he thought this would be harmful or unhealthy or destructive for our family, he would let it go in a heartbeat. For example, if he wasn't a pharmacist (or another comparable job) and we couldn't realistically find a safe place to life up there, he'd let it go for the sake of me and the children even though he'd probably still do if he was a single guy. But we'd probably still find an urban area to live in, just where the cost of living was less. Or if he thought I couldn't handle it from an anxiety stand point, I know he'd let it go. My grandmother passed away right before our wedding and I was in such a deep state of grief and anxiety that I told him I literally did not think I could leave my family to go out of the country for our honeymoon. Peyton was so tender and full of grace and even though he had planned and paid for the trip, he told me that I didn't have to. We went and it was fine, but him giving me that assurance meant the world.

All that to say, I married him knowing full well what an integral part of him this is. And sometimes, I think he's making the bigger sacrifice by committing to me that we won't live this life indefinitely. I've said before that I'm living my dream by staying at home with the children and I want him to live his, but I get how to some people those are vastly different sorts of dreams. At the same time, both are so connected to who we are and how we've always envisioned our lives. I think probably a better example of asking Peyton to give this up would be him asking me to give up writing (not just blogging, but writing in any venue- even just for myself). It would be so, so hard for me to let that die, even for him. Similarly, I just couldn't ask him to change such a big part of himself.

And, really, I wouldn't want to change him. This is who I fell in love with. When he gets new crazy ideas (the latest is hiking the Appalacian Trial), I just feel like I need to go there with him. I know many (maybe most?) men would not go there with me as far as my anxiety the way he does. He realized long ago that saying "that's irrational" just felt very dismissive to me and now he helps me process through things. I feel like I owe him the same courtesy with his dreams and desires, even though that's such a different thing.

Also, I'm just to the point where I trust him so much (it wasn't always that way). I know he's not reckless and selfish (as Ash pointed out that she knew he wasn't) and at the end of the day if he asks something of me, I desperately want to do it. And because I know he cares so much about the kids and me and would never ask us to do something harmful (though he may, um does, ask us to do something hard), I trust him so completely.

Lastly, I think one reason I know I can commit to this is because of how well Peyton serves others, specifically in this case me and the children. I mentioned that I knew I'd miss having a library so close and he told me that we could add that to our list of housing priorities. I know he'll probably do the bulk of the grocery shopping in the city (as he does now). I've mentioned that I hated the idea of having only his Apple laptop and he told me he'd figure out a way to ship or move the desktop.

I think my friends were also really concerned about how I'd be successful with two really young kids in the city and that's another thing. I'm just going to have to set my standards low at first. If all we can do when Peyton is at work is go to the park and that library, that's fine. We'll do the "big" stuff when he can help us navigate it.

One reason I'm thankful I married Peyton is because of the ways he challenges me and helps me grow. When I was in college, I lived in Tahoe City for a month and it was one of the hardest times in my life, but also one of the most growing. I'm so thankful for that experience even though it all but broke me. And I'm so excited and hopeful for a similar experience (as far as learning to not depend on my family, or even myself, but the Lord), but I cannot tell you the absolute peace that it brings me that I get to do it with Peyton by my side.

This post seems *so* rambly to me, but really I made it as coherent as I could. It feels good to share him with y'all :)