Thursday, July 19, 2012

15 Things {Day One}

No matter how closely aligned our backgrounds,
marriage unearths unexpected differences.

Because Greg and I were raised with similar traditions, religious affiliations, and family structures, it seemed that combining our lives and hearts into one would be a seamless transition.  Not that we were ignorant of the changes that marriage brings, but similarity in background should make things easier, right? And I believe that it did.

However, those of you that are married know that twin backgrounds does not guarantee cloned spouses!  One of the differences that was unexpected for me was the fact that my new husband was a homebody!  His mom had told me that as a child he preferred home to anywhere and anything, but I didn't see that throughout our 18 month courtship, so it didn't cross my mind that this would again surface once we said "I Do."

As a preface to this difference, I'm an extrovert, and Greg's naturally an introvert (if you know him now, you'd never guess).  While we were dating, Greg had a 4-6 hour commute to see me, depending on whether he came to my college campus or my home.  Obviously, we didn't have our own place, so if we wanted to be alone time we would go to the mall, the park, a restaurant, or an event.  Those things were all right in line with my personality, and he would tell you that he enjoyed those times, but really...anytime we could be together was a good time (can anyone say Bible college dating rules???).

Once we were married, I went to school all morning and worked 2nd shift.  He worked mostly 1st shift, and cooked and cleaned while I was at work.  When I would come in sometime after 9 p.m., the hardwood floors were shining (let me tell you about the Pledge experiment), the rooms were tidy, and dinner was served.  And none of this was on a "honey-do" list.  It was out of the goodness of his lil newbie husband heart.  :-)

Nine months later I graduated, we moved, and he had a much more demanding job which included 12+ hour days, and lots of driving, and lifting.  Considering the fact that he was only 13 months off of major back surgery and had an easier job during those 13 months, this was quite an adjustment for him.  

Looking back, I smile at the confusion I felt inside when, after coming home from my teaching job each day, I would {with great energy and exuberance} exclaim, "Are you ready to go?"  His responses weren't as energetic, but he would quickly shower and we would go.  And go. And go.
I wanted to go to everything.  And I just couldn't for the life of me understand why he didn't!   

This was a battle that I mostly fought inside my own mind.  We did have a few arguments about my go-go mentality (lol), but over the course of about 5-8 years I really had to adjust my ideas of normal, and he had to stretch his comfort zone. 

15 years later, it's intriguing to see how our perspectives have changed.  It's less about "him" or "me," and more about "us."  Unfortunately, more than half of all marriages dissolve before they work through the stuff that gets them to the best years of marriage. 

Every couple has differences.  Most of them don't come to light until after the wedding, and most of them wouldn't be deal breakers anyway.  How we handle the differences makes all the difference in the cohesiveness of our marriage.  Greg could have chosen to sit at home, and I could have continued to go, go, go.  But that decision would have drawn us apart and made us more self-centered. 

If you are struggling with marital differences, step back and do a little introspection.  See how God has created you and your spouse as unique individuals and blended your lives to help you balance one another.  Accept and appreciate what those differences bring to your relationship, and work toward a spirit of selfless love.  You'll look back with a smile when you see the progression toward unity and marital satisfaction.
The older I get, the less time I want to spend with
the part of the human race that didn't marry me.
  ~Robert Brault~

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