Thursday, January 23, 2014

Please Pick a Partner

“Marriage is not a noun; it's a verb. It isn't something you get. 
It's something you do. It's the way you love your partner every day.” ~ Barbara De Angelis

I love my husband. 

I know. I know.  I allllways say that. (Except when I'm talking about him crunching tortillas chips. But some things just cannot be overlooked.)

Occasionally he spouts off a quick little bit of wisdom that stops me right where I stand. It's usually in the middle of some random conversation about one of the kids or in response to something that happened during the day. 

His latest morsel of brilliance was presented SO "off the cuff" that I almost missed it. We kept talking for a second as my mind chewed on that morsel, then it burst to life for me! So now I'm giving you a taste too, because I think we all need to make sure our children get this message LOUDLY and CLEARLY.

It's quite simple really. Just a few words. But let them rest on your mind's palette and really taste them...

"That's not a partner. You need a partner - not someone who just follows along and doesn't have anything to offer." ~ Kerry The Great

When you really think about it, those words apply to SOOOO many things! School, work, and marriage...but I have decided they are particularly accurate when it comes to marriage. And that is why I am about to offer up my own thoughts regarding partners in marriage. (Maybe someday my kids will read this and believe their mom was smart after all.)

We spend loads of time trying to show our children what to look for in a significant other.  And even more time walking them through the social nuances of who not to pair themselves with. We waste millions of words of explanation about what marriage should be about or not about, etc. And yet it really does boil down to one word: partnership.

It's quite simple though: partnership. You can liken it to when you go to school and get partnered up for a project. Who do you like work with?  The guy who sits back and lets you do all the work? The girl who takes over and thinks she knows best? Or the one person in the class who looks at the project and works WITH you to get it done correctly?  (The correct answer is the last one....hope you got it right.)

Same thing with marriage. 

I certainly didn't want a partner who just sat back and had me call all the shots. (I know...those of you who know Kerry might think he leans that direction. But trust me when I say that he is NOT that guy. He has opinions. He handles things. And he doesn't wait for me to tell him what to do. Not even when I wish he would. **cough cough** Like changing my light fixture in the hall without discussing it. **cough cough**  

Believe it or not, sometimes I like a good argument! So I appreciate him participating in our marriage rather than being a silent bystander. I like that he fixes things and takes care of the house when I don't even notice there's a need. I love that he in the ying to my yang!

A bossy britches DEFINITELY wasn't going to work for me either. I'm not really the "come push me around" kind of girl. Or the "Why don't you make all the plans and I'll just agree with you" kind of girl doesn't really fit. Let's face it. You tell me what to do as if I'm the "little woman" and I will likely choose to do the opposite. 

I wanted a partner. That's how I wound up marrying my best friend. We were already a dynamic duo long before we fell in love. You could always count on us to have a project to work on together!

Basically, what I'm saying is that at the end of the journey, you need to be able to say that you and your spouse each bring something to the table. Because partnership requires action and effort on BOTH sides. That doesn't equate to handing out a list of demands or setting expectations that must be met. It also doesn't include just letting the other person run the show. One shouldn't always give in and do what the other wants to do either. It just doesn't work that way. That's not having a partner.

Let's be honest. Marriage is tough. Marriage is lesson in perseverance and forgiveness. Ask anyone that has been married for 50+ years and you will hear about devotion and commitment more than you'll hear about undying passion.  

Kerry is right. We all need a partner. 

............and that concludes today's lecture.

Here's hoping you have a real partner! (Stay tuned. Kerry might something else brilliant today. It sure helps my blogging ability when he does. See how that works? Ha!)