The White Pages

On Being Married February 25, 2013

Filed under: From My Heart — perfectlywhite @ 3:11 am
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We have been married for almost five years. We have been together for almost ten years. And sometimes I have to remind myself how much I. Love. Caleb. It’s easy to forget. To not feel it. Some days are feel it days. Other days are choose it days.

Other things I’m learning from marriage:

You can be in a room together. Or. You can be. In a room. Together.

Sometimes I think I have Caleb figured out. And then I realize I don’t. People are complex and must be invested in fully to be learned and best loved. One layer understood reveals a whole new layer to understand. This takes conscious effort.

He can’t complete me. It really is a romantic notion, but it has never once helped a situation when I expect Caleb to heal my deep hurts or be the answer to my discontentment.

That being said, life makes more sense when we walk it together. “I can’t fix it for you, only God can do that. But, I will hold your hand and walk through it with you.” -17 year old Caleb White

Holding hands is important.

It’s always a good idea to voice the deep things you know about someone else. Being known is one of the more beautiful aspects of marriage.

The words “fair” and “marriage” are not helpful together. Sometimes it’s not fair. That’s what it means to give yourself.

For example, sometimes you have date plans. And sometimes you forget to put gas in the car even though your husband reminded you to, and sometimes you run out of gas with the kids in the car because you didn’t listen to your husband. Then your date plans are “ruined” and you are dramatic and say, “Date night is officially not happening!” And sometimes your husband is gentle and kind (even though if it was him that forgot the gas you would have been…not so gentle and kind) and reminds you from grace that it’s not the what that matters for date night, it’s the who. And sometimes you are glad that your husband is so very different than you, even though you sometimes get frustrated with him for it. This is all hypothetical, of course.

What are the important relationships in your life teaching you?

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Who wants a fun date idea? January 30, 2013

Filed under: From My Home — perfectlywhite @ 2:17 am
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Caleb’s cousin sent us a Facebook message Saturday saying she was coming over to babysit our kids. Well, if you really have to, I guess we could find something to do ;). Thanks, Anna!

Now that we live in a city, we date at Target a lot. Fast fact, we also started dating at Target. Romance at its finest. We were 15 and had done the whole, “Hey! Lets go play with the bouncy balls at Target!” thing. That may have been one of the more rebellious things we did in high school. Anyways, we were walking from the store to somebody’s car (whose? we couldn’t even drive…) and I think Caleb said something like, “So I don’t know how to say this but, [long awkward adolescent dating pause] will you go out with me?”. And I said, “Yes, for the rest of our lives. Let’s get married in 5 years and start having kids right away!” Not really. I think I just gave him a big hug and said, “Sure, ok!” I love the look on his face when he recalls that hug. End fast fact.

Saturday night we went to Target and bought $5 pants. Then we went to a coffee shop and spent $10 on lattes. Caleb likes to play games, and I like feeling smart, so we picked up the coffee shop’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire (junior edition). We made up our own rules because that’s more fun, and 60 minutes, 5 phone-a-friends (we have some friends with impressive deductive reasoning skills), an ask the audience (two unsuspecting fellow coffee drinkers), and too much latte later, and I am a junior millionaire. Caleb lost at $300 because of the question who are Hoot, Righty, and Garcia?  The answer is Beanie Babies, not a jazz trio. I won with the question what is a calliope, which I probably could have answered on my own if Caleb had pronounced it right. I got ahold of Pastor Dave as my phone-a-friend, and he knew the answer with no options and a mispronunciation. He can have 5%. Thank you’s also go out to Susan, Jamie, Kristi, and Jared for their insight on zoology, recess games, Greek mythology, and comic books. I was up until 2 am.

If you’d like a fun date idea, we suggest playing Who Wants to be a Millionaire at a coffee shop. It was one of the most fun dates we’ve had in a long time. We laughed a ton, got out of our comfort zones a bit, and learned some useless trivia. Also, I learned that I should not play the adult edition. I realize not everyone has access to Who Wants to be a Millionaire Junior Edition, but you could add a creative element and make your own. We will probably do this.

 

“I learned to slow down, and he learned to speed up!” August 13, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — perfectlywhite @ 5:31 pm
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These are wise words of compromise from a dear family member – it was her advice as I explained how Caleb and I have been learning to work together. I mean, we’ve been together for almost 7 years, been married for over a year – but we’ve never had to work together before. I take that back. We wrote a paper together last semester, for the one class we had together in college. Basically, I ended up writing the first half, he wrote the second. How’s that for avoiding cooperation?

It’s been our hope that we would be able to work together – in ministry or otherwise – for a long time. In theory, and most often in practice :), we make a really great team. We balance each other out in a lot of ways. But we are finding that said balance is not always completely even. We are currently going through a balancing act of sorts – taking a little weight from this side, adding it to the other – oh wait – that was too much, take a little bit back, take it back! I do things head on – quickly, efficiently, NOW – let’s just get it done. I also have 104 different avenues of thought intersecting in my brain at any given moment, can plan out an entire week without writing it down, and always know what little things need to get done if I have any downtime. I’m a global thinker and an idea person – and they come pouring out at random. Caleb works slowly, deliberately, and thoughtfully. He has a reason for doing what he’s doing, and he wants to make sure that thing gets completely done before he goes onto the next thing. There’s one avenue of thought and it’s very thorough. He doesn’t think 7 weeks into the future as I do, but concentrates on the moment. Things must be written down, organized, and walked through, step by step. He is a detail thinker – he starts with the small things and works up to the big picture.

So often lately I’ve been so frustrated with the S-L-O-W pace at which he does things (did that really need to take you two hours?!) and he’s been left with a spinning head and bruised ego as I whiz past him to do something my way – just to get it done. We’ve had a series of come to Jesus moments, learning to see the strengths in our differences and to appreciate the unique gifts we each bring to our relationship and to ministry. But oh, how easy it would be to continue on in our separate little worlds and never stop to really notice – really see – one another.

 

Loneliness vs. Solitude January 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — perfectlywhite @ 3:23 am
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“A lonely person has no inner time nor inner rest to wait and listen…But in solitude we can pay attention to our inner self.”

I recently read a Henry Nouwen book called Reaching Out, and it came at the perfect time!  Ever since I had to quit my job at the bakery decorating cakes in order to go to chapel and therefore return to college, I have been at home – a lot – by myself.  You can ask just about anyone who knows me (my mother in particular would have a lot to say!) and they would tell you that I am not good at being alone.  As a child I constantly had to have somene to play with, which means that basically I was annoying  -and really bossy, but that’s beside the point.  In high school and early college I tried to keep myself very busy so that I wasn’t ever by myself.  Because alone means lonely and lonely is a crappy feeling.  However, I not-so-quickly learned that I am not a typical American student that can juggle ten or twenty or tw0-hundred activities at once.  I crashed.  A few times.  Now I am much more careful with my time and with committing to activities, and I spend much more time at home.  Alone.  Feeling lonely.   (Sidenote: I’m not sure which I prefer – busy to the point of crazy or lonely to the point of crazy – different means, same end!)

I don’t think I am alone in my desire to stay busy in order to avoid my loneliness.  This is actually an epidemic in our culture.  We will do anything to avoid silence, solitude, and the feeling of being alone.  We look to activities and people and relationships and things and food and money and television for fulfillment of our lonely feelings and end up distracted but still alone.   It ends up that even being married with two great families and wonderful friends, I continue to feel lonely.

Here’s the thing – I think so many marriages and friendships and relationships fail because one or both parties are looking to the other and emotionally screaming – Help me!  Take away my loneliness!  Fill me up!  Fix my hurt!  And when the other person does not meet these desires, anger and resentment and disappointment ensue and the relationship fails.  So often I pressure Caleb to entertain me, to take away my desperate feelings, and to fill me up emotionally.  Whenever this happens we end up arguing and angry and frusterated because these are all things he can’t do for me, nor me for him.  That’s not our purpose. 

Nouwen’s book – back to where I started – talks about reaching out to self, others, and God.  Though it often sounds romanticized or even “new agey”, solitude is an incredibly Biblical principle and a necessary (though really hard to grasp) spiritual discipline.  The basis of the whole book is that in order to reach out to self, others, and God, we must first make the transition from feeling loneliness (dejected by the awareness of being alone) to understanding spiritual solitude “of the heart” (being “able to perceive and understand this world from a quiet inner center”).  It follows that we must first feel our loneliness and get through (not around or under or across from) the desolation in order to truly understand that we are not alone.  It is here that God so often makes Himself known and it becomes possible to reach a place where connection with the Spirit of God becomes natural (“pray without ceasing”) and where our time alone becomes quiet, peaceful, and fulfilling instead of dull, painstaking, and intolerable.   

“Solitude does not pull us away from our fellow human beings but instead makes real fellowship possible.”   I am learning that once I release the veneer of control gained from using people to fulfill my needs, I can instead see them as little pieces of God, each person with a different gift to share.  Someday, when I am fully able to understand this, it will leave those around me feeling free to be fully themselves without fear of measuring up, pleasing, or fixing my emotional hurts.  As my wise husband said at the age of 17, “I can’t fix it for you Kari, but  I can hold your hand through it.”  That is the purpose of relationship – it is a vehicle of love, an extra gift out of the abundance of the fulfilling grace of God, an icing on top of the already whole, perfect, and delicious cake.  Fellowship is engrained in the character of God.  We don’t need it to take away our loneliness, but it enriches our understanding of who God is and how he loves.

 

Our Dirty Laundry October 2, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — perfectlywhite @ 6:39 pm
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If you would have asked me before we were married what we would argue about most after we were married, I would have told you time.  I am a HUGE quality time person, it is how I feel loved, how I connect with God, how I connect with people.  When we were engaged, we argued all the time – we call it our “learning how to have conflict period”, though this probably started about a year before we got engaged.  What we mostly argued about was how much time we were – or rather weren’t – spending together.  Mostly it was me.  Probably because I’m much more confrontational – and by much more I mean Caleb will do anything for anybody to avoid conflict.  Except the dishes. 

The last thing I thought we would argue about is cleaning.  Neither one of us are neat freaks – I mean, I prefer organized, but I can handle it if things are a little unorganized.  I can’t handle dirty, and clutter makes me anxious, but by no means does our apartment have to be spotless or perfect.  Once Caleb starts cleaning, the man can’t stop, and he would also prefer things clean, but often doesn’t notice when they aren’t.  So, much to my surprise, the thing that brings up the most conflict in this apartment lately (almost 4 months from the “I do’s”) is CLEANING.  Who cleaned what last and who’s turn is it now – I made dinner so it’s only fair for you to do the dishes.  Well, I did the dishes last time and the time before (dishes will be a theme, we both HATE doing them) so it’s your turn tonight.  I always do the laundry, so can’t you just do the dishes?    Seriously, we can’t find anything more important to fight about.  Why is it that the everyday, nit picky little things spark incredible disagreements?