You know how you hear jokes all the time about how unhappy married people are? You know, they never have sex, they resent each other, they always have to ask permission to do the things they want to do, and usually the answer is no. It’s all nicely summed up in one phrase: “the ol’ ball and chain”. Yeah, that was totally my goal when we got married – to weigh my wife down and never let her do anything. Hi honey! You’re not allowed to do anything fun!
If you hadn’t noticed from pretty much every marriage related post I’ve written, we really tried to go into this thing with our eyes wide open. Here’s what we want in our marriage, here’s what we don’t want. We know it’ll be hard sometimes, but we’ll work through it. All that good stuff.
Funny, though, how things sneak up on you. Two months in, we realize: we are not giving enough.
In the course of planning our wedding and preparing to start our marriage, I remember reading somewhere that one key to a successful marriage is always giving more than you expect to receive. If both people are trying to give more than they’re expecting to get, every gift is a pleasant surprise, something to be grateful for, something to appreciate.
Well, Turtle and I sort of, ahem, forgot that for a bit there. I think that part of it has been the chaos of the last week: Thanksgiving, petsitting, quitting my job, struggling to make things work every day. We’re both a little frazzled and this comes out in, “Can you walk the dog? Can you clean up the cat poop? Why didn’t you give the kitten water? Will you take out the trash?” And even more than asking each other to do chores, there’s a lot of “Can you get me a drink? Can you turn on that light for me? Can you do something I could do just as easily but I’m lazy and comfortable and don’t want to get up?”
Here’s what we should be doing: trying to do it for each other. If I want a drink, I should get my drink and offer her one, and she should do the same. Look! We’ll both feel taken care of, we’ll both feel like we are actively taking care of something important (our relationship), and everyone will have drinks! Fun solution!
And so, I suppose, reality kicks in. As much as we can prepare for marriage and make all those promises about always loving and caring for each other, sometimes we are going to slip up. Yes, we knew that already, but we hadn’t gone and done it yet (while married, anyway). Also, as Turtle pointed out, this is far from the big things we will have to deal with during our marriage: this is smaller than finances, than death, than hard family things; but it is also the small things that make us strong enough to handle those big things.
So here’s to a happy Sunday. Here’s to starting a new week and turning over a new leaf – or just a leaf that we sort of forgot about and fell behind the couch and we only just found it again. Here’s to giving more.
What relationship bumps caught you by surprise, how did you find them, and what are you doing about them?