Marriage and Time
In the early days of writing this book (I began just a month or so after Lynsey and I were sealed), it was a great temptation to set aside these silly essays on a bygone time and just write about what I was up to now. But I knew people weren’t nearly as likely to be interested in the me of the here and now as they were likely to want to hear about everything Nauvoo. And so I plodded on. Sometimes I even had to put the manuscript down for weeks—almost months—at a time. The primary reason? I suspect marriage.
Marriage is, as has been often said, a wonderful institution. And a distracting one. Not as distracting as engagement, perhaps, with its prolonged nightly separations and sense of quiet desperation, but distracting all the same. It has taken me some time to learn how to manage marriage and a book simultaneously. It’s not easy. Yet everyone’s getting married!
Three months and three days after flying into LAX, I was married. But I wasn’t the first. Several Nauvooans beat me, and invitations were common fare for the first year home. But ah, flime ties, and now we often don’t even hear of a wedding until months later, although, as of this writing, two years have not passed. But what did we expect? Like an afternoon nap, relationships take half as long to “get over” as they originally lasted. Or so it is said. Given that assumption, it should only have taken a month and a half to forever forget. But friendships are not flings and friends are not dreams, and “getting over it” is sometimes a bad idea. Flime may tie, people may fall out of touch, but lessons learned and friends made are eternally impacting.
The passage of time is the human experience; aging is life. The present moves into the past before we can become aware of it, and the years pass by quicker all the time. Suddenly I’m twenty-five; suddenly I’m dead.
Which brings us back to marriage. Death has been overcome by the miracle of the Resurrection, and eternal marriage is made possible through means too wonderful to fathom, but our faith testifies of its truthfulness. There are many ways to look at marriage. A blessed love. A prison.1 The beginning of godhood. Sour grapes.
We are now in a section called Farewell Nauvoo, a reference to the final song of The Nauvoo Rendezvous that recalls the Saints’ expulsion. Throughout these hundreds of pages we’ve touched now and again on the heritage we’ve inherited from these pioneers. And now, in Farewell Nauvoo, how can we but pale? The final moving on of the JSA student body was nothing compared to the pioneers suffering and dying on the plains of Iowa. Our melancholy is hollow compared to their mourning. My happiness in marriage may seem trivial when contrasted with burying child after child in the frozen ground.
But really, it is not. In fact, they are the same story. And our success is as vital to our inheritors’ future as the pioneers’ success was for ours. No battles have ended; no wars are won. We still have marching to do. Which brings us, once again, back to marriage. Nauvoo was the site of this dispensation’s first sealing. And now the Lord’s House rises again, triumphant, out of the flames and rubble. What will happen next? The story of Nauvoo is a story of perpetuity—the perpetuity of God’s gifts to us. And the story of marriage is the story of us trying to match God’s gifts as best we can for another. God gave me me, and I give me to you, my love.
My understanding is not yet whole, but God is whole and my marriage, through Him, may become whole; and that gives me a place to start.
Thanks for revisiting Nauvoo with me. I would love to hear your thoughts.