Friday, October 15, 2010

Thinking About Ordinary

My wife seemed shocked.

Somehow, the words I'd just spoken really didn't compute. They made sense to me, in fact they even felt like pearls of wisdom. But to her, they were totally foreign.

"I always thought that was weird," she said.

Now it was my turn to be surprised. Weird? How could she see something so sensible, so correct, so ordinary as weird? On what planet would my suggestion be weird? How could any marriage function abiding by any other rules?

I grew watching my parents fight. Not with fists, but with angry, harsh words. I vowed I would never repeat that mistake.

But, I also grew up watching my parents work at staying married. And they weren't shy about telling my brother and I about their work. They explained the compromises, the agreements. I learned mostly through observation and direct questioning. Slowly, a worldview developed, a blueprint for marriage that I took into my union.

Ah, but blueprints are only plans. Wishful thinking some might say.

Reality often differs from our blueprints. In reality, many of the things I assumed were "ordinary" were far from it. In real life, things rarely went as smoothly as I imagined despite my attempts to plan and discuss every possible eventuality. Talking before committing is a must, but words are only words, and it's actions that matter in a marriage.

Marriage has given me a different outlook on life. I'm still surprised when people see the same world I see but see it totally differently, but now I've learned how to deal with it better. That's what forever will teach you. One of the main lessons I've learned is that the unique nature of every family contributes to to unique nature of every person.

My wife and I disagree often over what is ordinary, acceptable and reasonable, and I'm sure that's common for most couples. But, it extends beyond couples. Most of the disagreements we have in life relate to differences of opinion about what is ordinary, acceptable and reasonable. Call it the Oar Effect.

More people need to admit that their worldview is just their worldview. It's important to them, but that doesn't give it any special degree of importance to the rest of the world. If we want other people to respect and appreciate our worldview, we must extend that same courtesy to others. It's ridiculous how many of us refuse to extend the same respect we demand for ourselves.

Let's make that ordinary.


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3 comments:

Deacon Blue said...

I run into this all the time in my own marriage, too, where my wife cannot see what is so clearly and irrefutably obvious to me. And at times, no amount of logic will sway her. In many cases, after the fact, when tempers have cooled, she sees at least part of my point and understands my reasoning. It doesn't always means that she signs on to my view, but sometimes she does.

I, of course, totally understand her and have never failed to accept a reasonable point of view from her that differed from me own...because...oh...all right, that part's a total lie. I'm guilty of it too.

Just easier to see when I'm on the wrong end of unreasonable attitudes and always harder to realize when I'm the unreasonable one.

I'm just glad our oars are usually going in the right direction to push us forward. I sometimes wonder how much more effective we'd have been in the world if we were always in sync in our marriage.

Big Man said...

Well, maybe when we get as deep into this thing as y'all, we'll get more in sync.

Just two very different backgrounds and worldviews man. I didn't realize how different until I said "I do."

Deacon Blue said...

With nearly 13 years under my belt now, I can say that for as many things as time makes easier, it also brings in fresh complications. Not always bad ones, but still, you'll be trying to manage balance for a long time.

Fortunately, my wife and I both share some similarity in background (both of us college-educated "middle class" children of "blue collar" parents) but on the other hand we have the cultural differences of black vs. white experiences, and no matter how "aware" I am of things, there are certain things I just won't ever understand fully (and vice versa).

All the best, Big Man. Marriage is a beautiful thing, but much like a job you enjoy going to, it's still a lot of work.

Raving Black Lunatic