Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween and Marriage

My husband and I dated for a short time before we were engaged, however our engagement was one for the books: We were engaged April of 1997 and married May of 2002. Most people assume it too me all that time to get him to walk down the aisle, when actually it was the complete opposite.

My husband would have married me the day he put the engagement ring on my finger, however I wasn't completely ready for marriage. I knew he was the one that I was going to marry, however I knew that I was just too young for that step at the age of nineteen! All my life I had imagined that being at least 23 was the right time. There's not a specific reason as to why 23 rather than 22, it's just rationale that I put together at some point in my life.

My husband and I come from nasty divorces, and for the most part neither of us had healthy relationships with our fathers. The most important factor in getting married was that we try not repeat our parents' marriages. We both agreed that divorce would be a last resort to a failing marriage. We agreed that we would do counseling and do whatever it took to keep our family together. If the worst was to happen we also agreed that the children came first and our differences would be set aside. I know it's one thing to say it when you're relationship is healthy, but we've both lived the worst case scenerio and really believe that we need to our best to keep that world out of our family.

In talking about that we also had quite a few other things to get out of the way. We both wanted to have children, but I think people forget to discuss how they will raise their children. I didn't want to get a few years into a marriage and find surprises!

I grew up in a recovering Catholic household. My parents divorced when I was four and my mother remarried seven years later. In that time we periodically went to Sunday school and basically went to church for holidays. When she remarried we actually attended Sunday school every Sunday until we were confirmed in 9th grade.

Jason grew up in an extreme Christian household. When he was seven his parets divorced and many family members say it had to do with his mom "finding the Lord." His father refused to go along with her Born Again crowd and eventually she chose the church over her husband. My husband went to Christian School until his mom couldn't afford to pay the tuition. Public school was a completely different world! Jason has never Trick-or-Treated ...because that was "Celebrating a Peagen Holiday," he was told. He was allowed to participate in the public school's parties, but beyond that he was forbidden to recognize the day.

The Halloween thing really baffled me. Over the years Jason and I discussed it and though he found the church he grew up in to be a bunch of hooey, he still held onto the Halloween beliefs. I'm not one to tear someone down for their beliefs, but I'm not afraid to question their beliefs. I know the history surrounding Halloween and understand the Christian attitude towards the specktical, but Halloween isn't about that anymore than the Easter Bunny being apart of the crucification of Christ. Halloween is another Hallmark Holiday! Children get to dress up and get to go door to door for candy. The spooky things are in fun!

Jason was dead set that his children would not trick-or-Treat. I was dead set on the fact that I could not marry someone that selectively picked the rules of a church he no longer attends! I wouldn't have even dated him if he was apart of that church, mainly because our belief systems wouldn't meshed....so I wouldn't exactly marry one! It's not that Halloween is all that important to me, it's the fact that I don't believe it's a bad thing and is about fun!

Jason and I talked this subject to death. I refused to step down from my position, and basically said that I couldn't marry him if he was going to pick and chose his beliefs from that church. I know it sounds harsh, but I do not compromise my beliefs! My final word on the matter was No Halloween? Then there's no Easter Bunny or Santa. In the end we came to an agreement: Halloween would not be banned, and the only stipulation was that the kids could not be dressed as ghosts, goblins, witches, etc. It was a healthy compromise.

This is MacKenzy's third Halloween and you would never know that Jason was once totally against the day. The first year I bought her a little Strawberry outfit, but then he insisted on buying her a 2nd costume; a dalmation. Last year I bought her the cutest Rooster costume at Old Navy. Jason loved it just as much as I did. Neither years did we really take her Trick-or-Treating. She was too young to understand it all. This year its a whole new world.

This year she's Elmo. Not my first pick in the costume department, but my mom found it and wanted to buy it for her. In the last few weeks she's been head over heals for Dora. Had I known I would have sought out a Dora costume. We went to a kid Halloween party this past Saturday. When we walked into the party a little girl was dressed as Dora and MacKenzy went nuts! I think she really thought the girl was the real Dora. When the little girl turned around MacKenzy screamed, "Backpack!" She was so excited!

I have never really decorated for Halloween; I decorate for Fall. A few weeks ago we had Jason's grandmother over for dinner and she brought a couple of her own decorations fearing that we would not decorate for MacKenzy. I waited for Jason to refuse them, but instead he was almost like a kid! He put them up immediately and seemed excited about them- How odd. Then last Thursday I came home from work to see him decorating the outside of the house with cob-webs and black lights. He had bought a strobe light, a fog machine, and black lights for all of the outside lighting. I asked him, "Who are you and what have you done with the guy that thought Halloween was such a horrible thing?"

He just smiled and said, "I thought it would be fun."


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