These are a few of the lessons I’ve learned, some hard, some not so hard; some anticipated, some out of the blue. Most have made me cry at some time or another. Pregnancy and postpartum hormones will do that to ya. I hope a few make you chuckle. Enjoy!
1. Some people laugh at you because they’re amused or because they’re delighted with you. You won’t be able to tell the difference, because it’s the same laugh. So ask.
2. Some people like their sauce so much that they put it on all their food all the time. This doesn’t mean they don’t like your cooking. It just means they like their sauce a lot.
3. Stereotypes are just that. Stereotypes. If most of the people of your sex typically have/do not have a certain trait, it will be hard to accept it when you have differences. You are not alone.
4. Just when you think you’re communicating clearly about everything, you’ll discover another assumption you’re making wrongly that’s completely messing everything up. Communicate some more.
5. There are several different ways to describe or explain any given portion of the budget. None of them make sense (especially not the one your spouse is using!) except the one you’re using. Take a break. Have a drink. Start over.
6. Hashing a problem down to the root of the matter doesn’t repair the problem instantly. It exposes it so you can repair it. Time and grace and work and patience and more grace are what you need now.
7. Reading together goes a long way toward bringing life to conversations, especially when one of you doesn’t get many chances to read alone.
8. The easiest sacrifices for me to make cheerfully are the big ones, the ones that it’s obvious that Someone Will Die if I don’t step up to the plate. It’s the tiny little everyday ones that I have to fight the grumps for.
9. German-Italians have different temperaments from German-Irish-English-French-MaybealittleNativeAmerican-Norwegians. I like to say that the more diverse ancestry makes me more even-keeled. We’re still waiting for me to prove that right.
10. Your spouse’s habits will rub off on you. That means that your spouse’s bad habits really are your problem on multiple levels, and your spouse’s good habits really are your blessing on multiple levels. Ignoring a bad habit will not make it go away; you’ll be more likely to pick it up yourself.
11. Growing together spiritually can be one of the most terrifying and exciting and rewarding and challenging things in marriage.
12. Some people like to taste all the ingredients before and after they mix them in. The recipe will still turn out. Usually.
13. Not everybody likes to take walks in the pouring rain. Go figure.
14. Knowing and living are two different animals. Knowing all the ways something will be hard does not make living all those hardships any less difficult.
15. You know how you can communicate with your family of origin without using words? How you have a sixth sense that tells you when somebody’s trying to get your attention discreetly? That took a similar set of genes and a couple of decades of shoulders rubbing to build up. Getting your spouse’s attention discreetly will be a far more elite and unattainable art.
16. I like sticking to plans. I’m flexible about certain things (i.e. the baby, because I have to be), but in general, I’m allergic to changing minds. Most of the time.
17. Different people keep different things in the fridge, cupboard, or pantry. It all depends on how frequently they use something or what temperature they like it at or how their family of origin did it.
18. I’m dreadfully particular about getting my full portion of any given food or drink that I’m sharing. Unless I don’t really care for it, that is.
19. I can refrain from crying when my husband gets his hair cut short. This is easiest if I do it myself. The sense of satisfaction and pride from a job well done is greater than the self-abhorrence produced by desecrating those thick waves. Usually.
20. Sometimes it can be fun to spend money.
21. Your sense of humor needs nurturing. It doesn’t just exist by itself and pop up whenever you need it.
22. It’s easy to think your ideas and dreams are too simple or silly or serious or complex for your spouse to understand, or that your spouse will not find them exciting as you do. It’s worth it. Go dream aloud.
23. Someone can take steamy lobster showers and not be able to stand a steaming sink of dishes. That’s okay. Warm water gets dishes relatively clean, too.
24. It’s true that love can stretch far beyond your imaginings, take on shapes you’ve never dreamed of, encompassing souls you’ve never given a second thought to. Love, after all, is infinite. The challenge is letting ourselves stretch and hurt and crack and break open in a cacophony of light as Love condescends to fill us.