The Life of Bon: Married Church

Monday, October 17, 2011

Married Church

I always thought singles wards were quite strange.

That was before I started going to a married ward.

When Hubs and I first got married, we lived in an apartment a couple blocks south of the university mall.  We moved the second that contract was up.  Mostly because it was haunted, but there were other reasons, too. 

Our first ward was a family ward.  The regular kind.  Our new ward, however, is strictly a married couple ward.  Because our apartment complex has only one room apartments, it means that there are no babies to speak of.  As soon as a couple gets pregnant, they high-tail it to an apartment with two bedrooms.  The result of that is that our complex has a lot of just married couples. And I mean just married. Every week new couples stand up and introduce themselves. "Hi, we're the Millers! And we've been married for four days!!!" Followed by shrieks of glee. Hubs and I said our "I do's" seven months ago and we're practically veterans over there.

Testimony meeting in singles' wards was always questionable.  Undoubtedly we would hear lots of tales of dates gone bad, healing after a break-up, and "I have the best roommates ever!"  Now, in a married ward, the testimonials have changed to learning how to put up with living with someone of the opposite sex, healing after an argument, and "I have the best wife ever!  No... but seriously I do.  You might think your wife is cool, but mine is the best."  (Well, shoot.  I wasn't aware it was a contest, but if it is, sign me up!  I'm all about a little healthy competition, after all!) 

Yesterday was ward conference- meaning that the third hour, relief society and elders quorum, was combined.  In singles' wards, this always meant one thing.

Chastity talk.

"You can't do this.  This is okay.  If you feel this, then you've gone too far.  Don't ever find yourself in a situation like this.  If you have questions talk to the bishop."  Etc. Etc.

When they announced yesterday that Relief Society and Elders' Quorum would be combined, I assumed it would be the chastity talk again.  After six years in a singles' ward, my brain has been programmed to think so.  I sat down next to Hubs and began to doodle, waiting for the "don't do this" and the "don't do this."

"Today we are going to talk about how to love your spouse more and how to have a happy, healthy marriage."

Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold the phone.  This wasn't a chastity talk at all!  This seemed quite the reverse, in fact.  Instead of talking about ways not to love each other, they were talking about ways to love each other.  I listened intently and glanced excitedly over at Hubs.  He rolled his eyes.  "I can already tell this isn't going to be good," he whispered.  He has a bad attitude sometimes, please excuse him.

"All couples must hold hands or have their arms around each other for this lesson," the speaker commanded.  Did I hear right?  Had my ears deceived me?  We were being commanded to cuddle during this lesson?  I could get used to this.

"Hubs!  You heard the lady!  Hold my hand!"

Hubs absent mindedly placed his hand into my lap.  He obviously wasn't as into this interactive lesson as I was.

"Now," said the speaker, "It is obvious you got married because you love each other so much.  When you got married you thought your spouse was the best person in the world.  Sometimes after a little while of marriage, those feelings can wear off and we let annoyances get in our way.  Right now I want you to talk to your spousees about ideas for how we can always maintain the feelings of love."

I turned anxiously to Hubs.  "Ok, what do you think?"
Hubs was turned, talking to our friend, Crazy A.
"We're supposed to be doing this activity."
"Bon, give me a break, I'm trying to plan games for tonight.  Don't you want to play games later?"
"Yes, I do, but I like this lesson and I want to talk about---"
Hubs was talking to CrazyA again, "So what time could you guys come over if we played Settlers?"
"Oh, forget it, I'll just talk to myself!" 
That seemed to get his attention. "Okay, I'm sorry.  What are we supposed to be doing?"
I explained.
By that time the free chat session was over and the lady was already giving the answer, "The best way to always see the good in your spouse is to remember that they are children of God."
"We need to always remember that we are children of God."  Hubs echoed.
"You just copied the speaker lady!"
"No I didn't.  I came up with that on my own!" Hubs claimed.  But he knew he was caught.  I could see it in his eye.

"Okay for our next activity, make sure you are sitting very close to each other."

Pouting because Hubs wouldn't participate, I inched further away.  But Hubs just pulled me close.  I looked around the room.  All couples were sitting uncomfortably close to each other.

"Now for this next activity I want you to whisper in your spouse's ear one thing that you love about him or her."

Hubs turned to me, smiled boyishly, and said, "You go first, sweetie."  I melted.  I can never stay mad for long.  All around us, couples were giggling, whispering, and grabbing each other's thighs.  At this point I wasn't even sure if I was still in church or at Copper Hill's homecoming dance.

"I like how hard you work and how motivated and determined you are," I whispered romantically.
"I like how funny and clever you are," Hubs whispered back. 
Then he gave me a kiss.
Wow!  A kiss in church!  It's not every day that that happens!

And let me tell you, we weren't the only ones to get this idea.  All around us, couples were puckering up.

"Next..." the speaker tried to break up the hanky panky from the podium.  Or was he trying to encourage it?  At this point I was lost.  "I am going to teach you a secret sign you can use with your spouse whenever you want."

Secret signs?!  Oh my!  Quality of church has certainly gone up since my single days!  Heaven knows I never learned any secret signs when I was flying solo to church.

"Hold hands with your spouse."

We obeyed.

"I want you to squeeze three times.  This sign means I love you.  Anytime you can't actually say those words, you can squeeze instead.  When you're in a crowded room, this sign will do the trick.  One squeeze for each word.  I.  Love.  You."

"Now practice."

We practiced.  I can be very obedient when it comes to cuddling in church. 

Hubs squooze once, but before he could finish, I cut him off and started squeezing.  I was a little anxious, I suppose.  Then he squooze four times real fast and darn near broke my hand.  I squooze back as many times as I could and as fast as I could.  It was harder than it looked,  but finally we got the squeeze down.  Three squeezes.  One code message.

"Wasn't that fun?"  the speaker asked?  "Yes, it was!" I agreed heartily.

"Now give each other a long hug and a kiss and think of how lucky you are to have this person to share your life with." The speaker concluded.

You don't have to tell me twice! 
We hugged. We kissed. We thought.

All around us it was starting to get a little hot and heavy. I felt like I needed to give everyone a little privacy. Couples were practically sitting in each other's laps, embracing, smooching, the whole nine yards.

But I'll tell you this much.  It sure beats the heck out of the chastity talk.

Hubs and I going to church back in the single ward days.  We've graduated- meaning no more chastity talks for us, suckers!

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