Thursday, February 12, 2009
Me and Mr. Wonderful - Installment #2
Yesterday I posted my first installment of the story of Me and Mr. Wonderful for the Valentine's Carnival happening over at We Are That Family. If you would like to participate or simply read a little bit about other's love stories, just click on the SWAK Valentine's Carnival button.
Now that you know how MW got his name, (if you don't - read yesterdays post) I thought I'd share a little bit more about what makes us tick as a couple. I previously mentioned that he is not perfect. Nor am I for that matter. But, and that's a BIG but, we're perfect for each other. I don't believe that there is such a thing as a perfect marriage. Since I am such a Sharpie, I developed this conclusion on the basis that I don't believe that there are perfect people. Having said that, though, I think marriage rocks! I'm sure that every marriage is different because every couple is different. So, keep in mind that the things I'm about to share are things that work for us.
Both of us came into this marriage with the full knowledge and recognition that this deal was 'till death do us part' - and neither of us was going to be doing time for homicide! Before we ever said our vows we declared that D-I-V-O-R-C-E would never, ever, ever be a part of our vocabulary. And it hasn't been. I think that one decision alone severely alters the way you deal with one another. It's like, "Hey we're stuck together so we better figure out a way to work this minor difference out." There really aren't many things that are as big of a problem as they may seem like in the heat of the moment.
We also remind ourselves whenever necessary that WE ARE ON THE SAME TEAM. There is nothing worth breaking up the team. Even (sometimes especially) the "little wonderfuls" in our lives. When you take 2 very different people and throw them together and say something like, "Now have a ball!" - there is bound to be some adjustments that need to be made. Learning to live with, consider and respect someone other than yourself doesn't automatically happen. That's where the whole team concept works for us. We realized that my areas of weakness were his areas of strength and vice versa. On a team, you don't want every member to have the same areas of expertise. It benefits everyone involved if each persons strengths are allowed to shine. So, we look at our differences as complimentary instead of competitive.
Also, every person has buttons that can be pushed. Oh, you know what yours are. And you know what your spouses are, too! We decided pretty quickly that it wasn't a good idea to push each others buttons. Although, sometimes it was very tempting in the beginning! You know, sometimes when you're ticked off and worked up you want him to be, too. Be honest, now!
We also worked at communicating with each other. I would think I was being really plain about what I was trying to convey, when in all actuality, I was still pretty much beating around the bush. I've had to learn to be much more direct than I even thought I should be. Most of the time my little signals just weren't getting through. I also remember another instance early on in our marriage. I would come home from work after a frustrating day and I would tell MW the maddening things that happened. He would then proceed to tell me what I should do or should have done about it. He was always trying to "fix it". That made me even more frustrated. One day I finally told him, "I don't NEED you to FIX my problem! I just NEED you to let me vent!" He tells me that's one of the best things I've ever told him. He's a man. Men are "fixers". We want "listeners". And then - if we want them to "fix" it, we'll let them know!
Every marriage goes through storms, or fires as others might say. We've had more than our fair share. But it's what we DO during those times that determines the outcome and joy we experience in our marriage. Do we let those times drive a wedge between us? Or do we let them forge us together into something so strong it cannot be broken?
To break it down - these are the few key principles that we have learned to adhere to. a) D-I-V-O-R-C-E is not an option, b) remembering and reminding each other when necessary that we are on the same team, c) don't push each other's buttons, d) learning to communicate with each other, e) And this one is really the most important one, keeping Christ at the center of our relationship. He is the one who has taught us how to navigate through this wonderful adventure I like to call "marriage" after all. It was all his big idea to begin with!
It's funny now because there is no effort involved in keeping our marriage healthy. It runs like a well oiled machine. We have actually gotten to the place where we DO read each other. We don't have to say a word. A look or a gesture will often say it all. We love each other. He thinks about my needs and desires. I think about his. It works beautifully that way because we both end up extremely fulfilled. And it's not a burden, either. It's a joy. It pleases me to please MW. It pleases MW to please me. We each get so much by giving. Even our struggles don't seem like struggles any more. We have weathered a lot of storms together through the past decade and a half and have become expert navigators. We both know that no matter what punches life throws our way, we've got somebody in our corner. That, my friend, is a beautiful gift.