Appreciation is something we see too little of in marriages. It seems over time we come to accept our spouse for who they are and take their special gifts and contributions for granted.
I appreciate that my wife is not just like me. I’ll admit, sometimes it frustrates me when she doesn’t come to the same logical conclusion that I do when faced with an important situation. I can’t fathom why she doesn’t see the obvious way forward that I do. But oddly, she feels the exact same way about me. Ideally, we would seek to truly understand the other’s perspective so that we can compare it to our own. If we can stay objective, we might come to see that there is an alternative we’d not first considered. Realistically, one or the other of us tires of the debate and simply gives in.
I appreciate that my wife has different skills than I do, though sometimes that can drive me nuts. I’m a big picture person, your proverbial dreamer. She is far more structured and practical in her thinking. I think of a time when we decided to clean out an extra bedroom that had turned into long term storage. When we walked in to begin the task, I was immediately overwhelmed with the breadth and the depth of the work in front of us. Truth be told, if on my own, I would have quickly closed the door and sought out a project in another part of the house. But not my wife. With sheer determination, she climbed over and through the piles and boxes and went straight for the closet. In no time at all, she was taking every item out of the closet, sorting, tossing and reorganizing the space. From my perspective, this was near lunacy. With the entire room in the state it was in, why would she focus on such an insignificant area? After an hour of work, that closet was perfect. So we climbed back over the boxes and piles and left the room for another day.
She will quickly point out that my proclivities can drive her mad as well. We decided that we needed to repaint the trim (baseboards, door frames, etc) around the house. Most of them had become scuffed or bare over the twenty years that we’d lived in our home. I went to the store, bought the paint (and a cool little plastic paint bucket that came with disposable liners) and came home to tackle this project. I couldn’t decide where to start. At the front door and work inward? In the upstairs and work down? Maybe in the corner of the hall and work clockwise. After walking through the house multiple times debating where to begin, I finally started painting. The basement window sills – that is the perfect place. I finished there, but decided the light was bad that time of day, so I went upstairs. I painted around the front door (since the light was better). I considered painting the baseboards, but thought my knee was too sore to bend down that much. So I ventured to the mud room where I painted one of the three door frames before I decided to break for dinner.
When she walked by to check on my progress, she noticed a few drips running down the grooves of the frames, and determined that she was better qualified to take on the job from there. The next day as she began, she found herself in a constant state of shaking her head wondering what my logic had been in terms of what I painted and where.
In spite of our collective quirkiness, our marriage works. There are days we drive each other crazy, and there are days we laugh until we cry. I wouldn’t trade her for anyone in the world. She says she might try to trade me in, but fears there’d be no offers. Part of the fun of marriage is having fun and even poking (good natured) fun at one another. I love her quirks, and she loves mine. God brought us together for a reason – even if it might have been to spare two other fine people!.