thoughts on my marriage (dangerous topic)

My husband and I are approaching our 4th year of marriage; Colin will also be turning 26 next month. Being out of class and having ample time to contemplate life, my thoughts have turned to the ever-evolving entity that is Colin Smith.

I know that most women probably think that their husband is a one-of-a-kind guy (I mean, I know each individual is unique), but I really do believe that if they were to look into a window of my life with Colin for a week they might reconsider the complexities they deem that their husband possesses.

I always thought I would end up with the heavy-set, Monday-night-football watching kind of man, but instead I ended up loving a longhaired, school-bus-renovating, emotional rollercoaster of a guy. What happened?!

Colin and I grew up as “friends” (but not really because I would have considered myself to be much “cooler” than him) in the high school youth group at Rolling Hills Community Church. He was popular, in that “I’m a funny and yet deep, soulful, musician” kind of way. I was so self obsessed and living a double life and had no room to be interested in such a skinny, strange, farting guy. In college everything kind of shifted. I had definitely been humbled to a degree that left me believing that NO guy would ever really look at me, and Colin was a little *cough, cough* more mature. We saw each other in a new way, fell in love with what we saw, and then BAM we were married 12 months later.

The first year we spent living across the world (literally) in Sydney, Australia. We were “living the dream” spending about 14 hours a day at Hillsong Church attending class, doing our ministries, and then, when everyone else was going home at 9 or 10pm, we would stay and work, cleaning the ENORMOUS building. I was mostly on toilet duty. Yes, so glamorous. I think that year was so incredibly character building for me though because I was never in the spotlight, I didn’t have my parents to run to whenever things were tough, and mostly I discovered God in a new way, right alongside my new husband.

The second year of marriage was spent pouring our lives into the students in our old youth group at Rolling Hills Community Church. Colin was hired on an interim basis and worked together with our old youth pastor Joel Dombrow and the amazing Elisa McClurken. We loved the kids there, spent many tireless hours working to improve the ministry and it all peaked when the entire group of 300+ students and leaders went on a “summer camp” to Mississippi to rebuild homes and schools after hurricane Katrina. Colin and I learned so much during our time there. I also discovered that Colin is probably one of the most creative people I’ve ever come across personally. The ideas that he came up with and actually implemented were phenomenal. I gained a new respect for him.

Year three was hell. The staff in the youth group had some major changes and in the end Colin wasn’t “the right fit” for where they were headed. The rejection was so personal to Colin. When your work is your ministry and you’re not given clear reasons for being let go it can leave you mystified, aimless and bitter. It tore me up to watch my once dedicated, fearless husband become introverted, I couldn’t get him to express his feelings to me, and I was embarrassed by what I supposed other people were saying about us. I took up a defensive, mother-hen type of role in Colin’s life. In many ways I was less like a wife and more like a body guard, fending off people’s judgments and comments and allowing Colin to grieve alone. Eventually one tires of this kind of lifestyle…

This past year has been one of revival for us. I realized my fault in becoming a defender rather then a comforter and I guess a challenger to push Colin out the door and into what God has next for him. I’ve discovered that Colin doesn’t need me to do anything other then to put God first, be obedient to God’s calling on my life, and to love him the way that God loves him. A kind of love that doesn’t enable but stretches, bringing out the best in him. I must be patient as I wait on the Holy Spirit to do the work rather then me.

I love Colin more now then I ever have. He works so hard to put me in school and to make me happy. He doesn’t always do everything I ask (ie Cutting the hair!) and he is not easily manipulated, but at least I’ve figured that out early on and won’t waste my energy! We’re poor, we’re not looking to purchase a home right now as may of our married friends are and we are years away from ever having children, but I am learning to be content with where we’re at. We are on a different course then the masses and that is ok. Colin continues to surprise me in the way that he loves and believes in me, he really does adore my family, and although he might not be the same man I married almost four years ago, I am deeply committed to him and chose to love him each day regardless of which mood he’s in (trust me there are many sides of Colin…) or how he’s treating me. If you lined up all the men in the world, tall/short, fat/skinny, longhaired/shorthaired, cliché/unique, I would choose him every time.