[From Julie] I hope you all enjoyed Phyllis’ post a couple of days ago. Today we have a new guest writer. Meet Heather. She is a regular reader and encourager and we very much appreciate both her and her husband Phil. This couple was the grand prize winner of our first ever Christmas photo contest which has broken Heather’s life long curse of never winning anything. We were glad to help guys.
Heather jumped right on board when I emailed her about possibly writing something on this topic. She responded immediately and said she would be happy to contribute as she had it half written already in her head. I wonder what else she’s got going on in there that the rest of us could benefit from. Heather has put to words something that happens frequently to couples and I think you will enjoy what she has to say. Perhaps it will encourage us to be thankful for those steps that we take as couples to bring us closer to understanding each other. I encourage you to read the post more than once. You won’t regret it.
When Julie asked me to write a guest post about a meaningful conversation that has affected my marriage, something immediately came to mind. The conversation that I wanted to write about was a conversation that never actually happened.
They say that opposites attract. That must be the case for Phil and I – sometimes I feel we are about as opposite as you can get. This is good when one person’s strengths can supplement another’s weaknesses, but it can be difficult for finding that common ground – really “getting” each other, being on the same page, even understanding one another in simple conversations (we have a lot of – ‘Ohhhhh, you meant ________ — I didn’t get that’). We are eight years into our relationship and have recently gone through a number of things that have tested our marriage. With all the stress, lack of sleep and feelings of frustration have come moments where being able to see things from the same perspective would have been a happy short-cut to understanding one another and being on the same page.
In the midst of all this we decided to try a family movie with our 3-year-old while the baby slept, as a way to have a much needed rest for all (which didn’t happen – baby woke up and 3-year-old lost interest). We chose a movie that Phil and I had both seen in our own childhoods. During the opening credits an actor’s name flashed by and I sort of thought, “Huh, I forgot he was in this”. When that actor appeared on screen Phil said aloud, “Oh, there he is, that’s right, he plays one of the bad guys”. It was in such perfect response to what I had thought and not spoken that I realized he’d had the same thought during the credits. I confirmed that and we laughed about having the exact same thought.
It is such a small thing and probably something that could happen with any number of people without any indication of an intimate relationship, but for me, at this time in our lives, it was significant to share the same thought, even over something so insignificant. When I think about the people that “get” me (my siblings, parents, some long-term friends) I see it as a combination of being wired in a similar way, and a whole lot of history together. My siblings, parents and friends have the advantage of sharing DNA and/or sharing history. A lot of things go unspoken between us because it does not have to be said. Sometimes you have instant chemistry with someone, or you have such a similar history that a lot can go unspoken. Phil and I share no DNA and do not have a shared or similar history (given the number of people within the church of Christ who have some shared DNA with me it was prudent to look outside of it to find someone to marry – hence the dissimilar history). But what we have is time and a future. We have chosen to be together for the rest of our lives. Lord willing, I will live with Phil longer than I lived with my siblings and parents. We will share far more experiences together than I will share with any of my closest friends. We are building the history that will bring us closer to the same page with every passing day. We will continue to take steps from our opposite ends in order to meet in the middle. And where we don’t – when something resonates with me that doesn’t resonate with him and vice versa – we can learn things of value about each other and about the marvelous ways God has made us to be different.
I pray that Phil and I continue to “not” have conversations; that we continue to, in even small ways, find ourselves thinking alike. And I pray we learn to understand each other while we continue to think differently.
(Of course, this event was eerily similar to another moment we had where I not only supplied the actor’s name Phil was looking for but also the actor he often confuses the first actor for – all with little guidance – another conclusion to all of this is I watch too many movies).