As my sweet man and I get ready to celebrate twenty-NINE years of wedded bliss and the occasional miss, I thought I’d dredge up a marriage post I wrote seven years ago (!!) in answer to my dear friend Sarah’s question about some of the lessons we’ve learned from longevity in love. I’ve written lots of posts on this topic, it turns out, but this one felt right for today. If you want more, you can search marriage or relationships in my search bar at the top left of the blog. :o)
And as always, pipe up and chime in with your thoughts and advice in the comments.
I just returned from an anniversary trip with my man. The same man about whom I may once have said didn’t have a romantic bone in his body planned a trip without my help and told me just to keep four days open and pack my bags. Now that’s romantic. This is the kind of thing a girl waits for, longs for. And I know most don’t get. So I write this carefully, not wanting to brag, but to encourage that even the things that seem like were once impossible are simply not. Dreams bigger than what you know to dream are possible when you hand them over to Someone big enough to handle them.
But some things need the right apparel…
Some deep discussions have been happening at my house lately. All of them point to one glaringly obvious truth. We (boys and girls) are just never really going to understand each other. The differences are countless and vast.
It doesn’t mean we can’t coexist and even love each other madly, but it does mean that there are invisible lines drawn that need to be straddled and even hurdled occasionally in order to do life together well.
The stuff that makes us up is just made from different materials. One group is velvet-coated rebar, and the other is more like massive steel beams.
I’m thinking that originally, when we were created, there wasn’t such a chasm of differences between us, but perhaps that whole kick-you-out-of-paradise-curse thing may have shoved the whole night-and-day difference thing into overdrive.
In my opinion, the list of differences can, for the most part, be summed up in two words.
Logic versus emotion.
To demonstrate my point, I’ll use just one aspect. Competition.
This word alone is why I had mostly guy friends until I had a little maturity under my belt.
Guy competition happens every day in any scenario and can involve who can throw rocks farther, who can lift more firewood, or, oddly enough, pee the farthest (?). And even after a fistfight a “Sorry, Dude” and a handshake is all it takes to patch things up. A logical fight with a logical ending.
Girls. Oh, no. We walk into a room and our competitiveness shows in the way we size up every other girl in the room to figure out how we fit in. We take in all the hair, and shoes, and let’s be honest, the shapes of every one else and base our own score on what we see–as if olympic-like judges sit at a table in our minds determining our worth.
And a girl who is feeling especially insecure may decide to wipe out the competition with a word–to wreck a life with a well-placed emotional bullet that no handshake can ever repair.
So, how in the world is marriage supposed to work in this craziness? How do we find the balance across the chasm that divides with the odds stacked high like some Empire State-sized Jenga game?
I took my husband to see Man of Steel for Father’s Day. Amy Adams, a favorite actress of mine, played Lois Lane. For the first two-thirds or so of the movie, she functioned in her cute shoes. You know, the ones with four and a half inch heels. She got carried around by the big guy in her cute shoes and she ran from the bad guy in her cute shoes. She fell in love in those same shoes, but when push came to shove, and her man was in trouble, the girl found herself some combat boots.
See, I’m usually the girl in cute shoes. In fact, these are my favorite pair.
This particular pair hurts my feet like the dickens. Perhaps it’s my Dutch heritage that made me think wooden shoes were a good plan. But, to the consternation of my son who has no idea on earth why a girl would wear something so impractical, I will wear them and quite happily because they are so darn cute.
But there comes a time…
A time when it’s time to put the combat boots on and fight for and alongside the man I married made of steel beams in the only way I know how.
As much as we want to, to act instinctively based on emotion or logic alone will always be unproductive.
Wanna know what I learned? It’s the toughest thing I ever have to do, and most times I fail. Fighting for our marriage, putting on the boots, looks mostly like keeping my mouth shut and letting go of control. Right, wrong, or otherwise, there are times when I need to just back the truck up and let my man lead and watch the ‘S’ on his chest grow to superhero-like proportions.
The only bridge we’ve been given is to consider the other position. To act outside of instinct and consider a different approach. Loving intentionally.
Men, do the opposite of what may come naturally and LOVE!!! Love her! Be willing to lay down your dreams, your ego, your plans–for her. Not that you’ll have to, but love her that much. It’s not a logical issue this time. But, that’s why God made sure to tell you the secret, and how to implement it. Just love her. If you really do it the way you’re supposed to, she’ll follow you to the ends of the earth.
Ladies, don’t react with that emotion that can destroy in a word, or even a look. Put on your boots and fight by standing alongside and praying for him. Make the decision to hold your tongue and let a loving husband lead. Even if you’re darn sure you know better than he does. Be willing to let him make a mistake and correct it, because a humble leader is what we long for, isn’t it? We may think we can do it best, but truthfully, we are the most secure when the weight of the world rests squarely on some steel beams.
It’s never gonna be perfect. But the moments when we sit well in our shoes make it worth it, and make for a much more comfortable journey.
What are some of the major differences you have to hurdle in your marriage or have observed in others’?