Here it is, the final installment of my Life Is Not What I Expected observations in honor of the book giveaway, This is Not How I Thought It Would Be, by Kristin Maschka. If you haven’t commented yet, you need to get on it – tomorrow is the day I let the ruffians pick a winner and you won’t be eligible if you don’t comment!
And, for tonight, here they are:
THREE THINGS I DID NOT EXPECT ABOUT MARRIAGE
I would sometimes give up my ability to reason. Lizard and I have been exploring the world of gun ownership. We really enjoy shooting and, now that he has his gun, it’s time for me to get my own. Last night we went on a Man Date where we shopped for guns, camping gear, and got Stella’s windshield replaced. (Exciting, times, huh? I know you’re jealous!)
There I was at the glass gun counter, holding different types of guns and listening to the salesman tell me their features. The words, that salesman had so many words! I stopped trying to make sense of them once I saw Lizard was listening intently, so when the salesman stopped talking and asked me for a response to his pitch I said:
“I’m sure that means something.” Then I looked at Lizard and waited for him to tell me what I thought.
Who am I? That is NOT something I expected to EVER do… I also don’t take out the trash or do home maintenance projects anymore.
Hairballs. Admittedly, I create the majority of hair ball depositories in our household. I have curly hair and when I shower I pull out fistfuls – add in the natural molting after pregnancy and it’s not uncommon for me to have enough hair in the drain to weave a small bathmat on a daily basis.
BUT, I was not expecting to be scooping up little flecks of whiskers from my spouse! Our sink is littered with hair sprouts from his facial foliage on a regular basis. And he’s not even a particularly hairy man!
River Monsters. Before being married I would not EVER consider watching a show about the world’s largest amphibian predators or panning for gold in Alaska. Yet, here I am, preparing to celebrate my seventh year of marriage, and I can not only tell you about Senior and Juniors’ acrimonious drama on American Choppers, I know that the Wizard is on the prowl for king crab in the northern fishing waters on Deadliest Catch.
To be fair, Lizard has also been subjected to plenty of estrogen-centered programming. Give him a chance and he can talk proficiently on why Jason and Melissa didn’t work out on the Bachelor and how exhausting it must be to train at the Rock with Payson when Lauren is being such a twit. Not to mention his support as I worked through the divorce process with Jon and Kate!
Being Married Is Awesome, but it’s really hard, too. I’ve been married (and had friends married) long enough to know the crash from fairytale marriage into reality marriage can be abrupt and vicious.
Because I work with college students and see them embark on their lifelong partnerships I also regularly see the disillusionment coming from realizing your Mr. or Mrs. Perfect comes with canker sores and smelly feet. Not to mention the difficulties if home sweet home is populated with pornography addictions, compulsive spending habits, or sexual expectation differences (to name just a few typical hotspots).
Here are a few things that have been helpful in real life:
1. Pray. It seems so simple. But pray for your spouse. Pray constantly. Pray not only that they would shape up and start doing what you need them to do, but also that you would be the person they want to sleep with every evening. Allow God to do a wonder in your marriage – He is consistent and interested in your relationship.
2. Expect conflict. When you put rocks in a tumbler together they knock into one another and skin themselves. But in the end, they come out beautiful! Conflict is like that – expect it and fight fair. Then keep waiting because you’ll see you’re creating something beautiful out of your relationship.
3. Love is not an emotion, it’s an action. And just like the ocean tide love’s emotion will roll out. But it always comes back in. My biggest piece of advice: don’t fold. Don’t throw your hand in. Keep playing the game, keep loving actions alive in your marriage and wait… the emotion will come back. EVERY TIME.
4. Negotiation. I spent one spectacular semester cruising the world’s oceans with the Semester at Sea program. On our ship the captain would set the direction of our vessel and the engines would move us along at a rocking 14 knots/hour.
Even though the direction was locked in, the captain was always on deck to adjust the direction if need be.
Constant vigilance and willingness to negotiate is very, very important in the marriage relationship. People change, relationships change. Flexibility allows for freedom to grow and mature together instead of being painfully bound by expectations that just don’t fit anymore.
Those are my observations. What are some of the things you weren’t expecting from marriage?
Be sure to post a comment on the Giveaway post – the ruffians will draw a winner on Sunday and a lucky reader will receive a free copy of Kristin Maschka’s This Is Not How I Thought It Would Be: Remodeling Motherhood to Get the Lives We Want Today. You Don’t Want To Miss Out!