I got married for all the wrong reasons. I was 19, and for the first time in my life I was in a relationship with someone who was brilliantly smart, incredibly handsome, strong, and kind. I was new to the Mormon church, and he was a newly returned missionary when I met him. I was in awe of how much he knew about the gospel, and how all that knowledge seemed so effortless. It was just a part of who he was.
I remember the first time I saw Kullervo—it was at church and I thought he must have been the cutest boy ever. I said that I’d marry him someday. It took my first semester of college pining after him before I went home for Christmas break and decided to give up and not waste all of college with a crush on a boy who wasn’t interested. When I came back to school, though, he asked me out. And I said yes.
The next few months were a whirlwind. We spent all of our time together that we could. His family was so nice to me and made me feel like a part of the family. He was still so smart and so lovely—total eye and brain candy for me. Of course I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him!
But… what did I know? I was just barely out of high school! I was in a new town, in a new church, in a whole new life. We got married that summer—as soon as the church would let us marry in the temple—and everything was wonderful. Then the fighting started. We were young, neither of us had had a lot of relationships, and we had to sort of figure it all out on our own. We fought about everything—whether to get butter or margarine at the grocery store, how often we should be having sex (it turns out that five times a day just isn’t sustainable no matter how attracted you are to each other!), what we did in our spare time. I think some people close to us were certain that we wouldn’t still be married after the first year was up.
Over the years, some of those disagreements we have resolved (we buy butter and margarine), and some still plague us (we always fight about driving directions). More important than what we fight about is how we fight. Being married to Conner taught me how to resolve a conflict. Growing up, when I would fight with my sisters, we would be mad at each other until we made each other laugh… and then we would never talk about what we’d fought about. I don’t know that I’ve ever resolved a fight with my sisters—we’ve just moved on. So we probably would still fight about the same issues as we did when we were kids. (Luckily, I rarely fight with my sisters because we live too far for it to matter too much, and they’re both awesome. I never fight with my brother because he’s not the fighting kind.)
So we survived the first year, and our marriage was strong. We moved—first to Tallahassee, and then to New York. We struggled to get pregnant… and then pregnancy surprised us when we were no longer trying (and at a fairly inconvenient time, I might add). We were sure that having a baby would change everything, but we really just had no idea. We had been married for five years, and we were so used to being just us. Having that change was a really difficult adjustment, and one we had to make again when we had Hazel. And we weathered those storms and came out on top.
We are almost nine years into this, and I couldn’t be happier. I think we got married when we were unreasonably young, and for all the wrong reasons, and without a clue of how to do this. But I also think that we persevered and learned a lot as we went. We work really hard to communicate when things aren’t okay, and when they are, and to support each other in our crazy dreams and wishes and feelings. And it works for us.