Mismatched is the hip fashion trend these days. (I’m certain the use of the word “hip” here shows how very out of touch I am with any current trends, though!) My girls separate socks I have perfectly paired together in an effort to express their personalities. Even shoes can be mismatched and look stylish if you know what you’re doing (at least my 4-year-old is able to pull it off)!
As I put the blue lid on the pink cup and insert a green straw, I can’t help but think of the ensembles my little girls are able to perfect. Attempting to disguise my lack of effort to hunt for a matching lid, I deliver juice to my daughter with a declaration that her cup is “mismatched”. Brown eyes light up with a smile that expresses her awe. I have to admit that I gave myself a good pat on the back.
Isn’t this something you’ve condemned your husband for doing?
Conviction has a way of creeping up on me. This helpful man I married receives a lashing of ungratefulness because my judgment of mismatched cups from his hands equates laziness as opposed to embracing a fad. He tries to tell me that there’s more than one way to get from point A to point B. And deep down, I know my way isn’t the only way but… good luck convincing me that it’s not the best way.
This is our marriage: A world of different perspectives, varying opinions, and alternative ways. Frustration is built from too many expectations. “Expectations kill relationships,” I read in Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts. I must admit that they have endangered my marriage.
With marriages failing all around me, I’ve pulled out my magnifying glass to examine my own. Under honest scrutiny, I can see myself as the root of the problem. Just the other day, instead of counting gifts, I found myself adding up frustrations.
I’ve told him before that bread doesn’t go in the fridge! I yank the container out. Placing it on the counter, I find myself reflective. My new Lenten practice challenges me to count the gift of a husband who puts away leftovers, allowing me to exercise with friends. This challenges my skewed perspective.
Of course he forgot to relay our daughter’s request the night she asked him to so I could be certain to have her shirt ready! An altered perspective would be realizing it is much easier to point fingers in blame at his mistakes rather than the piles of dirty laundry I’ve been neglecting. Not to mention the fact that he handled bedtime once again as I headed out the door.
The list threatens to grow in length very quickly. Danger is ahead and I am keenly aware. In keeping the frustrations to myself, I give off the appearance of keeping the peace. After all, love covers a multitude of wrongs, right? One of many problems with this is that I wasn’t forgiving and forgetting. I was keeping score for an upcoming war!
My unsuspecting husband’s actions added another offense to my tally in the middle of my thoughts. “I am growing very frustrated with you.” I informed him in a calm tone surprising both of us. “It’s just a bunch of little things but I can feel them building up and I might just explode.”
He looked dumbfounded as he responded, “I’ll be careful to stay out of your way.” Instead of lashing out at his statement, I took it for the unique dry humor it was intended to be. In doing so, I avoided sparking any fires with the choice weapon of my tongue. The volcano never erupted.
Later, my spouse informed me that it is a lot easier to listen to me when he doesn’t need to feel defensive. (Who wouldn’t feel the need to be on guard when they’re being yelled at?) While I excuse it as passion because I care, he shuts off when he perceives my tone as volatile. Maybe there is something to be said for different perspectives?
His late night tendencies give him the energy to deal with our children at bedtime. While my embrace of the morning helps them get off to school on time. Three little girls need a daddy who welcomes silliness. And I need a laid back man who doesn’t complain that I’m far from perfect. For years, I’ve tried to strongly encourage him to live up to my expectations. Slowly, I’m learning that our differences don’t make us a mismatch. The contrasts between us are why God thought we were the perfect team. I may never look at a pair of mismatched socks the same.
Are you able to embrace your marriage as a mismatch made in Heaven?
If you long to be reassured that your life is normal, be sure to purchase up a copy of Jill Savage’s new book, No More Perfect Moms. And don’t forget to sign up for the Hearts at Home National Conference the weekend of March 15-16 in Normal, IL!