The Differences Between Us

Jim and I in beautiful Nantucket, Fall of 2016

The relationship of husband and wife should be one of closest friends. B.A. Ambedkar

*This post has been so popular I updated it a bit on February 13, 2017

Jim and I will be married 36 years this coming May. The picture above is one of my new favorites, snapped in Nantucket during time away last fall. Though we’ve been married that long, my husband and I are often like night and day. Oil and vinegar. Fire and water. But somehow, it works. We work. We are still a work in progress.

This is a good example of our differences. When I am driving, I anticipate when I will need to get off at an exit. Usually I move over into the correct lane way ahead of time, probably 1-2 miles before. I don’t have to worry about crossing over large amounts of traffic or missing the exit. I like to play it safe.

Jim will be in the same situation and he will not worry about moving over until he is a half mile from the exit. He will need to cross over two lanes of traffic but so what? Even if someone won’t let him by, he will get over somehow. (and he will complain about the guy that didn’t let him over!)

This kind of stuff used to drive me crazy. But if you’ve been married a long time you know. You choose your battles and ask yourself “how important is it?”

Jim has a counter top in the kitchen where he puts all of his stuff. Papers, pencils, change, you name it. I have my stuff concealed in drawers and desks. His counter top used to drive me nuts. It doesn’t anymore. I hardly notice it.

His garage is the same way. A clutter. But he and his brothers can usually find what they are looking for. I’d love to go and organize it for them but I bet they’d have a meltdown. How would they find anything?

I can just about figure out where Jim has been and what he has done in any given day by the trail he leaves behind. Candy wrappers, hammers, pliers. I have to admit I’m guilty of the same thing myself sometimes. It’s just easier to look at someone else’s mess and point the finger. 😉

I’m a taskmaster, an administrative guru. I have file folders for bills and a place for receipts. Jim can usually not find a crucial paper unless it’s on that cluttered counter. Years ago, he would ask me where I put it. Now he asks me if I’ve seen it.

Jim is really the cream in my coffee and the dots on my i’s. Though many years have passed and we have seen our share of good and bad, we are a team. I never think that he doesn’t love me; he adores me in fact and that love is what keeps us together.

It is worth the time and energy to make a relationship work. I love weddings and the thought of forever after. It takes two to tango though and that’s the truth. Thank you Jim, for the willingness to tango.

JimandJo

Join me on my graceful journey.
1015

What Speaks of Love?

The Bonfire

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” ― Mother Teresa

I was loading socks into Jim’s dresser drawer when I remembered a moment in time. It was a flashback to a conversation between Jim and our close friend John.

Jim had asked John what act of his wife’s spoke of love? John thought for a moment and said “The smell of dinner when I drive up my driveway! That spells LOVE to me!”, said John in his big, beautiful voice. I braced myself for what Jim would say. “A drawer full of socks, John. I love when I open my drawer and see it full of socks.”

Since then I have remembered what filling up that sock drawer means to Jim. It speaks of my love for him. It took me only a moment (and thirty years of marriage) to realize how much he appreciated it.

What does Jim do for me that I love? He builds great campfires. He sets up the logs in a nice, stacked fashion, utilizes newspaper strategically, and sometimes even gets creative with a few charcoal briquets just to get things going.

I once told Jim that his fires “flickered in all the right places.” He loved that and says it’s one of the nicest things I have ever said to him.

When I think about it, it’s really those little things that sometimes mean the most. I try and pay attention to what I do for the special people in my life- my kids, my mom, my grandson, my family, my friends. Thoughtful and kind acts are not necessarily about great or expensive gifts. Meaningful acts of loving kindness can be simple and sweet, inexpensive and lovely.

I like to take my mother a mason jar of flowers from my yard when I visit her. Or, I take her something special from the farmer’s market- those little zucchini, an eggplant or some fresh green beans. I know how much she likes those kinds of things.

This weekend, I hope someone does something special for you and vice versa. Have a great holiday!

Does someone you know do something especially kind for you? Or do you have a great memory of a parent or loved one from your past? Here’s your chance to share it with us and give us some good ideas!

Join me on my graceful journey.
1015

Lena and Andrew

Lena and Andrew
Lena and Andrew

I had the honor of assisting at a beautiful wedding last weekend. Lena and Andrew were married in my church and there were many of us there to witness this blessed event.

As God would have it, I bumped into my friend Rita and her daughter a few months ago in a home decorating store. “Lena is getting married!” said Rita and I couldn’t help but mention that I have done detail work on many wedding ceremonies and other types of events. 🙂

Lo and behold the phone rang one day and it was Rita. She felt fine about the reception but was nervous about the wedding ceremony. Would I assist at the church? I didn’t even hesitate. “Yes, of course!” was my answer.

We met to go over the details, then time quickly flew by. Soon enough it was rehearsal then, wedding time! The bridal couple was a youthful example of shining love…like a beacon that Hands Twowarmed and reminded us of our own days gone by. Lena and Andrew were a lovely couple and a bit old fashioned (which I loved!). They did not want to see each other before the ceremony! No pictures together….just one intimate moment in which they grasped hands from around a corner, while photographers snapped away, capturing the moment.

Instead of a choir, Lena and Andrew wanted cantors. I wondered how this would unfold and I have to say it took my breath away when the bride and her father walked down the aisle, to a heavenly host of voices singing from the front altar. It felt very traditional and different all at the same time!

As the guests sprinkled the newly married couple with white rose petals, I felt blessed to be part of such a beautiful event. There is that moment of satisfaction when you know that everything came together the way it should be, for a couple who are loved and wished all the best.

Do you have a favorite memory of a blessed event? Share it with me!

Join me on my graceful journey.
1015

Love Is Like A Rock

I’ve been staying at my mom’s on and off during her recovery. Recently, we watched the movie “Hope Springs” together. Have you seen it? The movie stars Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones in a marriage gone stale. It was quite the interesting story if you ask me.

Without giving too much away, Meryl Streep decides after 31 years of marriage (and separate bedrooms), she wants more. Tired of no intimacy and the same routine day in and day out, she decides to challenge the status quo and sign up for a marriage enrichment program in a town called Hope Springs. Her husband says he is not going, blah blah blah, but (much to Meryl’s delight) he shows up for the plane departure.

Husband Tommy has plenty of money but they stay at the EconoLodge. He sleeps on the pull out couch while Meryl sleeps in the bed. The poor psychologist has his work cut out for himself as Tommy flings verbal hatred at him. But I know what’s really going on. Poor ol’ Tommy is in deep seated fear. Fear of change. Fear of feeling real love.

I know there are many troubled marriages and relationships in the world. I’m sure this movie caused some people to squirm in their seats. I am one of the lucky ones. I felt no uncomfortable-ness. I “hoped” for them and the repair of their marriage.

My Favorite Picture of Jim and I! Taken by my sister, Cally Jamis Vennare
My Favorite Picture of Jim and Me! Taken by my sister, Cally Jamis Vennare

Jim and I certainly do not have the perfect relationship. We are only human and only God is perfect. We do however, have the “tools in our toolbox” to work most issues out. And we have had some big issues in the nearly 33 years of being together.

As any couple in a long term relationship will tell you, it is not about who is squeezing the toothpaste tube from the bottom or who makes the bed better. A couple who has been together for a while knows how to pick their battles. The real secret to relationship happiness, I’ve come to believe, is not to lose yourself in the process.

Though my marriage has been through many ups and downs over the years, there was a period about seven years ago when I finally became comfortable with who I was. At that point, my unreasonable expectations of Jim fell away. I was responsible for myself and he was stuck loving me the way I was. Thankfully, he loves me as I am. And I love him for who he is.

I believe this unconditional love is the secret to happiness…in anything. Point my finger, tell you how to do it better and I make you miserable. Focus on myself and what my needs are and my life becomes my responsibility. Focusing on what my husband may or may not be doing is not the answer. Loving him for who he realistically is….this is the secret to a happy marriage.

When my mom was ill in the hospital this past winter, Jim was my rock. He endured my tears, fears, tantrums and joys. He was there every step of the way. I called him My Rock on numerous occasions and I still believe this. Without him to lean on, I would have been lost.

On May 10, Jim and I were married 32 years. May you be blessed to have (or to have had) someone in your life, spouse or likewise, who means as much to you. I believe in my heart we are all worthy of unconditional love, not only from others but especially from the God of our own understanding.

Welcome Daily Prompt Readers! Is there someone in your life who is your rock? It doesn’t have to be a spouse! Who can you be yourself with but yet lean on in times of stress?

Join me on my graceful journey.
1015