By the time this blog post is published, I would have celebrated my tenth wedding anniversary. Naturally, that would make me a certified expert on the topic of relationships and marriage. I can now dole-out wise words about the perfect Happily-Ever-After.
Sure. Absolutely. If I lived in a sitcom where life is always upbeat, arguments are sound bites and one gets out of bed with freshly applied makeup.
I, however, have the distinction of not living in a sitcom. Surprise, surprise!
So, after a decade of saying I do, raising two kidlings, and living on two continents with my family, I’m still learning the ropes -- I still feel like a newbie at this marriage thing, and I still mess up. Routinely.
But when the blog topic "Loving Each Other’s Differences in a Marriage" came up, I felt compelled to write.
The hubbers and I are as different as they come. Not like apples-and-oranges different, or even Mars-and-Venus different . . . More like, he’s from Mars and I’m an apple (well, more of a pear when it comes to fashion guides, but I won’t get too technical).
Physically, we’re worlds apart. Literally, we breathe different qualities of air, the husband being a foot and two inches taller than I am. He’s long and lean. I’m, well . . . I’m not.
He’s a computer engineer; I write blogs. He’s Type A; I try to defy typecasting of any sort. He eats to live; I’m a foodie with a specialization in all things chocolate. He can deliver speeches to large audiences without breaking a sweat; I turn to Jell-O at the thought of speaking into a mic. He likes making polite conversation within defined time and space limits; I like being a social butterfly. He has no qualms about confronting someone who has wronged him; I run from conflict like I’m Usain Bolt.
I told you: Mars and apples. But, over the years, I’ve made some discoveries about relating to my spouse and letting those differences work for us.
Your husband is not your BFF.
I know it’s all Rom-Com to say you married your bestie, and maybe you did. But not everyone’s spouse is created to be their best friend. Life partner? Yes. Best friend who watches the same movies, gives you fashion advice and listens to the minutest details of your cousin’s trip to Europe? Not so much. If his DNA is different from yours, don’t expect him to be that kindred spirit who will want to chat over a cup of coffee. I’m learning that my husband’s way of decompressing is way different from mine, that space is important to him. And, slowly, I’m learning to enjoy my space too.
Your husband is not telepathic.
He cannot divinely discern your needs and expectations. The “If he loves me, he’ll know I need this” deal makes life confusing for your spouse and frustrating for you. Especially if he is wired differently from you. So keep it simple and spell out your needs (and maybe even at which store he can fulfill them!)
Your husband is not your competition.
You and your spouse are meant to complement each other, not compete with each other. You may have very different roles and personalities but you’re both on the same team. Even if the world chooses to value one role over the other, you can choose to believe that you were both created different, yet equal.
Your husband is not the cake.
In my single days I wrote a journal entry asking that the Lord would be my cake. Yeah, it's not exactly Biblical language, but I think God got what I was asking: that I would be fully satisfied in Him first and that my life partner would then be my bonus -- the icing on my cake. When I try to make my husband my God, I put undue stress on him and create expectations that no human can possibly fulfill.
So, after ten years I’m learning to get excited about techie stuff and he’s taking me out for dessert more often. I’m starting to decompress while watching mindless action flicks and he’s learning to give me details about his day when we talk. Our differences seem less glaring and more about balancing each other out. And, while my man may not know the first thing about baking, he’s doing a pretty good job of being the icing on the cake.
Photo Credit : Flickr
Great stuff Sue!
Loved the post! I could visualize Ola and you in each and every line, and Anand and I , almost in every line (except the breathing of the different airs).
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YAAS You Are A Star! . Such humor and insightful comments! A must read for all married couples! Even if they have been married for 40 + years like me!
The "he’s from Mars and I’m an apple" comment makes me laugh! What a funny and true article! 🙂
The "Your husband is not telepathic" concept makes me smile, too. This was something that I realized early on and it helps so much to just state clearly what it is that you need - if you know how to do so 🙂
[…] week, Susan wrote a great post on what to do when you said “I Do” to someone very different than you. It got my wheels turning […]
This is such a brilliant post! Must keep reading this to remind myself of the differences between my husband and I! Thanks for penning this down Susan! 🙂