Overrated

The idea of an Overrated Things List came up in my blogroll today, and as I was thinking about it, I came up with the following.

  1. marriage
  2. sex
  3. love
  4. home ownership

And then I realized that was an unpleasant list to be making.  It’s probably due to the fact that this morning, it suddenly seemed inevitable that I would separate from my husband one day.  I both want it and don’t want it.  And of course the wanting part scares me.  I don’t have anyone to talk to about it.  I mean if I needed to, I have a short list of people who would probably be willing to listen and offer advice.  But I’m a little scared of that, too.

See, my husband and I had plans.  I thought we were in sympathy with  each other.  And then last week, the youth pastor he works under was fired.  And my husband feels like he might want to be a youth pastor.  I guess I was mostly surprised that he was thinking about dropping his dream career in favor of working for the church.  Not only that, but he was thinking we would stay in Southern California even though we were planning to leave. 

And I shudder to think about how much our lives would further diverge if he were to become a pastor and I go on being a godless heathen.  He even worries if the church would “let him” be pastor if his wife is an atheist.  I told him that would be their loss, and I meant it.  My husband is a very good public speaker and he’s good with the kids. 

I probably don’t need to take it so seriously; I’m pretty sure he’s not going to quit school and be a pastor.  But it makes me so weary, all this needing to keep up with another person and make all these constant adjustments so that one of you doesn’t outpace or outgrow the other.  I wonder what it would be like to just live as a free person. 

I guess that’s what I get for marrying when I was 18.  Do you think it will help if I separate for a little while?  It’s not that I think it’s morally wrong to separate or even divorce.  I just don’t know if I am willing to risk my life as I know it for a life I don’t even have.  What’s the saying about people who want everything but aren’t willing to risk anything?  I’ll only live once, after all. 

But then again, I guess “you only live once” is both encouragement and deterrent to risking.

Most of all, I don’t want to be the sort of person who goes through life daydreaming and longing for a different life but never takes action to get it.

And after that, I don’t want to be the person who dreams of leaving her life, but never tells anyone, and then just up and leave one day leaving everyone confused. 

I can’t live like that.  It seems dishonest, both of them.  So… what to do?

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4 Responses to “Overrated”

  1. atimetorend Says:

    I won’t offer any advice because I don’t know either of you, I feel a bit awkward even commenting, but good luck, I hope things work out well for you. Sorry to hear of your troubles.

    We start with big plans for our lives and naively think those plans will all come to pass. Maybe that’s part of what troubles you about marrying young, but I don’t think it should. People hope the best for marriage at any age they marry. And people as you know change their minds about things, change the direction their lives are going.

  2. teambaby Says:

    I’m not sure what to tell you either. Separation might be a good way for you both to see whether you like life on your own more than together. Just make sure you agree on the terms of it; otherwise it’s more of a breakup.

    The way you describe it, it doesn’t sound like a clear-cut situation, in either the “this marriage is disintegrating” or “these people are clearly lifelong soulmates” direction. It might actually be good for you guys to split up so you’d both be free to pursue your increasingly diverging paths. Or it might be good to stay together and temper your philosophies to somehow coalesce.

    I think another overrated item that should go on your list is “living free.” At least for me, isolation and living alone haven’t benefited me. But community and love don’t necessarily come from a married spouse either.

    At this point I’m just adding to the confusion; sorry!

    • notreallyalice Says:

      I guess when I say “Living free” I don’t mean living alone, I mean living without the expectations and limitations of a Christian marriage. That is tougher on me than I ever realized, until recently. But you are right that the grass always seems greener 🙂 And you are right that it is not clear-cut.

      Thank you both for your comments.

  3. divorce « Not really Alice Says:

    […] know what you’re thinking: “Alice, holy shit!  You were just thinking about separating and now you’re talking about divorce??  Did your husband hit you, or […]

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