To the young marrieds,
Calvin and I are the furthest thing from a perfect couple. We disagree about so much, from risks we want to take in the future, to the taste of peanut butter. As he loves the taste of the peanut paste that sticks to the roof of your mouth all too easily, I enjoy thinking about doing life anywhere else in the years down the road. As I hate the chalky taste of ground up peanuts, he works himself into a scared state when thinking about taking a big step into a risk like moving far away, despite how far into the future it might be. The point is, we both have our own ideas, and our stubborn personalities can get in the way of finding common ground… that’s when we know it’s time to calm down, and take a step back from our arguments, instead focusing on seeing things in each others perspective.
The best advice I’ve ever come across in helping me be a better spouse was simple: don’t play the victim. Putting it another way, don’t act like your husband is out to get you when you don’t see things eye to eye. Don’t pity yourself because of the way your spouse thinks differently than you. Don’t think of your differing opinions as a reason to stay angry at the one you’ve chosen to stand beside for the rest of your life. It’s a simple idea, but one that’s completely changed my ideas of who I am as the wife of a man who sees through different eyes. Instead of feeling unloved and unappreciated when he doesn’t want to read a book that’s had a huge impact on me, or when he doesn’t compliment my music, I have to tell myself that I am not a victim just because he has different interests than my own. Just because he doesn’t see the point of reading every blog I’ve written, it doesn’t mean he sees me as worthless, just that he has other priorities.
Calvin has told me many times that I am the most confusing person he’s ever met. When you know someone well, you like to believe that it automatically makes you an expert on their behaviour, but that’s not always the case. There are moments every so often that will catch you off guard… ones when you think your spouse will do one thing, but instead you witness the opposite. It happens to everyone, and is just part of a relationship. To know someone doesn’t mean they won’t surprise you, it in fact means the opposite… It’s often the ones you know well that can shock you the most. Have you ever witnessed a stranger doing something out of character? No. Why? Because it takes knowing someone’s character, to be surprised by it’s change.
Whatever it is that’s making you doubt who you married, or what you’re doing still sticking around, you can’t let that doubt destroy the life you’ve made with each other. It is so easy to walk away and give up when things get difficult, but before you raise that white flag of surrender to the enemy named divorce, ask yourself the question of what this doubt is. Is the doubt of your marriage based on the idea you have while playing the victim in the relationship? Or are you ACTUALLY a victim? And of so, a victim of what? Of a spouse who clearly doesn’t care about you? Or of the monster you’ve created your spouse to be because it’s easier to give up on someone when you think of them as the problem? Marriage is hard, but another way of looking at it is this: marriage is a beautiful, messy, wonderful, chaotic, blessing of a partnership that, if held onto, can give you someone to do all of life with… adventuring, risking, settling, or simply doing all of life alongside someone who really sees you as you are, and loves you anyway.
That idea alone can make even the most ugly of situations worth the fight of keeping a marriage intact.