I once heard a minister speak about the difference between dating vs. marriage. He said that many people say you should go into a marriage with your eyes wide-opened. After all during dating you close your eyes to all the faults or idiosyncrasies that your partner has. Then you get married and act surprised at what you see or don’t like. Our eyes do become wide-opened – at the things we chose to ignore in the first place, yet were there all along. The minister suggested a different strategy. People should go into dating with eyes wide-opened, and then go into the marriage with eyes half-closed. Did your husband leave the toilet seat up, spend money randomly without pre-planning, or go golfing with the boys weekly when he was your boyfriend? Did you find it cute, fun, or just happy that he was happy? And now…now its not so funny or cute. Did your wife go shopping without determining the budget in advance, invite the girls over for cooking and laughter on football day, and clean everything in sight when you dated her? Was it funny or helpful? And now….now its not only noticeable, its front and center, consuming your living room and impacting your football game. The congregation laughed. At least those who were married did. If you’re married, you’ve been there.
The minister was right. There are many things you learn through the years about your spouse- and they about you – that living together requires overlooking our faults and idiosyncrasies, which are hopefully surpassed by a large number of wonderful character traits. This assumes that you were married agreeing on the big things, sharing morals, values, and major choices. Even so, disagreements arise as you grow and change. I thought about how my husband has looked at me when I’m saying or doing something that I probably know by now drives him crazy….and he doesn’t say a word. My tendency to clean no matter what I’m doing or who I’m talking to…or my changing topics midstream, talking a mile a minute, or giving every detail to a story when I’ve gotten close to losing the point for him (or anyone else listening). There was a time he would have said something. Now he just listens. Maybe its the look on his face instead of the comment that lets me know he’s faded away. I’ve asked him before about my faults, and I’ve apologized for going on and on. He just smiles. The good outweighs all that, he says with a smile. Which makes it easier for me to pick up the dishes in the sink for the millionth time, as I am pretty sure I am the only one in the house who is aware that the dishwasher can be opened 24/7. Hey, they found the sink. Eyes half-closed.