[Chapter Two] The Adventures of the Married Couple
|The Odd Couple…meaning we’re just ODD…sometimes…most times…|
Disclaimer: I do not claim in any way that this post is applicable to the general married couple population. This post is simply derived from the experiences of my husband and myself. There will always be exceptions to the rule (heck, WE could be the exceptions…and just plain weird to boot). But I hope you enjoy this peek into our lives as a married couple anyway.
So in the last chapter of our “Married Couple Chronicles,” I mentioned a list of five lessons learned in the journey we have taken between “single life” to “married life” (and trust me, this journey is much longer than that slow, reverent walk down a white-runner laden aisle). In fact, after 4 years and 5 months, we feel as if our journey has only begun, and we still green in our understanding of the lessons learned in those few short years and months.
As we’ve been attempting to pave the way down this mysterious journey called “marriage”, we’ve gotten a lot of advice along the way (both upon our request and not) about what it means to be married and some of the things we should and should not do as a couple. A lot of the people offering advice (being much more advanced in their journeys) have accumulated wisdom that both my husband and I glean from everyday and have greatly benefited from (and are eternally thankful for). However, one thing I have realized from trying to implement some of these advice and lessons is that there is no cookie cutter formula for a good marriage. With every couple, the adventure is unique and the road map nothing more than a skeleton of both straight and winding roads. A few of these roads have names (aka the “advice” of those who have gone before), giving us an idea of which we should walk down and which we should avoid like the plague. But there are plenty of unmarked roads between these marked ones, leaving us wondering which is the best one to take.
|So…WHICH WAY do I need to go??|
Now, as a single person, I was able to go ahead and follow a road of my own choosing and reap the rewards or suffer the consequences. Sure there may have been some collateral damage to those closest to me. But overall, I was my own person and my life my own. But once I made that commitment to this other (formerly single) person, tying my life to his and his to mine, I began to realize that the decisions I made suddenly affected him as much as it affected me (and vice versa). We have to look at our road map together, and choose which ones to walk down together. Never again are our decisions ours alone…they are decisions made collectively (no matter how much I want to believe I am still my own woman).
Now I’m not one to be teaching others on how to handle the scuffles over the road map. After all, there is no “cookie cutter” journey…each couple’s road map (and their own scuffles over it) will be different. In fact, with all of the mistakes we have made in our desires to navigate through married life “MY WAY,” we are probably the MOST inexperienced to be making claims of “we’ve got it figured out.”
But we’re learning…everyday we’re learning…that when we face those moments when our ideas diverge like the different unmarked roads on our map of life, we need to do five things.
- Start with prayer (since we believe God has the best plan for us anyway)…and pray continuously through the process.
- Keep cool heads (sometimes that may mean walking away from the map and taking a breather until we can address the issue calmly).
- State our thoughts in a respectful and non-judgmental manner.
- Come to a consensus on the next steps, understanding that (no matter how “right” we are), we may sometimes need to give in.
- Reap the rewards or suffer the consequences together – NO BOASTING! NO “I TOLD YOU SO”s!
No, we don’t always follow these rules of engagement successfully. We have yelled and done a lot of finger pointing and boasting. We have forgotten to bring our road map to God first to have Him guide us down the best path. But, as time goes by, we find ourselves remembering these rules more often…and realizing that our relationship only benefits from the implementation of them.
|I [heart] YOU!! Oops…that’s not a heart…tee hee…|
When a couple is as much an “odd couple” as we are (in our personalities and family backgrounds), there is bound to be some “butting of heads” on this journey of life. There will be some tugging at the map as we each fight to take point. But, by the grace of God (who knows us all too well it seems), we have yet to pull hard enough to tear the map, and our marriage, in two. We have instead learned to die to ourselves…seek His will for our family…lovingly consider each other’s words (if not the first time, definitely the second…or the third)…and, above all, accept one another for who they are (and why they are coming up with such “STUPID” ideas).