One thing I’ve come to accept over the years is how often I tend to entertain my inner nostalgia. I love to reminisce and to observe my transition from childhood to adulthood. There are many entertaining, profound, and intriguing facets of this journey we call life and ironically enough, I feel that most of them can be found in the compartments of childhood.
Have you ever just sat down and pondered on how much of whom you are today is a reflection of what you experienced as a child, in both a paramount and humorous way?
One very potent memory I have of being a child was the awe and mystery of tastes. I found great delight in combing tastes for an ultimate hybrid of succulent sustenance. Unfortunately, many of my edible combinations were far shy of being considered succulent. Dirt, powder, bugs, mucus, rain…I tried it all. Despite my previously noted examples, I eventually found several hybrid combinations that I still find alluring to this day. Breakfast sausage and syrup, potatoes and ketchup, the list goes on. The truth is, if the two components are complete opposites but make for a healthy combination, it doesn’t matter how “odd” they seem together.
I find this truth to be tremendously accurate in my own marriage relationship, relationally speaking of course.
If I were to describe my wife and I in color, she would be a midnight blue while I would be neon yellow with mounds of glitter. In other words, we are complete opposites in many ways. She loves silence while silence makes me cringe. She loves to stay in while I love to go out. She is graceful while…well, we won’t go there. I believe you get the point.
During the dating and possibly even engagement period, being complete opposites can be captivating and humorous, but I will be the first to say that in a marriage relationship, they take on a new dynamic. You will often find yourself being pestered by some of the very things that drew you to your mate. In doing so, I have noticed just how subconsciously we try to “fix” or “repair” the other person to be more like us, without stopping to analyze just how awful things would be with a mirror image of us.
You might be totally content and happy with who you are, but if we can allow a moment of honesty, we would all admit that being in a marriage relationship with someone who is exactly like us would be a nightmare to say the least.
All of this to say that underneath the surface of our petty frustrations, there is such a beauty waiting to be discovered in the differences within your spouse.
One of the first times this truth was revealed to me was due to an argument I had with my wife. It must have been something minuscule because I don’t even remember the reason. However, I do remember making her upset and hurt. When I am upset or hurt, I struggle with the tendency to shut off and run away from the source of the problem. I can only imagine that she had every logical reason to do the same in the moment but as I arrived back home, what I saw on the kitchen table pierced through my heart like a million arrows.
She had cooked me dinner and left it out for me.
My instant reaction was “Why would she do this for me? I made her upset.” This is only one of many instances, and although I have a hard time extending grace as easily, this difference has served to break down my heart and teach me how to show grace in ways I was never taught.
So what are the ingredients in your marriage relationship that seem to be incapable? Could it be that if the perspective was altered a bit, perhaps what was once a frustration can now be seen as a blessing? For better or for worse: Remember that this vow is one in which we devoted ourselves to for the rest of our lives.
Make a choice today to be thankful for, to honor, respect, and cherish your spouse even in the areas where they differ from you, for those differences have the full ability to balance you in a way nothing else will.