When my husband and I got married I was not attending church, at all, really. I didn’t feel a loss in this at the time. I still very much considered myself a Christian mainly because I still fully believed the Creed. I had an understanding with God, liked Him a whole lot, we talked every day, many times in fact. I believed in the reality of the Wonderful Counselor. I believed Jesus was who He said He was. I had no trouble with this.
I had issues with churches. I was on the outside and I suppose I kind of liked that. I’d never really been to a Protestant church, being raised Catholic I guess I figured I’d just wander back in when things lined up somehow.
When I met Dave and we started to get serious he asked me point blank what I believed and I told him. He asked what I thought about Jesus and I said, “Um….I like Him?” He persisted, “Yeah, but do you think He was the Son of God?” and I said, laughing (and I meant it) “Duh. Of course.” His last hesitation exposed his Nazarene roots a little, “What do you think about Mary?” I thought about that for a moment, “I like her too.” “Yeah, but do you worship her?” This confused me. I had so little contact with the protestant culture I didn’t realize this was a concern for anyone. “Catholics don’t worship Mary, at least the ones I grew up with didn’t.”
All this served to ease his reservations about asking for my dainty hand in marriage I guess because not long after he did propose and I did accept.
I was a little rebellious and a lot independent at that time. I refused to attend his church the first year of our marriage. He went to a non-denomination “community” church filled with contemporary christian music and held in the gym of a grade school. It wasn’t my bag. I felt that if I were to attend church again it would have to be about more than merely getting married. I’ll grant you, it was an odd position.
Dave’s friends were a little concerned. They were very curious as to how he could choose to marry someone that didn’t come to church with him. Again, this was a strange experience for me. I wasn’t raised with this “unequally yoked” idea driven into my head. I mean, obviously I’d heard the phrase, I just hadn’t heard it with quite the same, um, intensity I suppose.
At any rate, it may have been the introvert in me that needed time to process these new relationships, especially the marriage relationship. I had no intention of being married at 25. I really thought I’d be 30 and a rock star by then. I had big plans for a celebrity romance with Keifer Sutherland. I’d break his heart and he’d be a better person for it in the long run. I had it all put together you see…delusional, but put together.
I did end up hitting church with Dave eventually. I got to know some of his friends, judged them correctly as “very cool” and moved into the “protestant church visiting” part of my religious education.
I never did find my groove there though…and I did try. I wrote and performed songs a couple of times for the churches we attended. I joined the choir at one church we tried. I wrote “skits” for another. I did try. It always felt a little empty for me, though. I know that I got affirmation of my creative work, acceptance of my peers…there were moments of connection with the Holy Spirit, surely, but I felt so much like a fish out of water. It was difficult so I just followed Dave…tried my best to be a part of it all without losing myself.
It’s a different dynamic now, being in the bible belt with a native Chicagoan. The whole “christian protestant” culture offends him. Dave has his own work to do around that. I can’t do it for him and I can’t rush it. I wouldn’t want to except that I’m moving steadily in the direction of Orthodoxy. This feels solid and secure. I wish we were in the same car on this one, I don’t need to be driving but it’d be comforting to know we were together in it. It’s not that I feel I need to “lead” in this. I truly wish NOT to lead…and yet I need to be rooted. The more I read about Orthodoxy, the more I experience the Liturgy and understand the Divine Mysteries the more I know that I am already Orthodox or nearly so. I make it no secret to Dave although I suspect it drives him a little batty at times. This part I can only leave up to God.