Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Odd Couple

We are a weird couple.

It’s okay. It’s okay. I knew that going in. And part of the reason I married Brett was precisely because he wasn’t like ALL those other guys.

But, sometimes our weirdness (kinder perhaps to say our “uniqueness”) makes me laugh.

Take last night, for example – there we were, tangled up in our bed sheets, our legs overlapping, holding hands. With our free hands, though, we were busy. Brett was listening to his new police scanner – which he bought with his birthday money from me – and I was reading the exciting thriller mystery Without Fail (The Jack Reacher Series) by Lee Child. On the floor, our bunnies thumped and jumped and frolicked with glee.

Tell me that’s not a little weird.

There are times I’m grateful for our weirdness. When you truly know each other – really know the other person – you feel absolutely close to them.

For instance, I know Brett doesn’t trust the glue on the inside of envelopes. He uses water to seal the envelopes then tapes them over with clear Scotch tape. He also loves cork boards and tries to hang them all over the house when I’m not looking. He hates to dress up – at all – and believes the world would be a better place if we could all wear jeans and T-shirts all the time. The only time you’ll see Brett in a suit is at a funeral or a wedding.

Now, admittedly, I’m a little weird, too. But, if you’re reading this, then you know that.

The thing is that I made a promise to myself when Brett and I got married. I promised to try and not change him. To remember that I love him for WHO he is, not who I might think he needs to be.

Over the years, I can’t say I’ve always stuck to that promise. But over those ten years, I’ve also learned a very valuable lesson. I can’t change Brett (even at the times I’ve wanted to). Only God can change Brett. And, I suppose, only God can change me, too.

Because, of course, I am not exempt from weirdness. Brett knows this. I have my strange little quirks. Like I HAVE to take a Sunday afternoon nap or I’m cranky all week. Or how I hate the word “fine” as in “How are you today?” and “I’m fine.” Long story, I just don’t like the word. Or how I hate vegetables on my sandwiches. And how I really LOVE commercials. Stuff like that.

The thing is that sometimes I wonder if our weirdness keeps us from having friends. Brett’s really only ever had one good friend, and I can count on one hand the number of “couple” friends we have. And Mom and Gary count!

See, in our Christian circles, it’s assumed that “the man” is a certain way – funny, boisterous, jack-of-all-trades, back-slapping during the week, yet suit-wearing, sober, and serious on Sunday.

There are similar expectations for “the woman.” She trends to the little ‘uns, cooks a mean casserole, and her house sparkles under her care. She takes a back seat to her husband, stands behind him, and submittedly bats her eyelashes in stunning surprise when complimented.

But, see, me and Brett aren’t like that. Those aren’t the personalities God gave us.

I’m funny. He’s serious. I’m ambitious, career minded, and focused. He’s laid back, calming, and earnest. And I love our relationship. The problem is that we haven’t found any godly couples we’ve really “clicked” with – except my cousin Aaron and his wife who have the nerve to live in another state!

And, of course, the clincher is that we lack the squirmy substance that often does bring “couple” friends together – children.

So, we’re childless, until God deems otherwise. It can be a lonely position. We both have peace about our child bearing situation and are grateful we’ve been spared the mental and physical anguish that many couples suffer.

But, peace aside, being childless does limit our fellowship opportunities. It is difficult for us to have people with kids over, because their children will have no one to play with or anything to do. And it’s the height of rudeness to invite yourself over to someone’s house.

Most young families’ conversation revolves around children. We understand that. It’s just that we are (always unintentionally) given the cold shoulder.

Being childless hurts in other ways, too. To know there is a possibility that you will never bear or be able to afford adoption is one thing. But to then hear motherhood heralded as the exultant peak of womanhood makes me feel as though I am nothing and will never be anything just because my ovaries aren’t up to snuff.

And I don’t buy it.

I’m not saying that motherhood is anything but wonderful. If you’ve read any part of my blog, you know the heavenly relationship I share with my own mother and the amazing one I had with my late mother-in-law. I love mothers. And I’d love to join the mother club. But I’ve had to accept that I may never be “Mom” to anyone.

And if that is the case, and the peak of womanhood is motherhood, then why did God bother to create me at all? And see, that is where I find hope. God DID create me – out of His mercy and grace. Therefore, He HAS a purpose for me. And one that may not involve my ovaries in the least. I believe in that fervently. And I pray that He will continue to guide and direct me in that way.

After all, He directed me to Brett, in all his sweet, goofy weirdness. Brett has great peace with our childless situation. He has been an amazing comfort to me, in so many ways. He accepts me for who I am. He believes I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

And I love him, too. I love that he comes home and embraces me like a sailor who hasn’t seen a woman in 12 years. Or how he literally chases me around the house! I love that he gets mushy over our two rabbits. I love that he’s a little paranoid about identity theft (as though anyone would want to steal our sorry identities!) and yet totally careless about if the house is clean or dinner is on the table.

So, yes, we are a weird, childless couple. But, for the most part, we’re a happy, weird, childless couple.

And I think that if we weren’t us, we’d want to be friends with us. Because we’re friendly, loyal, and if you did hang out with us – I guarantee you’d have a good laugh, a good time –

And your identity when you left.


Jennittia said...

What a refreshing post!! It is becoming so rare in today's world to see a couple soooo in love! And thanks for the insights into the feelings of a childless woman. As someone who gets pregnant at my husband's mere glance :) this is an issue I can not really relate to. I will come across people like yourself I am sure, and it will be nice to remember your words when I meet them.

Ann-Marie said...

Hi, J! Thanks for the comment! I'm always afraid I'm going to offend mothers when I talk about motherhood. And that's not what I want to do. I guess I'm just trying to explain my position and how all of that makes me feel. And speaking of mothers, I happen to think YOU are a great one!