I sum it up as this:
Marriage is a whole lot of “Me too!”.
A haphazard series of positive agreements.
Meaning.. I don’t believe in:
- One true love (in the “destiny” sort of sense).
- Opposites attracting, likes repelling, or any combination of those.
- Things working right on the first, second, or third try.
Note: I’m just talking about my own experiences, of course – I don’t know anything about how others work with or approach their own marriages or relationships. After all, I’m just a guy, trying to get along. 🙂
The first thing I found when I tried to squash my own life together with the life of another (this began many years ago when I first had serious relationships and first co-habitated) is that everybody wants to do everything differently, and everybody thinks something else about everything. It can be really baffling, trying to understand why your partner thinks ice is hot, when you are sure it is salty. 🙂
It only got worse after I married and we started trying to combine personal finances, which can be a very personal area for a lot of people. What I found is that we have completely different approaches, both of which are completely correct, good, fine, and useful.
But the kicker is, it often seems that a thing, task, or problem is just “easier” for one of you to do than it is for the other. So you have to LET GO, even when your partner is baffling you with his/her approach about how to deal with the hot and salty ice.
That led me to one of my common marital exclamations:
It’s a union job, dear.
Meaning.. we don’t need two people to figure out where we are going out for dinner tonight. It’s true that if I think about it I can muster up an opinion on the subject, but it’s equally true that it really doesn’t matter to me very much where we have dinner, most times. Likewise, it doesn’t take two people to figure out how much money to transfer to the checking account for the bills, and it doesn’t need a partner to decide where to plant the new shrub.
I talked about this “union job” concept in more detail, in more of an “office work” context, in an earlier post: It’s a Union Job. Check it out, so you can say “Me too!”, too!
I’ve found that many of the “jobs” in a marriage are “union jobs” – please don’t take away my job security by trying to do a job I’m already doing, ‘kay? Especially if you don’t really particularly care about how the job is done anyway. (If you have to muster up some care, then you don’t really care, I’d say..)
But union job division only works if you have a lot of agreement, and I don’t mean the type of agreement that you talk about as each issue or decision comes up. Instead, I mean the type of agreement where you think the ice is hot, she thinks the ice is salty, and both of you just say, “That’s awesome – let’s go ahead with it.” The kind of agreement that you rarely talk about, because you just sort of.. uh.. “trust” each other. Even though you are not even really talking the same language. The key is, you find a way to move forward in vast swaths of agreement anyway.
It’s a “Me too!” moment!! 🙂
You see your partner’s bandwagon, and you jump on. Just because that’s gonna work out fine. Lots of “Me too!” moments, in a long, haphazard string, making a life together.