Monday, June 25, 2018

9 Years of Marriage

A while ago I met a young married couple. She was young, outspoken and a little brash, he was laid back, happy and quiet. It made me wonder what he saw in her. And it also made me wonder if people thought the same of Ben and me when we first got married.

We've been married 9 years now. Ben's quiet influence on me has made a big difference in my life, I've learned so much from him. I'm less judgmental and outspoken now. I'm more willing to listen and sit back and watch. People who meet us now assume we've always been a calm couple.

But I'm still working on my inner demons. I can be selfish and my analytical nature makes it so I am good at pointing out problems. I am also good at blaming other people for my problems. Which makes me not easy to be married to. But Ben has been patient with me, and I have been growing each year, trying to get better.

But the longer we have been married, the more I become astounded by Ben's character. He has so much self-restraint, and wisdom. While I try to find blame, he looks upward, humbles himself, and looks to God for the solution. And when we are alone together and the rest of the world fades away, he treats me with nothing but respect. I feel safe in his arms. He is a mountain of a man to me.

Two things

As I've sought to be a better spouse, here are two things that have taught me this year. I never feel alone in my quest to be better or understand Ben more. I feel Heaven's help as I pray for guidance and make goals to improve.

1. The first is recognizing what Ben is. Learning about different personality types (these descriptions in particular), while not perfect descriptions by any means, helped me learn how different the lens through which Ben sees the world is than mine. My brothers, my dad are all more analytical like me, and so Ben is the only engineering-type brain that I know intimately. It's been a learning curve as I've tried to understand what his world looks like these past nine years. Knowing him more intimately has allowed me to give him more grace, and recognize the humanness and trade-offs that come with all personality types.

2. The other thing that taught me a lot is the book Hold Me Tight. The premise of the book is about our fundamental needs for attachment. If you are familiar with the theory of attachment, it is usually understood in the context of children and parents. But this book argues that the need to be attached never goes away-- and all problems in relationships are simply an expression of wanting to have a secure attachment with another. When you view relationships this way, you don't see your spouse as the enemy but rather pain points as the enemy, an expression of a need not met, that the two of you can work on together. Seeing problems as such helps me to stop blaming Ben, and rather recognize my own calls out for help and how they can be met.

I am grateful a quiet, peaceful engineer took a chance on me nine years ago. I may not be perfect, but I know I am lucky to have a man who loves me as I am, and gives me grace as I change and get better.

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