Meeting in middle school, my husband and I come from sharply different backgrounds; we took very different life paths to arrive at a point where our hearts could be joined in our late twenties. “World wise” is embodied by my husband while I carry the “book smarts”, the classic meld between a liberal and conservative. When allowed, this powerful asset is also our greatest liability particularly during a time of life when time and energy are in high demand. Maintaining a current and accurate perception of each other often seems impossible…If you have a pulse, I’m sure you can relate.
Exasperated by an on-demand self-gratifying culture, we unfairly expect our spouse to innately understand our perspective and respond appropriately. We grow comfortable in relationships presuming others have the ability to see the world through our lens. Forgetting that our frame of reference is dramatically different, we expect the impossible and improbable.
Tension, frustration and fracture are the result of these fanciful expectations.
Society generously embraces the tangible realities of child development, anticipating the heartbeat of a fetus, first steps of a blooming toddler, the quirks of middle school and angst of teens. Developing children demand a constant recalibration, parents are forced to keep up or get left in the dust.
What about adults?
Abruptly, we stop calculating progress. People are put in boxes then shelved, more accurately caged, locked into an image that could be older than twenty years! While the damage done to classmates of long ago is probably negligible, approaching significant relationships in this way will polarize things at best.
Today, it’s time to take the spouse box down off the shelf. Like me, you may need to dust it off. You see, somewhere in the midst of procreating, building a business and living life, I’ve fed a statistic; I’ve fallen behind in knowing who my husband IS.
Suspecting he is the same person as when we were married would be completely unreasonable! Drastic life changes, challenges and accomplishments have surely had an impact on his views. I can see scant evidence of this in his confidence and interaction with others, but it’s not much more than a distant blur. Pathetic.
Statistically most marriages last 15-20 years; I can see why. Life lived without meaningful interactions that keep us synchronized, we grow apart. Everything in life seeks to divide.
Where do you want to be with those you care about most? Tonight, will you plop back down in front of the television, tablet or book this evening keeping up with things of five years importance, or will you step-up, give of yourself by engaging a distant friend and love? No excuses, if they’re watching a show and don’t want to talk, just sitting beside them undistracted by a tablet or phone will begin to lay groundwork. This will be painful. For the blessed who talk with a spouse, how deep do the words go? Your challenge today is to take it deeper.
Heart Check: How do you know your spouse fits the box s/he has been put in? What steps will you take without excuse to learn more who your spouse has become and is becoming?