Tuesday, March 17, 2009
...when you're having fun.
Wednesday, March 18th, will mark the three year anniversary to my marriage to Mr. Jeffrey Carl Pinto. We've been through a lot over the past three years, some good and some bad, and all of it a grand adventure. We have definitely learned a lot. Maybe Jeff will tell you someday what he has learned, but I won't speak for him. I'll share a few things I have learned.
1. God's plan for my marriage is not to make me happy; it's to make me holy. This was God's plan for my life in singleness, too, by the way. I am still tempted to look to Jeff (or coerce him, on my really bad days) to be the source of my satisfaction or peace. Long story short, it doesn't work. He feels stepped on and manipulated, and I feel greater frustration as a result of the coercion process. When I remember to let Jeff be himself, and let me be myself, and let God be God...things go easier for me. And then guess what happens? I'm happier! Funny how that works, huh? For a more detailed conversation on this topic, please see The DNA of Relationships by Gary Smalley.
2. I decide how I view my differences with my partner. My pastor's wife shared this bit of wisdom with us during pre-engagement counseling (back in the day, I was a little freaked by the idea of marriage, and pre-engagement counseling was one extra step we took). This is basically it: character traits are neutral; they are neither good nor evil. We sometimes unconsciously attribute moral judgments to them, but they are just simply that - our judgements. The biggest difference Jeff and I have is how we make decisions. He prefers to take his time, think/talk through every option, and sometimes even make the decision in such a way that it can be reversed if he wants to explore another option. I prefer to quickly survey available information, maybe consult one or two other people, and then make a decision based primarily on my gut feeling. We are both pretty successful and sane people, so our individual decision-making processes helped us just fine when we were single. But we're not single; we're married.
Now. This is where I decide how to view Jeff. There is always a positive light and a negative light. The positive light is that he is methodical, thorough, and very concerned with being a wise steward of what God gave him. The negative light involves words like passive, indecisive, distractible. It's obvious which perspective will support my marriage, and which perspective will harm it. Conversely, Jeff could say that I am impulsive, reckless, or even foolish for making such quick decisions. Instead, he sees (we both see) the Lord's hand in us being put on the same team. And we strive to find balance and to help each other grow into more well-rounded people. I am thankful for such an amazing friend!
I am also thankful for God giving us that wisdom via our pastor's wife before we even got married.
3. I really am more in love today than I was three years ago. And not in the way I would expect. It's like now I have more data to support the feelings I had then (we're great for each other; he's always so kind; we have so much fun). Those feelings/thoughts were true then, but after three years, I can tell you I believe them all the more.
I love you, Jeff, and I can't think of anyone else with whom I would want to share this life more than you. You are my rock, and I admire you more than you know.
I love you, stud!