Nearly two years of marriage, and I still load the dishwasher incorrectly.
My husband and I agree on a lot of things. We both agree that vanilla ice cream is far superior to chocolate. We both agree that Olive Garden’s soup and salad deal is the best lunchtime value for two. We both agree that Zombie Dust is always the go-to summertime IPA.
We also disagree on a lot of things- mostly the way we do things.
Me- I am fast-minded. Everything I do is in a sprint. I sprint from room to room in the morning checking off every item on my list as fast as I can.
My husband- he is efficiency minded. He takes time each morning and calculates every item on his agenda to determine how to do each thing in the most effective method.
Thus, the constant disagreement over how to load the dishwasher.
Me- find a free spot and stick the dish on in there.
Him- it is the most calculated game of tetras I have ever seen where everything has a place, and apparently only sociopaths put bowls on the bottom shelf.
We drive each other nuts sometimes. I want him to speed up and he wants me to slow down. And the truth is, we’re both right and we’re both wrong. I could use a little more caution in my life, and he could use a little more speed.
Some days he gets mad at me because I move too fast, and I tend to get a little reckless, and as a result I run into things and break my pinky toe (it has happened more times than you would think).
And sometimes I get mad at him when I’m on the ground holding my foot, trying to deep breathe the pain away and he comes up to me, makes sure I’m okay, and upon realizing I am not dead, just dying, he says, “Babe, you need to slow down.”
This is when I get real indignant and whine that all he ever sees is my mistakes.
But in fact, this isn’t true. He sees my mistakes, AND he sees my strengths, AND he sees all of my moments of just average.
My husband sees my humanity.
I see the posts all the time telling girls to find a man who makes them feel like a princess. Find a man who spoils you, and agrees with you, and takes care of you. But I have found over the years that taking care of me looks way different than just affirming everything I do or say.
Sometimes, in my own life, the best way my husband can show that he loves me, the best way for him to take initiative to care for me, is by challenging me.
I am not on my husband’s pedestal because I am a human, and I don’t need someone who bows at my feet. I need someone who brings me down to earth. I need someone who can see my flaws and not ignore them. I don’t need someone to just sit around and love me despite them. I like having someone who helps me to overcome them.
I don’t need to be “fixed,” but I have lots of room to grow, and I am immensely blessed to have a man in my life who takes on this responsibility despite the frustration and the conflict that may arise in the growing pains.
In the six years I’ve known this man I have grown significantly, overcome countless personal obstacles, and moved out of my own way to accept challenges way outside of my comfort zone, because my husband loves me well enough to grow me, and grow with me.
My husband never put me on a pedestal. He bends over backwards for me every single day, but never in a way that enables and excuses me to be less than my best self. He never lets me push him around. He never lets my emotions drive the show. He silences my demons because he loves me and my humanity too much to let my weaknesses define us.
And I offer that same gratitude right back to him.
This is how we best operate. This is how our dynamic works.
Let me make this clear- my husband does not verbally or emotionally abuse me. He does not put me down, and he NEVER makes me feel as though I am not enough or unworthy of his love just the way I am. He does not try to “fix” me.
He simply does not allow parts of me that can hurt the both of us remain unaddressed.
He challenges me and I challenge him because he is my partner, my teammate. He challenges me and I challenge him because we are both human, flawed. He challenges me I challenge him because the more we invest in each other and the more we grow together, the less we become two weak individuals, and the more we become an incredibly strong single unit.
I am not on my husband’s pedestal, and I’d never want to be. It’s much easier to grow together when we both start on even ground.