Thursday, October 14, 2010
Things I've Learned About Marriage
With our wedding date only a little more than four months ago, I barely qualify as "married." However, we've moved twice and spent an extended period in a hotel out-of-state for Britt's job. We've driven thousands of miles as we looked for places to live and lugged all our worldly goods to Lawrenceville, Georgia, and then to Mississippi. We've lived in a casino for twelve days. We've adopted a (third) cat. What followed our wedding was more like a series of intense team-building exercises than a cozy married life. Late nights, hotel laundry, long drives, fast food, homes out of our price range, Penske trucks, new jobs, and airline delays. I never imagined that these would be the words that would best sum up the start of my marriage. As we have (finally) settled into our home, it has been easy to overlook the bad and see the insights I gained in the high stress of the first months.
My most humble advice is to:
1. Serve. People are selfish. I know I am. So when you put two selfish people together, you often don't get a lot of serving. Not to mention, how exactly does one "serve" a husband? It sounds rather abstract and intimidating. I try not to overthink it and instead just do what I know how. I make a point to serve Britt in small ways: fix his coffee in the evenings; hang up his clothes after work; pack up his work in the mornings. My prayer is that my meager attemps will create in me a habit of service that will strengthen our marriage.
2. Relax. I spend a lot of time fixated on small, non-pressing tasks around the house during the evening when Britt is home. What's more important, enjoying my husband's company when he comes home from work, or flurrying around to clean up where he's scattered around his shoes...and keys...and the entire contents of his pockets? Relax, I tell myself. He always gathers them up himself, anyway. (Just not always exactly when I want him to....)
3. Zip it. During frustrating situations (getting lost, being locked out of the house, losing car keys, etc.), I have caused countless problems by just not zipping it. I had to say one more thing. I had to have the last word. And for what? To prove I'm right? To sound smart? I have to ask myself, are those things really valuable when you are dealing with the one you love and when there is a problem to be solved? I have to sometimes fight the mindset that it's "Me vs. Him." In reality, it's the two of us versus whatever issue arises.
4. Take a look in the mirror. For every "flaw" I overlook in Britt, he overlooks at least the same number of imperfections in me. Treating him like a project to complete assumes that I operate from a place of perfection, which I most certainly don't. He treats his car like a dumpster, and he has to hear me whine about it. Neither one of those is very desireable.
I'd say we're pretty even.