There’s a little man with a mustache right beside my bed. He hangs out on my nightstand, holding what is left of his baseball bat. He is creepy. His head is way too big for his body. He is a bobble head. I don’t like him at all. He is a New York Yankee named Don Mattingly. When I get around to dusting the furniture, which is less frequently the more children I have, I have to dust that little guy too.
As you might guess, he does not belong to me. He is Eric’s. I don’t even know how long Eric has had that little guy, but I am the one that wants him there on my nightstand. I don’t know what the normal lifespan of a bobble head is, but as long as he can stand there, I am going to let him. And yes, there is a story behind that.
Before Eric and I got married, we went through a pre-marital counseling course with a pastor. In the marriage book we worked through, it asked us what our expectations were about marriage. We both came to the conclusion that we really didn’t have any. I didn’t have a big plan of how I thought things would or should be. Eric felt the same way, so we figured we would pretty much breeze through this adjustment to marriage and learn what to expect as we went.
Well, learn we did. We learned after we were married that apparently, we did have expectations. We just had not realized that beforehand. For instance, Eric expected me to stick to the budget. He expected me to save receipts. I did not expect that. In my mind, receipts were handy for spitting out old gum. My version of a budget was making sure I still had around 20$ left in the bank just to make sure the account stayed open.
I expected Eric to be an American version of Handy Manny. I didn’t realize this was an expectation until the fireplace doors broke. And stayed broken. Or the garbage disposal stopped working and we had to call a plumber.
The longer we were married, the more we realized that we could not be more different. Eric loves to plan things out in detail. He likes to make organized lists and complete tasks in order of importance. I like to plan nothing at all. I like to have my day be a total blank slate and decide what to do at that precise moment. I like to call it freedom.
Eric likes to eat healthy and rarely drinks soda or eats desert. I like to eat whatever I am craving at that moment and up to this point in my life, have consumed more Coca Cola than water. Eric loves sports. I would not notice if the whole world of sports slipped into the abyss.
I could go on and on, but the point is, we are pretty much opposites. Good thing opposites attract, right?
But sometimes in the process of bringing two different lives together there is going to be friction as two people learn to live and function as one. This was really brought to the front several years ago when some friends did our personality profiles. Eric’s strongest areas were my weakest. My strongest were his weakest. Honestly, sometimes those things just clash. He is not as spontaneous as I want him to be and I get irritated. I am not as organized as he wants me to be, and he gets irritated. But at the end of the day, it was helpful to realize that this is not what he is being like. It is who he is. I married an incredibly organized, detail oriented, self-disciplined man. It helped for him to understand that this is not what I was being like to annoy him. It was who I was. He married a people oriented, spontaneous, kind of disorganized woman. And that is wonderful. God had a purpose for uniting two extremely different people.
I think that remembering that your spouse is exactly who God made them to be, and learning to appreciate that is a huge blessing for your marriage. I need to let my husband be exactly who he is, made in God’s image, not in the image I had planned for him. And he lets me be exactly who I am, and has written CocaCola into the monthly budget. ; ) And so I will keep on dusting Don Mattingly, and I’ll remember that my husband, so different from myself, is a gift to be treasured for exactly the person he is.
This is precious, Amber. I love how you said this isn’t what he’s like, it’s who he is. If we could accept that about our loved ones AND ourselves, we would be much better off.