Friday, September 16, 2011

Married Young, Missing You, and Ex-Mormon Meetings

I married young.  I was VERY young by societal standards.  I was even VERY young by my own standards - even AT THE TIME.  But, by LDS standards, I might have been garnering some pity if I hadn't found myself I a worthy returned missionary man.  I was practically a spinster at (nearly) 21 years of age! My husband, had he served one, would have been returned from a mission for 2 whole years.  People would likely have been starting to worry for him as well - perhaps questioning his testimony or sexuality or worthiness.

I was thinking yesterday about my year in hell at BYU.  Several of my friends and one roommate married during the summer following that year.  I remember the prevailing fantasy thought among the girls women around me was that marriage would certainly be bliss and that marrying an "older man" would make them feel so safe.  He would be so mature and would surely be able to take care of them. Then, I thought about my husband and our early marriage.  He was (almost) two years older than me - 23 and 21. We were of a pretty comparable age difference between a freshly returned missionary (21) and a BYU freshman (19).  But, we each had two years on that fairly typical LDS/BYU pair.  And let me tell you, those two years made a HUGE difference in our maturity levels ***please read sarcasm***.  The reality was that my "older" husband was barely capable of taking care of himself.  He certainly wasn't remotely prepared to support a young wife (and perhaps a baby).  Fortunately, we were both in the safety net of college life and loans and I had found my new religion - birth control.  My how naive the typical young LDS newlyweds are!  It's a wonder to me that they don't all ***hyperbole*** end up miserable, in desperate need of a divorce, and shackled to a life of poverty.  Somehow some of them make it (usually by taking on a mountain of debt while he goes to law/business/med school and she stays home to care for the growing family). 

I often feel that I missed out a bit by marrying young.  We each still had a lot of growing up to do.  We were both still trying to get to know ourselves.  If I were single, I would have had the freedom to sleep around explore my sexuality interests.  Maybe my path would have been completely different.  Please don't get me wrong, I am happy and I love my husband.  Overall, I think we've been able to grow up together nicely.  Maybe growing up together was even beneficial. I can't know.  But, our first DECADE of marriage was certainly difficult, often a battle of personalities and wills.  While my Hubster has been very supportive of my ambitions and (especially!) of my desire to put of having children until we have both completed our PhD's are are reasonably financially stable, he hasn't been particularly emotionally stable.  That may be in part because of his personality and upbringing (he wasn't raised nearly the supportive and accepting manner that I was), but the fact that we were both still trying to grow up, and become and understand our adult selves, definitely contributed.  It was sort of each of us for ourselves.  We could have been more supportive of each other had we not both been struggling to keep our heads above water.  But, isn't what ones 20's are supposed to be all about? Growing pains and self-discovery?

Perhaps young LDS couples don't have that problem since their personalities and goals and lifestyles are already decided for them?

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On another note, I just want to say, I miss you all.  I miss writing here and I miss reading your blogs.  I miss thinking about Mormonism (sick, I know).  But, I had a good committee meeting in April and I finally see the light at the end of this grad school tunnel.  My experiments are working (!!!) and I should be able to wrap up completely within the next school year (I'm walking - either across a commencement stage or out of Harvard - by June).  So, I've been busy, but in a really good way.  I have no idea what is next for me, career wise, but it MUST be something that leaves me more time to stew over my LDS upbringing have fun and remember the normal human being I used to be (and raise a puppy and perhaps a baby or two).

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On another another note. Are any of you going to the Exmormon Conference this year?  I really wanted to go, but it's not to be more me this year.  I want to go when I can take a week or so off and spend the extra days with my brother in Park City. That would help make the airfare more justifiable and will also keep me in my brother's good graces.  I think he would be terribly hurt if I came to Utah and didn't spend a bunch of time with him.  I know there are other meetings, some regional, through all of the exmo boards and communities, but I don't know where/when they are or how well attended they are.  I would like to go to Sunstone one of these years (anyone go to that) but I would be more interested in going to a meeting or conference that is really for ex-mormons, than the mixed bag of ex-mormons, former mormons, new order mormons, cafeteria mormons, faithful mormons, and downright fundamentalist/fully orthodox mormons that is Sunstone.  I really want to meet my peers in person.  So, if any of you plan to attend any retreats/meetings/conferences, please keep me in the loop.

Much love,
Amy

3 comments:

  1. Amy, sorry you're not going to the ex-Mormon conference this year. We're a long way away from Mass, but we have monthly exmormon meetings in San Francisco. If you're ever here, look us up on postmormon.org. Congrats on getting toward the end of your schooling!

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  2. I laughed when you referred to BYU as your year in hell. I can relate.

    I don't get out to many exmo gatherings these days but next time you're in Park City I'm sure we could wrastle up some local exmos and meet for lunch/appetizers/drinks/dinner whatever somewhere.

    Sounds like school is going great! I love seeing that light at the end of the tunnel.

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  3. Donna - I'm bummed, but I'll start planning now for next year. I am occasionally in the Sacramento area and now my close friend is in the bay area so I'll definitely check the postmormon.org group next time I am going to be there (probably around Christmas). Thanks!

    Dissenter - Did you stay at BYU? I couldn't tough it out. I was so bored with classes and people. Oh, and the misogyny.

    I am planning to be in Park City visiting my brother around Christmas time. I'll drop you a note. Holiday's are busy for everyone, but maybe some exmos would appreciate a break from all of the big religious/family holiday stuff! I probably will! Thanks!

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