Around 4:30pm each day, I blast the music in our kitchen, sing into a spoon or other kitchen utensil, and cook dinner. I do this until I see my husband walking up the steps, and then I put my spoon away and turn off the music. (Unless Francesca Battistelli’s Breakup Song is finishing).
This is marriage.
I used to think a good marriage meant we were constantly trying to fuse into one “same” person. I thought in an ideal marriage we would eventually have twin personalities. I thought all things that bothered the other person had to be cast aside forever.
I was wrong. We both tried to live this way the first 6 or 7 years of marriage. But we realized we were not being true to ourselves. We had no individuality left and the “sameness” was not enjoyable. We found ourselves in a weird gray area…I was not myself and he was not himself.
We realized the people we fell in love with were not these “gray” people, and trying to be the same had taken away the quirks we loved about each other. I love Kevin’s tidiness, the way his mind thinks, and his calmness, to name a few.
So these past two years of our marriage we identified we both needed to be ourselves. I needed to run, be loud, be slightly messy, and be silly sometimes. Kevin needed more order, quiet, physical challenges, and guy time.
We needed to regain ourselves but still honor each other. Being yourself in marriage is not a free pass to disregard the other person’s preferences. There has to be balance. Hence the spoon singing until Kevin gets home. He does not want music blasting the minute he walks in, but I gotta sing. So I sing during the day and honor his preference when he gets home.
Here are a few other examples of shared and individual preferences we both identified and discussed:
Person not exercising in the morning makes breakfast (shared)Clear counters and surfaces at night (shared)
Magnets on the fridge are okay (Me…love my collection of magnets)
Using different coffee mug each morning to express mood. (Me…obviously)
All bags hang on door knobs, not on floor (Kevin)￼
Kids only wrestle with Daddy (Shared…I cannot handle my daughter’s double knee drops to the stomach)
I am by no means “messy,” but when you are married to someone whose favorite image is Steve Jobs sitting in a room with no furniture–you will always appear a little messy. My goal is to pickup before 6pm. It doesn’t always happen, but I do my best and Kevin respects that.
When I honor his desire for order and quiet he feels loved and can return love to me. He can make breakfast and take the kids places to give me a break because he knows we are a team.
Likewise, if I get singing time, writing time, and running time I can support him by making lunches, cleaning, budgeting, encouraging, etc.
Marriage is not competitive but collaborative.
We both continue finding ways to be ourselves and ways to support the other person.
We no longer strive to be the same. We love the passions we do share (cooking, running, outdoors), but we also support the passions we do not share.
Our marriage is no longer gray but vibrant. I am glad we discovered that being different could actually bring us closer together.