Special Note: Today’s post is by my husband Michael Howard, in honor of our 20th Anniversary!
This year Angela and I will have spent half of our lives together, and it’s a good thing she got me for this half. My first half wasn’t all that stellar. I’m a handful now; being married to me when I was 7 would have been a nightmare.
There is a lot of “normal” stuff that you learn when you blend your life with someone else’s. I’ve learned that I’m very passionate about not squeezing the toothpaste from the middle. Yes, it’s fulfilling in the moment, but it creates so much extra work down the road. Using the toothpaste requires careful planning and disciplined execution. They really should require a class on the subject prior to graduating from high school. Angela and I have a difference of opinion on the matter, and that’s OK.
The first 20 years of our marriage has taught me that we don’t see things from the same perspective, and in this case her perspective is just wrong. But that’s OK, too, because what I’ve learned is:
Even though we are married, we are still individuals.
There is a lot to be said for two individuals becoming one in the eyes of God. It’s the cornerstone of the rite—two people entering into a covenant with God Himself as the witness—and is so important to God that He consistently uses it as metaphor of our relationship with Him. The church is referred to as the “bride of Christ,” after all. Often overlooked though is the fact that we still have our own mind on things.
We need to allow space for a difference of opinion, even on important matters of family and running the household. Most of the time there is no objectively correct answer to a problem, and each of us has a unique way of seeing things. When I disagree with Angela, the first question I’ve learned to ask is, “Why do you say that?” It’s not a crusade to convince her that I’m right, but an attempt to see things from her perspective and maybe find common ground.To love someone means to love them as they are—differences and all—not for who you want them to be. Click To Tweet
To love someone means to love them as they are—differences and all—not for who you want them to be or think they could be. People will change over time as individuals, and to love them means having to be constantly aware of who they are.
Even though we are individuals, we are still married, so assume the best.
Sometimes we watch a show, and that show might feature a couple who is in a de facto battle of wills as if simply being married means you have gained an adversary. It’s usually done as comic relief, but it still belies an assumption that whatever it is you want to do, you must first outfox your spouse. This is typically presented as the man wanting to do something and having to get by his wife in her never-ending quest to ensure that he behaves himself. She’s out to ruin his fun!
What I’ve realized is that Angela isn’t my enemy, but that she has a stake in my decisions, too. So when I present an idea that she doesn’t quite agree with, I need to assume that she has the best of intentions because it’s not about me, it’s about us. Just as loving each other means staying in tune with each other’s individuality, it also means striving to do what is best to maintain unity.
I honestly am so blessed to have Angela. She has put aside her own wants and needs for my good and the good of our family more times than I can count. She has demonstrated to me over and over what it is to love in spite of. She has seen me at my worst and is still willing to stand with me, to build me up even as she is hurting. She is a tireless defender, and that’s too often a thankless job.
I love her more now than I did on the day I married her, and that’s the truth. A lifetime together is what we’ve had, and I couldn’t have imagined it being so good. I’m so excited now to continue that life with her…as Us.
How can you respect individuality and assume the best in your marriage? Comment below or start a conversation on social media!
If you missed Love at 20 Years Marriage Part 1, click here.
Further reading on marriage:
For more about our story buy my book: How to Love Your Crazy Family – 52 Quick Reads for No Ordinary Days
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