I want to talk today about something I don’t talk about all that often: marriage. It’s been on my mind recently. Have you ever found yourself questioning, “How in the world does their marriage work? I just don’t understand how they ever ended up together.” Admit it. You know you have. Then you felt guilty for judging another person like that. I experienced this myself recently. Then I wound up on the receiving end of it. Just a simple little comment but it stuck.
Why are we quick to say that everyone has different parenting styles? Or everyone views life a little differently? Or everyone even has a different fashion sense? But when it comes to marriage and relationships we tend to look at them as a “one size fits all” mind set. Since God made everyone just a bit different and everyone has different ways of doing things, of course every marriage is going to be a little different.
In my marriage, I handle the finances. When we were dating and engaged it became obvious that I just have a knack for running a budget. As my dad says, I can rub two pennies together and make a dime. Plus, I’m the more organized one. It just made sense and works for us. But we have gotten the side eye from other people when Matt has asked me in public if we can afford to do something or buy something. Some people think he is asking permission and think that because he brings in the income, he shouldn’t have to ask to spend money. He really isn’t asking permission. Because I keep track of the finances and he doesn’t, he is asking if we have the money to spend. He is opening the discussion to if it is something we should spend money on.
We also are very comfortable with humor. We are rarely serious about much of anything. Every aspect of our life and relationship is filled with laughter. We probably make jokes that other people find odd or uncomfortable. Matt will joke about one of our female friends being his girlfriend. We are very much devoted to each other and it truly is just a joke because of the amount of time they spend together (with me present 99% of the time).
The one that most people find really odd is that we both admit attraction to other people. For us, attraction isn’t the problem, it is when one acts upon that attraction. I know when he thinks another girl is cute and he knows when I think another guy is hot. We keep that very open between us. We both know that, while we are married, we are also humans who notice the attractiveness of other people. If we weren’t open about that with each other I would honestly be a little worried. We are open about absolutely everything so if he didn’t notice another girl being pretty, I’d be worried that he was straying. That doesn’t mean we go out “guy/girl watching” on purpose, it just means we acknowledge that noticing isn’t a big deal. For some couples, noticing another person would be disrespectful. That’s not true for us.
Part of how come our marriage works the way it does is because we were friends for years before we started dating in high school. I already knew he was a harmless flirt. I already knew he has the need to be the big brother to many people. He already knew that I crack jokes at inappropriate times. I fully admit that my marriage would not work for other people. That is why Matt is my husband and I am his wife. We just work for each other.
The next time you think “why do they spend all their time together and never split up for girls nights/guys nights” or “why does he care what style of jeans she wears” or “how can anyone be so serious all the time and not joke around” remember that just like parenting, cooking, cleaning, etc., everyone has their own style of doing things in marriage and relationships. I am talking to myself on this just as much as I’m talking to you. May we all remember together that there is no “one size fits all” for anything, especially marriage. Every marriage is different.