Monday, September 5, 2011

Learning to Love and Support

You learn new things all the time. I have learned some things this weekend and I wish I had known them a while back. It would have helped.

I might need to start a series about our marriage and all the things I am learning about my husband. I don't know what I would call it, so I'll have to think a while. As I'm typing this the title line is empty.

Okay Jody, enough of that, what did you learn? Don't nag, help.

Advice for young couples: don't buy a house until you are ready to take care of it. Advice for young wives: don't dive into a project unless your husband is on board and you are willing to help. Those are my two cents. If you are a renter, let me just encourage you to enjoy it while it lasts. I'm not against houses, I just believe that people should know they can be a lot of work.They can also be a source of strain on your marriage.

There are several projects around our house that needed to be done. Okay, maybe something less pressing than needed, maybe something more like, I would really really like for them to be done so that my nest feels more like a nest.  One of those was the guest bathroom which has been on my nerves since we moved in. It's totally livable, but now I'm realizing I wanted more relaxing colors, not the sharp contrasting red, black and white. I wanted something peaceful like green. The wallpaper was coming off in places, the floorboards looked funny because we had removed the carpet and put in tile, there was a spot on the ceiling where someone had patched something and had painted not quite the right color... little things.
The other thing that needed attention was our yard. It has been the neediest since we moved in two years ago. All the bushes that needed severe trimming, removing, the grass that won't grow in certain areas but looks amazing in others, the drainage on the side of the driveway. We recently made the decision to put a bed alongside our driveway because we couldn't grow grass there, too much shade. (I LOVE shade, I also love grass, but we chose the shade.

The thing about projects is that you have no idea what they will REALLY entail until you get into them. You didn't know you could visit Home Depot so many times in one day. You didn't know you could be so frustrated when you paint a wall and THEN realize you should have worked harder on making it smooth with spackling, you didn't think about the fact that if you put a flower bed next to the driveway your guests will have to step out into the dirt and then accidentally track it into your house. These are all the things you don't think about. You didn't know that you would come JUST short of white ceiling paint and then have to run to Sherwin Williams yet again to get another quart of ceiling paint, and then there are the perils of painting with oil and having to clean that stuff off your brush...

Wow, the list goes on. Projects are hard. Especially when you have to live in them.

I was getting frustrated with Ben for not working on them as much as I thought he should be, not doing things promptly. My job was the plan and plant the flowers for the bed, his was the hard stuff like putting up the barriers, cutting down the limbs, and then there was the bathroom... we had a fallout on Friday night. I told him I hated the stupid flower bed and I hate having to plant flowers, I hate it that people have to step out into the dirt, this whole thing is stupid... (So mature, right?) He was just real quiet. Then he told me it was pretty discouraging to hear that this thing he had already worked on for many hours was something that his wife hated... Oh. Man. I'm such a jerk.

That's when my tone started to change. I decided that instead of quietly waiting by for him to do stuff I would offer as much help as possible.

The next day we worked on making stepping stones in the garden for people to step in in their cars, we also cut down some of the limbs from the tree I had been asking him to do, the next day we worked on hanging the bathroom towel racks and painting the frame around the bathroom mirror, we bought bushes for the flower bed as well as mulch, today Ben and my dad chopped up the branches for firewood...

I went from being a nag and resentful to looking for any way I could to help and encourage and it changed everything. I also found out that Ben and I are team players. We work harder and longer when we have someone to work with, we can spur each other on.

No comments:

Post a Comment