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Saturday, September 19, 2009

counter culture shock

My family pretty much talks about everything.

It's true.
There aren't many secrets here.
A few, I am sure, but I guess I wouldn't really know cause well, they are secrets and I'll let them keep. What choice do I have in the matter, anyway?

But what I find strange is the prospect of not talking about something.

What's even stranger is not talking at all.

It's funny, I used to think it would be very romantic to marry somebody from a different country. I especially loved british accents. Drop an h and what can I say, I was a goner.

But then I fell in love with maybe the next best thing, somebody from New England, which was good enough for me.

And then I realized how much hard work it takes to maintain and grow a relationship.

Not start one, mind you; that sort of takes off on its own once you decide you like the look of his blue eyes and the sound of his voice and that he's just enough taller than you are. The fact that he wears berkenstocks can totally be dealt with later.

But maybe I am just speaking for myself.

The thing about a close relationship, one in which two people are meshing into one, is that it's not exactly natural. Not really. There's a lot of you that can loudly protest the meshing. At least it can be that way for me.

And in just one instance, when you are sitting around the dinner table with his kind family and nobody is saying a word; you are about to burst inside with all of the amounts of conversations you want to start but hey, maybe these people like to eat in silence, a concept you've cannot quite grasp--in that one instance, you suddenly find yourself in culture shock.

Even though you married an American.

Even though you both speak English.

Even though you both love the same God.

And then later, when you and his family are all eating eggs.

Eggs unlike you've ever seen before and you ask what makes them different and can hardly believe it when they nonchalantly tell you that they were just zapped in the microwave (!!!) and you want to put down the fork but you don't because this is their normal but all of the sudden you have a very strong feeling that you are not in kansas anymore.

And those are just the little things.

There are others.

Boy, are there others.

Like how to celebrate Christmas. What birthday's look like. How one of you is comfortable with silence while the other is afraid that maybe it means you aren't connecting like you should. Like there's some sort of Great Measuring Stick for Couple's Connectedness and one more minute of this silence is surely going to put us in That Bad Area.

You know, the one that belongs to the couples who go out to eat and spend their time in dreaded silence with only the welcome interruptions of the waiter spouting off the specials and the occasional scrape of fork against knife because they ran out of things to say a long time ago.

Eek.

And then today I read something in a magazine that made me think even more. It was in the letters to the editor section and was in response to an article about how churches are preaching about sex in marriage from the pulpit now.

The woman was incensed and all how dare they intrude and it's none of their business and I don't even feel comfortable talking about sex with my husband, let alone the clergy! and her tirade made me realize a few things:

  • we need to talk about things. maybe even everything. maybe not all of it now, but in time. especially if we want the kind of fulfilling intimacy that a marriage promises.
and
  • she probably doesn't have the best sex-life.
and finally
  • I probably shouldn't be thinking of her sex life. and I definitely shouldn't be judging it. sorry, lady from the letters to the editor section.

I am glad that the church is talking about sex and marriage and relationships. I think we all should be. Not all the time or anything crazy like that. I mean we have to save time for discussing how ridiculous Michael Scott is and really, Stanley? An affair? Come on; so not a good idea.

And I am grateful for somebody who will let me talk. And will, in his time, talk to me. Here's to continuing to talk. Even through the culture shock that still appears from time to time. Even as we're not quite sure what the solution is. Or how, exactly, Christmas morning should proceed.

Or when, hypothetically speaking, one of us hides the other's berkenstocks.

Ahem.

Have any of you ever experienced any culture shock in your relationships? How have you dealt with it? I'd like to know.

64 comments:

beingawesome said...

I find it interesting how Puritanical most of America still is. People who deny the existence of sex in a marriage will have a very unhappy life indeed. As far as I'm concerned, that's one of God's gifts that comes with marriage. I mean here in the extreme bible belt, the mere mention of the s-e-x word stirs up allll kinds of emotions that run the entire gamut. We're human beings, physiologically speaking, it's in *SOME of* our genetic makeup to procreate and to maintain the species..

this could turn into a rant.. but I'll end it there.. sorry for the lack of cohesive thought.

jsizzle said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jessica Latshaw said...

Rob--yes, it is pretty crazy that people have such a hard time talking about sex. I mean, for sure, it's private and all that--but it's also a pretty basic fact of life. I knew a lady that actually "bragged" that her husband had never once seen her naked in all their years of marriage. Can you imagine?!?!

Jsizzle--that is one of my absolute favorite things that we do and I look forward to it every year--even more than the gifts.

Mandy and Jack said...

I can SO relate to the silence. That's how Jack's family is, and I can barely eat with them when they lapse into what is for them comfortable silence (and what is for me a sure indication that I should think, and think HARD of something, anything to say!)

I think our generation is much more comfortable with "taboo" topics, even in the Christian community. Matthew Turner (jesusneedsnewpr.blogspot.com), a Christian author, recently did a "sex week," and I think he got more hits on his blog than any other week with that. Christians (and non-Christians) talking about it, discussing it, what's holy and what's not, what's okay and what's not.

I think it's a good thing to see Christians engaging in this kind of conversation, especially since the world has such a different view of sex than God's.

I can't think of any non-Christian friends who would "convert" if they thought that Christians can't and won't enjoy sex! Let's let them know that within God's parameters, we definitely can! :)

Mom said...

One of the things that my family said before I married Pop was our marriage wouldn't work because we came from 2 different cultures. To me, that was ridiculous. I had loved Bruce from the minute I saw him walking from my dorm and we met on the sidewalk outside the political building. Certainly love would be enough. Well, I didn't realize how hard it is to bring 2 cultures together. The older I get the more I realize I am a Greenwich snob and Bruce is the farmer boy. For instance, yesterday during a very serious appointment when we were counseling, I looked over at him and saw that yes, he was wearing his work pants, stains and all. I felt totally embarrassed and had to retrieve my brain and demand it concentrate on God once again. So decades later, I still have these struggles. Altho' usually I win, thanks to the grace of God!

Jessica Latshaw said...

lol, mom!

and that old adage comes to mind--something about you can take pop out of the farm, but you can take the farm out of pop!!!

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