So, I think all the time about the things that make a marriage work…..and the things that make it not work. It’s a slippery slope sometimes, like any relationship. I used to think that fighting with my spouse, disagreeing, or getting into a bad mental place together was a sign that I had done something wrong. I would keep a running checklist in my mind, just waiting to get enough cons on the page to convince myself I was not marriage material.
This sounds so terrible to me as I write it, but it’s the truth. For many of our early years together, I just kept waiting to drop the shoe (because I was sure it would be ME to do so) all so I could prove once and for all that I was a terrible wife. I absolutely, positively do not attribute this bad attitude to my exposure to divorce, friends, family, media, crappy movies, or otherwise.
I was just a negative person.
I couldn’t measure up to my own ridiculous expectations because I hated all the traditional wifey things: cooking, cleaning, crafting, DIYing, hosting parties, gardening, interior decorating, baking, becoming a SAHM, etc. Mind you, I did all of those things but complained all the while.
SOOOOOOO WHAT HAPPENED???
What’s changed is my attitude. My frame of mind. My interest in being honest with myself and my spouse all of the time, without excuse. And what was the result? I’ve started to LOVE the things I hated. I LOVE gardening. WTF. I love anything with a pop of color (welcome to my planter, coleus), or an interesting texture (please grow here, astibles), or a fun characteristic (creeping thyme is beautiful AND you can walk on it!). I never expected to find myself in this new state of mind, but it’s working for me, which is working for Hubs.
And that leads me to DIY bliss….
As far as I was concerned, DIYing is super lame, more expensive than claimed to be, unprofessional looking, imperfect, and frustrating. I also thought I was not clever enough to attack projects because I never used to make anything on my own, aside from a Thank You card or maybe a delivery pizza order (ok, I never really did that because of my lactose sensitivity, but you get the picture).
This year I really wanted to find a new headboard for our bedroom. I don’t know why this struck me as important, let alone obsession worthy. But I started Googling and Pinteresting and started to dream about what I might like.
Hubs encouraged me to find exactly what I might like. I think I surprised everyone (mostly myself) when I fell in love with a barn door headboard that wasn’t really even a headboard. It just looked so farmy to me, which is not a bad thing at all, but that has never been very “me.” But this headboard was beautiful. And I wanted to live in a more natural, peaceful, elemental space.
I started shopping and came across some old barn doors I thought we could paint or shellac until I learned they were $500 each. I hadn’t even sold the previous headboard in our bedroom yet, but I didn’t think I’d hit that $500 mark, let alone $1,000. But without blinking, Hubs said, “We can make that. That looks easy.”
Easy is now my favorite word. Let me help you with the definition of easy here, because I needed help learning what “easy” means:
Easy doesn’t mean fast.
It doesn’t mean simple.
It doesn’t mean perfect or even close to perfect.
It doesn’t necessarily mean cheap, either.
It just means do-able.
And now that I know what easy means, I love it when we look at something as a couple, give each other that special smile and say, “Yea, that looks easy.”
Our easy-to-craft headboard was finally built out of pallet wood, all of which we hoarded and then broke down ourselves. We bought some fresh wood for the main framing and stained all the wood with a light gray. Well, that’s not entirely true: I thought I ruined it with a stain that was way too dark. So we stripped that, power sanded, and tried again (thank you, Home Depot Paint Man, for your assistance with that one).
We argued about the order in which we worked on the project. We moaned over working too late at night (cuz power tools and my little ones don’t really mix, so we were relegated to working from 8-11 p.m.). We argued about how to cut the wood at specific angles. We griped when we ruined or split certain pieces of wood. We fought about where to store the power tools and how to keep the garage tidy over our weeks and months of projecting.
We also brainstormed together. We laughed. We listened to music and danced while we worked. We teased one another about decisions and watched each other work in awe and interest…seeing new sides of one another. We looked forward to the evenings when the kids were asleep and we could stow away to the garage for a few hours to work on our little project. We built something together. Now we can look every day at something that signifies our ability to act as a team and to create. And ultimately, we had FUN.
It sounds silly, maybe. This little project that turned into something else. But it was great. It was messy and imperfectly perfect (I swear one side is still uneven). It was a little piece of magic we conjured up, and it was bliss.
What are you doing these days that makes your marriage sing? Share, share, share!by