by Debora M. Coty
I once overheard an enlightening conversation between two women, one sweetly ripened (read: silver-haired) and the other, a young newlywed.
The venerable woman mentioned that she and her husband were celebrating their thirtieth wedding anniversary. After marinating on that thought for a long moment, the twenty-something gal shook her head and asked, “How do you do that? How do you like somebody for thirty years?”
With a wink and wisdom born of a thousand makeup kisses, the elder replied, “Well, you may not. You may only like him for fifteen years, but you love him for thirty.”
After a gentle laugh, she continued. “You see, the longer you’re married, you and your husband grow weird in the same way – a way nobody else understands. It’s that weirdness that binds you together.”
I’d never heard it described quite that way, but the truth resonated with me. Weird isn’t always bad. Weird can be good. Weird is often why we fall in love over and over again – with the same person. Weird is superglue in a relationship.
Take my husband’s weirdness, for example. (I, of course, have no weirdness of my own to report.) I’m the first to sing Chuck’s praises for all the chores he performs around the house – vacuuming, scrubbing stains out of carpets, making beds, washing dishes … lots and lots of dishes. Some of which land in the dishwasher but most he stacks in the dish drainer.
And this is where the weird comes in.
What is it with men and competition? It’s like a contest with him, a world championship to see how many plates, glasses, pots, and pans he can amass into a monstrous lurching mountain before the whole thing avalanches.
It used to really tick me off, this Mount Everest obsession of his. At first I’d sweetly point out that although he was oh, so very thoughtful to wash the dishes, it would be even more helpful if he put them away. Nope.
So I progressed to unsuccessful nagging. Then resentment and seething. How does he think they’re going to get into the cupboard – the dish fairy? Don’t I have enough to do? Why does he have to play with everything?
My tiny seed of anger sprouted into Jack’s sky-high beanstalk.
Then one day nothing changed, but everything changed. My dear friend Rita lost her husband to cancer at age fifty-seven.
As I stood in my kitchen, weeping with Rita on the phone, my eyes landed on that ridiculous mound of kitchenware in the dish drainer. Somehow this time it didn’t needle me. I knew Rita would give anything to have her husband’s weird, maddening, endearing habits back for just one minute.
Inside me, something hard broke into a hundred little pieces.
And from that moment on, although the looming precipice threatening to bury the kitchen didn’t change, my perspective did. I was able to release my annoyance. Let it go. To my amazement, I can even smile at Mount Saint Chuck now.
The thing I’ve learned is, we can’t let emotional gaps widen to the point that they form unbridgeable chasms, splitting asunder that sacred union we promised to cherish and protect until death do us part. Life’s just too short.
Sisters, let’s embrace the weirdness.
And treasure this wise biblical advice from Ecclesiastes 9:9 (MSG): “Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day of your precarious life. Each day is God’s gift … Make the most of each one!”
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: : Debora M Coty is an AWSA Certified Writing Coach, speaker, and award-winning author of over 40 books, including the bestselling Too Blessed to be Stressed series, with nearly 2 million books sold in multiple languages worldwide. Deb lives, loves and laughs in central Florida with her weirdly wonderful husband Chuck and five precocious grandpals nearby. Join Deb’s fun-loving community of BFFs (Blessed Friends Forever) at www.DeboraCoty.com .
Join the conversation: What has given you the perspective you need to fully embrace your spouse and their quirks?