Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Valentine's Post

A couple weeks ago, Doug and I went to a great party at a friend's house.  It was just couples--no children--and all people we really like, so it was a lot of fun.  The hostess had prepared several games, all with a Valentines-y theme.  I won for who had done the sweetest thing for their spouses' parents, thank you very much.  (For Christmas, I went through all Doug's missionary journals and found any place he'd said anything nice about his Mom and then typed them up and gave them to her.)  The evening capper was a round of the "Knewly"wed game.  The men sat on one side of the room, the women on the other, and we each had to  fill out a sheet that had questions about ourselves and our spouses and then got points based on how many answers matched our spouse's answers.

Doug and I got second (by a mere five points!) to Scot and Carolyn, who have been married for 20 years.  Not that we were all that far ahead of everyone else--it was a room full of great people and mostly very happy, rock solid marriages.  But it was kinda fun to almost win, especially since everyone else there has been married longer than we have.
We really do have an uncommonly good marriage, which I didn't entirely realize until I started spending nearly all of my time with people 10 to 15 years older than me, who have good marriages and have been married a lot longer than we have.  That game is evidence of one of the primary reasons our relationship is so good and strong--communication.  We don't really have those typical male/female communication break downs.  We talk about nearly everything, there is hardly anything that ever goes unsaid between us about what's going on in our lives or thoughts, and we understand each other well most of the time.

I was talking to an old friend from college recently, who once upon a time had a crush on Doug herself, and she said that we were the perfect personality combination, based on Myers-Briggs personality typing. I laughed and told her I like to think of it as being broken in the same way.  That probably sounds ridiculous to most people, since our flaws manifest very, very differently, but when we met each other we lacked a lot of the same things, had some of the same hurts.  Because of that, we were able to see through each other in a way that most of the people around us could not and because of that understanding of the things that were the most personal and complex (and painful), it has been much easier to understand the smaller, simpler things. 
I think the other thing that makes a huge difference is that we're both pretty self aware and have good senses of humor about ourselves and each other.  When the other is impatient or upset with us, we usually understand why and can fix it relatively quickly.  We can joke with each other about our own faults and each other's faults.  When either one of us is wrong, we're quite willing to admit it.  We observed the relationships around us as we were growing up, saw what worked and what didn't and have applied the lessons to our own relationship.  

Now granted, there are definitely moments where one of us would like to strangle the other, but those are far fewer and farther between than the laughs and good conversation.  I am lucky to have married a man who is intelligent, talented, gentle, thoughtful and who more or less understands (as much as any male can) how women think and function.  He understands my weaknesses and recognizes my strengths.  A few weeks ago, a friend of ours said to Doug, "You have an amazing wife".  He was genuine in responding by simply smiling and saying, "I know."  I know that he believes that, even if some days I think its just because he's a little loopy.  And I think he's an incredible husband, even if some days he thinks it just because I have Stockholm syndrome.  We're both a bit weird and a little goofy and very dorky, and so we delight in each other.  We are truly each other's closest friend.

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