Relationship Status: It's Complicated!

I guess Grandmothers have influenced me quite a bit in my life. While my own grandma taught me the value of hunting for wildflowers, a roommate I loved at UCLA passed on some "wisdom" from her grandma about LOVE that I never forgot: "We should fall in love as many times as we can in our lives, because whenever we allow ourselves to love, we learn something important about ourselves."

Well thanks, roommate's granny, and here's the rub 20 years down the line - Relationship Status: It's Complicated.

My complicated status is changing lately, however, and it's time I can and should say it outloud. After 8 years of separation, my Dutch husband and I are both aimed in the direction of a reconciliation. Yes, with each other. As of about a month now we are embracing this decision with baby steps, with the joint hope of eventually getting the whole family functionally under one roof again.

E will be moving from Ethiopia back to Brussels by early December - possibly earlier - to take up a new post at the EU headquarters. For the first year, he will live in an apartment he's just bought that is within walking distance to where the boys and I live. The boys will have easy access to his place whenever they want, and we will also start spending some family and couple time together. At the end of the first year, we'll see if we're ready - or not yet ready - for another step.

Of course, there are still lingering ties to N (see: The Truth about WHY I am leaving Uganda). He has been talking about a visit soon. N knows what's going on with E - they actually get along very well - and says it's a direction he can only support, all things considered. Nonetheless, N and I both know that our relationship needs a level of closure that it's not yet achieved. Ah... the heartbreak of it all. But I feel strong.

I believe in marriage, and I know what kind of life I want for the boys and I. I know why I first fell in love with their father - the resilient, adaptive Beaver in our family's totem pole that he is. It feels right to be working in a respectful partnership with my husband again, on developing a plan to get us through to the end of this thing called life. We did have some big challenges in the past, but in our recent conversations it seems as though the biggest of those issues can be put behind us now. I am hopeful, and happy that things are moving in this direction.

So please keep us in your prayers now and again as we try once more during this coming year to get our marriage back on track... Oh - and please pray for us too that we successfully avoid getting pregnant again this time! Thank you 5 year old Ben for inspiring that prudence in me. The last time Ben's dad and I tried again, his conception was the only lasting good that came of it. But getting pregnant also introduced a whole bunch of other issues that I don't want us to have to deal with this time around, so I'm taking measures (may the Pope forgive me.)

Next time: Sometimes I write about my personal experiences, beliefs and value systems knowing full well that I might challenge other people's value systems. Sometimes there are stories I share that I think one of the "tribes" in my wwworld might get more than others - but there are so many diverse tribes I've been a part of in this life so far. Which one are you from?