Greetings all!! Welcome, and happy almost weekend 🙂 Things are getting a bit personal up in here this week, so I hope you’re ready.
A few days ago I helped my husband to celebrate his birthday. He’s a wonderful and brilliant man who is just the greatest. He has helped me to grow more than I ever thought possible, and has taught me so much. I am forever grateful for the many facets of our relationship.
In thinking about what to do for his birthday, I thought of all the usual things but they just weren’t right. My usual gift ideas of favorite snacks, new books or movies, and day trips are all either not his style, or recently done for Christmas. And then I though, he does love a good internet article. What better way to gear up for Valentine’s Day and honor him than with this:
7 Random Truths I’ve Learned from My Husband
It’s infinitely more valuable to learn from the people you dislike than to dislike those people together.
When I was single I always longed for the days when I would have someone perpetually “on my side”, to jump on my bandwagon of judgement and gossip. My friends, movies and TV shows, and the internet as a whole helped to solidify this idea. “We’re together, not so much for our mutual affection for certain things, but because of our mutual dislike of other things”.
My husband and I met, dated and got married, and it never really happened. Sure, sometimes we would leave a restaurant with a similar review of the food, or a desire to never go back. There were certainly people we met and decided we wouldn’t like to spend more time with. On the whole though, my husband is incapable of disliking, judging and hating on anyone or anything just because I do. I’ll admit, at times it frustrates me, but I’m extremely grateful that he doesn’t just reflect what I’m saying for the sake of agreeing with me and justifying my anger. He is objective when I’m frustrated and is able to give perspective that my anger obfuscates.
Teachers will tell you that the things that you dislike and react to most in others are things that you identify as your own struggles or struggles that you pride yourself in not having. My husband is excellent at helping me to see this, get beyond my frustration, and learn from my reactions to others and situations.
Your patience is a great gift to others.
Anyone who knows me knows that I have never struggled to find time to smell the proverbial roses. Sometimes I spend entire days just smelling the roses, to be honest, only to get the business done at the very end of the day. I have even more clearly learned the value of patience from having husband who has spent more hours standing around candy stores than any man who doesn’t like sweets deserves. Being patient with someone who is exploring, learning, enjoying, or growing is a powerful gift.
There are a million things that I want to change about myself; things I want to improve, accomplish, master, learn, share with others. Sometimes all of those things: the hundreds of articles and books, the perfect meal plans, getting the laundry folded and put away the day I do it, they get overwhelming and instead of doing the few things I can do to improve, I take a break. I talked about “hiatuses” a couple of weeks ago, so you have a pretty good understanding of what I mean. The greatest gift to me in those times, is having a partner who is patient with my progress, even while he is making huge strides on his own. He recognizes my successes as huge and minimizes the times I fall short of my own expectations. He knows my intentions, and knows that pushing, cajoling, belittling, nagging, and backhanded comments are not helpful. The only way to truly change someone is to change yourself, and be patient with them in the change.
Sometimes I don’t feel beautiful. That doesn’t mean I’m not.
It’s taken me years to learn this one, and I still have to work to experience it most days. I am blessed to have a husband who knows that I am a brilliant, nerdy, creative powerhouse. He also knows that I am confident in those things about myself. However, this body, my face, hair, all of it, sometimes makes me self-conscious. There are times that I feel out of place in a new outfit, my shorts don’t flatter, my shirt hugs a back roll, my hair cut makes me look like a hamster, you know, those days. Regardless of what I’m feeling, or how I’m looking, my husband always has a positive word to say. He knows that I’m beautiful and sees the beauty in me regardless of what I wear, how I look, or how recently I woke up or showered.
I’m not bragging about the absolute catch I snagged, but reminding you, your beauty is not determined by what you’re wearing or your haircut, your manicure, your penciled in brows, or the number of wrinkles on your face. Your beauty is in your spirit and soul, so let it shine, even if you feel like you’re shining in spite of it all!
All conflicts in relationships (that I have encountered this far in life) are based in expectations.
I don’t know if my brilliant man thought of this, or he learned it somewhere, but it’s genius. Conflicts between people arise from a difference in expectations. Expectations regarding their behavior, their response to your behavior, or a combination of the two. Think of the most recent arguments or clashes you’ve had with others. Can you distill that interaction down and find the expectation held by one side that wasn’t upheld by the other? Whether it’s where to go to dinner, whose job it is to do that chore, or where the money should go, there are expectations on both sides. I have found that if you can find the difference in expectation you can discuss it, learn from it, and adjust so it won’t be (as much of) an issue again.
This mindset also helps you to maintain your positive regard for the other person. He isn’t a harsh chauvinist who refuses to help around the house, he’s a loving partner whose mother did the dishes while his dad worked in the garage every night when he was growing up. She isn’t an attention seeking drama queen, she’s an only child who is used to having one-on-one time with both of her parents when she got home every day.
Laughter covers a multitude of slights and injuries.
My husband is a joker. His mother tongue is teasing and it doesn’t always translate to my native language. Growing up, my brother was a bit of a monster/typical big brother, and I took his insults and teasing personally, every time. I know, he only did it because it bothered me. I chose to take offense. Yes. I know. I’ll go back and tell little me that, but for now, I am stuck in this sensitive little soul that finds it hard to take a joke, and has a knee jerk reaction of hurt or anger.
That said, I have learned so much about the power of laughter from being in this relationship. When given the choice to be offended or let myself laugh, the laughter feels better every single time. It works in traffic, or when your kid spills your coffee, or when someone does something irritating at the grocery store. I guarantee that every time you choose to laugh will feel like the greatest victory, and instead of launching you into a “grumpy, bad” day, you’ll turn the corner to a lighthearted day. It’s amazing. Give it a try!
No matter your age or what you have experienced, your favorite everything may still be out there.
Since meeting this guy, and sharing our lives together I have found a million new favorite things, and at least half of them have come directly from watching him enjoy something I have never tried. I can’t encourage you enough to go through life being open to new experiences. I implore you on behalf of my new favorite poutine, clothing designer, place to visit, sweet potato fries, and novel to read.
Life is a process of growing every day, and you’re never done.
As you can tell from this list, my chosen life partner is a pretty astounding person. Sure, he has some quirks, and sometimes I feel like hitting him (love you!), but an overwhelming majority of the time he’s amazing. You know what though? Even with his vast knowledge, the amount of time that he spends in research, the mindset work he has done, he wakes up every morning with the intention of moving forward from yesterday.
Watching his mindset of growth playing out over the last few years, combined with that incredible patience, has been one of the greatest catalysts for change in my life. Not only has he been instrumental in my own personal development, but our relationship is always growing and maturing and it’s beautiful to witness and experience.
None of the people you look up to were born amazing. They didn’t graduate high school and have it all together. They didn’t get their degree and “arrive” the next day. They built whatever success they have every day. They have challenging days, and false starts, and missteps, and they keep going. If you want to move forward in your goals you have to be like them. Only when you know that progress is incremental and daily can you make that progress. And you know what? If you don’t master it today, no sweat. You have something to work on tomorrow 🙂
May the wisdom I’ve learned strike a chord and remind you of your own pearls of truth. May you learn from the people and things that bother you, be patient and have others be generous with their time on your behalf. May you remember that you are always beautiful, and always growing. May you have flexibility in your expectations and be willing to laugh. And may you always be open to finding new favorites.