Our resident three-year-old alarm clock sounded at the usual and appointed time this morning—5:45 am sharp. “Maaama…Daaddyy! Can I get up?” My elbow jabbed my husband’s side in my non-verbal way of saying, “It’s your turn.” He turned toward the clock mentioning the time, as he sat up swinging his legs to the floor.
“Have you given any more thought to that retirement program I mentioned to you last night.”
What? My mind turned and sputtered, trying to come to life enough to decipher the meaning of what this man was saying. I heard long words, and lots of syllables but for the life of me, I couldn’t come up with any coherent thought other than, “after ten years, does he know nothing about me?”
He might as well have been speaking a foreign language. I mumbled something unintelligible about “needing coffee” and “what are you even talking about?” as I rolled over succumbing once more to a few more blissful minutes of slumber.
You see, he wakes up alert and ready to greet the day. I wake up groggy and ready to greet my coffee. He can awaken and immediately begin discussing important topics and make big decisions. I need a good thirty minutes before I discuss anything other than whether I want a mild or medium roast.
We are different.
We enter a crowded room, and he begins making the rounds greeting people, shaking hands, and hugging necks. He talks and laughs, effortlessly swinging his attention from one person to the next. You can feel the energy he exudes when he’s with people. He’s an extrovert.
I enter the room also smiling, sometimes walking with him, but usually not, as I attempt to wrangle the kids into some semblance of order. I say hello, greet people warmly, and listen as a sweet friend tells me about her day. I enjoy people. I love to be a listening ear for their stories and their lives. But at the core, I’m an introvert.
The give and take of conversation is life-giving to him. Interacting with a lot of people gives him energy. I, on the other hand, need quiet and time for reflection to replenish my soul.
We are different.
When you’re dating, differences can be nice, charming, attractive even. But sometimes over the course of years of marriage, spurred on by the stresses of making a home together, they can become irritating and frustrating.
We can begin to look at our spouse and notice only our differences and fail to see our similarities. We can start to feel as though we are rarely on the same page with this person who’s supposed to be our life partner.
Sometimes these irritations can fester, much like a splinter beneath the skin. In and of itself a splinter is a small thing, and sometimes it will work it’s way out. Other times, however, it becomes more and more irritated until it’s infected and sore to the touch.
And friends, when this happens, it’s so easy to pull away: to pull away in frustration, to pull away because you feel unseen or unheard.
But rather than pull away, perhaps this is when we need to lean in even more. This is when we need to remember ALL of the things we love about our husband. We need to remember the things we do have in common.
You know, my husband and I do share some similarities. In the ways that matter most, loving God and loving our family, we are one in the same. And really, all the other things pale in comparison.
Yes, my husband and I are different in a lot of ways. But thank God we are because it’s our differences that help complete us. It’s our differences that make us stronger together than we are apart.