Vanessa Gonzalez Kraft tries to balance her traditional Mexican-American cultural heritage and Catholic identity, personified by her grandmother La Lupe, with her roles as a young wife and mother.
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Why Did You Marry Me?
I always pictured my life differently. I’ve always been a simple girl with simple wants. I pictured that we would have a home without a TV, definitely no video games, a big garden out back where we’d grow a lot of our food, chickens for eggs. We’d make everything, our own clothes, our own laundry soap, etc. A pretty hippy existence all in all. My husband has a totally different picture in his head. He envisions a life where we would have most of the new gadgets that come out on the market. He is really interested in new technologies and how they can be integrated into everyday life. How the iPad or the Kindle Fire or smart phones can help us and actually be learning tools for the girls. Whenever a new piece of technology is released, we inevitably have to have a conversation about it and how it would fit into our life.
I’d say this is the hardest part of our marriage, having to blend my idea of life with his idea of life. This is something that a lot of marriages struggle with. When you get married, you’re not the only one calling the shots about your future. You have to include another person with different desires and goals.
We talk about this a lot. We look at our life, try to stretch it and pull at it and take parts out and patch parts together. We have calm conversations about it. We have heated discussions about it. We have screaming fits about it. We have fights about it that leave me seething and stomping around for days. It’s a tough issue that probably will never fully get figured out.
The other night we were having a rather light-hearted argument about technology and Brandon asked, “Why did you marry me? You knew what you were getting into. You knew how much I love all this stuff.” I half-jokingly responded, “Because you just didn’t have that many gadgets back then. They didn’t exist yet.” Then I asked, “Why did you marry me? You knew how much I hate all this stuff.” And he responded, “I knew you were a hippy, I just didn’t think it would affect me.”
This issue was not unknown to us before we got married; we just had no idea how it was going to affect our marriage. We didn’t realize how this one disagreement about technology would affect everything. It affects how we spend our days, it affects how we want to raise our kids, it affects how we spend money. Before we got married we just thought, “Ok, he’ll do it his way and I’ll do it my way and we’ll be able to continue doing what we want.” That couldn’t have been more wrong. We are supposed to be two becoming one, not two walking along side each other living different lives. We didn’t know how much every aspect of our lives would be intertwined. How much compromise we’d have to make. How much we’d have to give.
Really though, even if I knew back then what I know now, I would still have married him. In a heartbeat, I would not have hesitated. Why? Because at our core, we know God has called us to this life and we are committed to it and are willing to work together and compromise. We may be slow to compromise and we may fight changing like the dickens but we try our best to work through it.
The hardest part is trusting Brandon with my future. It’s letting go of the feeling that I always know what is best and if we do it his way everything is going to fall apart. Sometimes I just have to say, “Alright, I don’t agree with you but I trust that you love me and I trust that you would not do anything to hurt this family. I’ve said my piece, you know what I think, but I’m going to defer to you on this one.” And sometimes he has to say that to me. But the point is to struggle with it. To muddle through the messiness of it. To not avoid figuring out life together because you’re tired of the same argument or because you don’t think it’s going anywhere. Figuring out life with your spouse takes a lifetime. That’s why it’s meant for a lifetime.
So why did I marry Brandon? While we seemingly have incompatible ideas about life, we know God has called us to this. God wanted this hippy and this computer geek to work it out. And we know that we have to try to do this with a joyful heart. We can’t move forward with figuring out our life if we are growing resentful that we have to change. I can’t grumble every time he checks his Twitter account (which is often) and he can’t grumble every time I find a new recipe for something we could easily buy at the store (like bread). There is a lot of sacrifice that comes with becoming less of an “I” and more of a “we” but God told us that if we compromise and sacrifice out of love for another, we would grow in it. And we have. Even after all these fights and after seeing my vision for the future change and get picked apart, I do love Brandon more than I did before. I can look up recipes for homemade playdough on his iPod Touch and he can listen to his podcasts while washing dishes with my homemade dish soap. I guess it’s not a bad deal.