AFTER 40 YEARS ◽ MARRIAGE
My husband and I have lots of similar backgrounds; especially that we were both raised by parents that loved God and loved us. However, we were also raised very differently in so many areas, and those differences have sometimes cropped up and caused us struggles. I’m sure that in pre-marital counseling these days, differences are addressed. But we didn’t know better back then, and we’ve just had to learn. For example…
His home was a welcome spot for visitors, any time, without warning, drop-ins and all. I wasn’t raised that way. We let people know if we were coming by, and we expected the same courtesy. This didn’t cause many problems, but we did discuss it and realized the difference! (I think what I was taught was right…don’t we all?)
I thought if I told a lie or said a bad word, I had to ask God’s forgiveness right then or I might not go to heaven if I died at that moment. What? I know, it was a heavy load to carry, and thankfully Jon learned more of the grace of God and helped me through this difference to peace and not fear.
Another thing we fought about long into the night was his brother. He had an older brother that was a severe street alcoholic, and again my religious upbringing came out when I said this brother wasn’t going to heaven (apparently, I had a lot of heaven issues.) Again, we talked, and I realized our differences and things and teachings I missed somehow… Grace is amazing, isn’t it?
Just the other day, my husband was cleaning plates from their food into the trash bag, instead of the sink disposal. I asked him not to do that, because trash sits and smells bad if food is in there. He said as a kid, their trash was emptied daily (because they were a family of nine) so that was never an issue. He understood my point.
Jon didn’t have a lot of material things, as his parents were missionaries to another country, and often they had to rely on God in the moment, for food on the table. I’ve never had that experience, but I listen and marvel when he tells me, because I realize that experience established his faith, something I admire in him so much!
I grew up with rituals and routines and those have served me well in running our home, which he too appreciates so much. His life was more laid back with no time schedule, which is nice…but doesn’t work too well with kids and time restraints. He has learned from me to make lists, use them, and arrive at places on time.
My gosh, I could write volumes of our differences. And often, those differences can build a wall between a couple if there’s no budging, understanding or realization that differences matter, yes. But they don’t have to break us. In fact, some of my best friends outside my marriage are women that are way different than me in the way they dress, what they like, and more. Our differences are interesting and fun!
I guess communication is the key. As well as that thing I mentioned, before. Grace. Differences and all.