I was sitting on the couch with my husband the other morning, having coffee as usual, when he came up with a really great topic for my next blog. It was such a great idea, I promised him I would take him up on it.
But then he got nervous and told me he wasn’t seriously suggesting that I write about him.
But I can no longer be held responsible for my actions. The seed has been planted.
[Insert evil laugh.]
I know he might be getting worried about now, but there is no need. After all, this whole blog thing is really more about my journey away from the “house-gotta-be-spotless and kids-gotta-be-perfect” kind of thinking.
And marriage seems to fit right in with that theme.
We have been married now for 26 … no, wait … 27 years. If you think raising kids is a roller coaster, you should try marriage. (I know, I know … I have that flipped around … but you get my point.)
Marriage introduces you to all those secret flaws your significant other managed to keep hidden away while you were dating. My husband didn’t walk up to me one day and say, “Hi, I’m Dan, and I like to throw my dirty socks on the floor. Want to go out sometime?” Of course not! He saved that one for later, when there was no backing out of the deal.
Nor did I go up to him and say, “Hi, I’m Beth, and I am a compulsive cleaner. If you leave important documents lying around, I will throw them away with the junk mail without taking time to sort through them. What time will you pick me up?” No, I didn’t! I chose to wait and surprise him with that one when he was least expecting it. To keep life interesting.
And those are just the little things. For every little thing, there’s a bigger thing waiting for the chance to make itself known.
We don’t do it on purpose. We both have a lot of really great personality traits that drew us to each other in the first place. I like his laid-back attitude; he likes my sense of humor. But neither of us has ever been perfect, and once we signed the marriage license and the lease on our first apartment, we could no longer pretend we were.
But this is not a bad thing.
In fact, it’s one of the most powerful tools God has used to shape us into better people.
Every marriage experiences it, to some degree. The best marriages embrace it and let themselves be chiseled and refined. They become a little bit like the other person over the years, and they are all the wiser for it.
For instance, I have learned that a couple of rogue socks every now and then is a small price to pay for a man that will hold my hand while I wait for biopsy results.
And I have learned things about myself I didn’t know I needed to learn. Dan compares me to our cat because sometimes Nico wants our attention . . . and sometimes he bites our hand because we got too close. (There may be some truth to that. Personally, I’m convinced Dan is more like our dog, who is totally happy as long as there’s food in his bowl and plenty of squirrels in the backyard.)
The point is, we wouldn’t have even realized we needed work if there hadn’t been a little friction, sanding away some of our rougher edges.
Dan likes to say he married up. But I know that’s not true. One of us is not better than the other. We are just two different people who decided to build a life together and who will spend the rest of their lives trying to figure each other out, for better or for worse.
And we are both becoming better in the process.