Monday, August 27, 2012
Our Marriage Canoe
picture courtesy of the Daily Oskar
My wife and I had a financial "discussion" the other day. It was not unlike many other "discussions" that we have had in years past, but this one left some hard feelings at the time. I won't go into all the details, because despite the drama that a lot of people feel free to post on places such as Facebook and the like, the Internet is not the appropriate place for that.
To begin, my wife and I grew up with divergent experience with finances. My heritage has always been the "savers" approach, where hers was not. That sometimes makes it difficult to always stay on the same page financially. I truly believe that our ultimate goals are actually the same, but sometimes there is a disagreement on paths. This was one of those occasions.
On this day, the perfect storm had been brewing. There were many stressors that contributed to it. Our boys had just started school and our youngest had been pushing both his parent's limits. Mrs Geek had just started a new job (of which I am excessively proud of her) and she had pulled a muscle in her back. Then, on top of it all, we had an unexpected car repair bill of $1,900.
The conversation came up as I was home from lunch, and quickly expanded into a full fledged disagreement. As I left back for work, the air was tense between us. I arrived back at work, and it all started gnawing at me from the inside. I knew that I was beginning to get angry about it. To add to things, there had been a financial misstep in the past that had been forgiven, but that because of the argument, I really felt a desire to bring it back up. I decided to do some walking and breathing to relieve a little bit of the stress.
I felt my resolve not to bring up past mistakes weakening. I had to pray and admit to God that I was getting angry about my perceived injustice. I asked Him to please help both of us, because I did not want us to hurt each other with our words when I got back home later. It was then that I got a phone call at work.
It was Mrs Geek. She said, "I called to eat some humble pie." She admitted that she had been very angry with me, and as she had sat down to show me how wrong that I was. She said that when she looked at things, "I realized that I can't make it with out you."
What a woman of grace! It took a lot of inner strength of character for her to make that call to me. I told her that I was extremely blessed to have a gracious woman like her for my wife. I told her that I knew things had been difficult lately, but I knew that together, we were going to make it. The relief for both of us was palpable.
When you have committed to a person for the rest of your life, it helps to visualize yourselves as sitting in the same canoe. Unless the other person is paddling with you, you are not going to get anywhere fast. Both of you have hopes, dreams and aspirations, but you will never be able to achieve them with out your partner.
I think that we tend to look at life from a very selfish perspective. I better grab everything that I can for me, or I won't get anything. If we can learn to get past that and extend trust to our spouse, we will find that they want you to succeed just as much as you do. If you help them achieve their goals in life, they will have a motivation and desire to help you fulfill yours.
We have been traveling in our canoe for almost ten years now; both through rapids and still waters. By now, we know each others strengths, weaknesses and vulnerabilities. We have the power to hurt one another tremendously. We know exactly what would inflict the most pain. We also, however, have the best insight into where we can be the best encouragement to one another. I hope that I never forget to be that "encourager" to my wife.
“Loving someone is giving them the power to break your heart, but trusting them not to.”
― Julianne Moore