Wednesday, June 20, 2018

This Is Marriage: Day 1018

It's 7pm on Monday night and I'm about to head home after the radio show when I notice a missed FaceTime from Pete. I call him back and he wants to call in an order for Chinese food and have me pick it up on my way home. I don't want Chinese food. I want to go home, edit and post the radio show online, eat cold food (I dislike eating hot food when it's hot out) and go to sleep. I can tell that Pete is starting to get irritated by my lack of enthusiasm for Chinese takeout. He is telling me he just spent several hours and several trips to Home Depot to install a new antenna on the roof (we don't have cable so this is how we watch Jeopardy - the only show for which I will endure commercials). I am starting to get grumpy too, then I realize what Pete wants is not necessarily Chinese food, he's just tired and hungry and wants food to materialize with little to no effort on his part (and I'm like Dude, same. Story of my life.) So I say "How about subs instead? I'm headed home, I'll pick you up." And he agrees and we get subs and chocolate chip cookies and everyone is happy and cookie-filled.

This is a very minor example but it illustrates a point I've been trying to work on. Most of the time we want the same thing. Maybe we're not always great at saying or even knowing what it is we actually want. But if we're willing to work together, we can figure it out. Together. And then everyone is happy and gets what they need. Sometimes that's easy to do. But not all problems can be solved with subs. Not all problems can even be "solved," per se. (Of course, we are very privileged and pretty much all our problems are minor).

Because Pete and I are different people. Pete sees chipmunks digging holes in the backyard and mounts a tactical operation involving a precise vantage point and a BB gun (but apparently not any sort of crime scene cleanup plan). I find a dead chipmunk while mowing the lawn and start crying, ask Pete about it and get very upset. There are some things we are just not going to agree on (though I feel like No Murdering Things should be one of them. Or at the very least be better at hiding the bodies. It's like I'm the only one in this house who's watched all 12 seasons of Murder She Wrote. Ok, so I am. But I regret nothing. The 80s outfits, guest stars and those track suits are just beyond).  Pete wouldn't have become who he is and we probably wouldn't have met without the military/seaman part of him. I wouldn't have become who I am and we probably wouldn't have met without the bleeding heart/give-the-spiders-in-the-house-names part of me. So we're different in some ways. But everyone is. We don't always have to agree, we just have to be open to understanding each other and remember that we're on the same team (Team No Murdering Chipmunks. Maybe I need to get shirts made so it is more obvious to everyone on the team). Love isn't agreeing on everything all the time, it's fully accepting each other as we are, all that we are, whether we agree or not.

We were at a wedding a few months ago and Pete made a comment to his friend, the groom, that marriage had taught him to say "Do you need space?" At first I was a little offended, like he was insinuating that I was this terrible, difficult person to live with. But then I thought, you know, that is pretty accurate. Actually, that is exactly right. As a person, I require a lot of space. Space to be as opinionated and weird and adventurous as I am (plus at least 3/5ths of any bed). Pete loves me in a way that is spacious and expansive, not restrictive. With Pete, I get to be on a team and still be my own separate person. I don't feel like I have to shrink myself down to fit someone else's expectations of what I should be. I don't feel like I am too much. I feel like I get to be all the things I am (the good, the bad and the covered-in-poison-ivy-and-bruises).

Sometimes, especially times that involve travel or waiting in line, Pete will get very upset about some minor thing for like 10 minutes and then he's over it (and secretly I find it funny and cute so I just let him freak out while I go look something up or ask someone for help or just say "It's ok"). Sometimes I will get very stressed out (usually when I am trying to do too many things at once because it's still hard for me to say no to things) until I run or cry or eat or nap (and Pete finds it funny and cute so he just lets me work it out while giving me a hug or trying to make me laugh or saying "It's ok").

Apart, we are two imperfect people. Together, we are one hilariously imperfect team. Marriage is making space to be imperfect together (and taking turns being the one who freaks out and the one who says "It's ok").

When Pete and I disagree and I'm like "George agrees with me." And Pete is like "How come George always agrees with you? I'm going to get an animal that's always on my side." And I'm like "mwahahaha, my plan is working." Then I find a stuffed fox at a store and text a picture to Pete. This is what it's like to be married to me. 

Lyric of the moment: "All of your flaws and all of my flaws, when they have been exhumed. We'll see that we need them to be who we are. Without them we'd be doomed..." ~Bastille "Flaws"

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