Archive | April 2016

Finding freedom in fuzzy

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I don’t like wearing my glasses.

I don’t like the way they fog up when I open the oven or how they get wet when it’s raining. I hate when my hair gets stuck in the hinges and how I have to squint in the sunlight.

But this past week, after disappointing news of an eye infection, I had to wear them. For a whole week.

On day three, I got a haircut and made a new discovery. Since I didn’t want my glasses getting in the way, I took them off for the half hour or so I was in the stylist’s chair. And things got fuzzy.

I could make out my stylist’s expressions, but as for the other ladies in the salon, they might as well have been blobs … with great hair. I couldn’t tell if they were looking at me or listening in on our conversation, and therefore, I didn’t care.

I was less self-conscious than normal being in a public place because I literally couldn’t see people. It’s like they weren’t even there.

I have a tendency to wonder what people are thinking when they look at me. Do they wonder why I put that cardigan with those shoes? Do they find what I’m saying interesting or boring? What kind of person do they think I am? Are they curious what I’m thinking?

And I doubt I’m alone. Women in particular, I think, are good at judging and feeling judged, even if it’s involuntary.

But in those 30 minutes with imperfect vision, I felt like I could be myself without any concern for what others were thinking. Maybe they were listening to my conversation and silently weighing in, or maybe not. Either way, it was freeing not to care.

As the stylist finished up, I put my glasses back on and walked to the front to pay. I was suddenly aware again of all the people around me and almost missed my fuzzy vision.

Perhaps I should go near-sighted more often.

Why do you think we can be so self-conscious around other people? Is that a bad thing?

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Opposites Attract, but Similarities Keep Us Together

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Pete and I are a lot different:

  • I prefer hot weather; he prefers cold.
  • I like red; he likes blue.
  • I’m from the South; he hails from the north.
  • I refuse to own a van or station wagon; he wants both.
  • I talk a lot; he doesn’t.
  • I love books; he owns zero in our combined collection.
  • I’m terrible at recalling movie plots; he’ll remember minute details.
  • I love the beach; he’ll take the mountains.
  • I like pumpkin-flavored anything; he doesn’t.
  • He’s techie, I’m definitely not.

You get the idea.

I think there’s weight to the whole “opposites attract” thing, but without some core similarities, we’d be in trouble. I call these non-negotiables. Here are my big three:

1. Our Faith

Faith is at the foundation of who we are. It drives our morals, what we value, our worldview and how we interact with people. That’s not to say we don’t differ on a few aspects of our faith, because we do, but the heart of our beliefs remains the same.

I know couples where each person claims a different faith or spiritual outlook, and I gotta say, I personally couldn’t do it. Asking two people to do life together can be challenging as is, but I think throwing in competing faiths would be difficult because of all the areas of life it impacts. Even my past boyfriend/girlfriend relationships got hairy when conflicting religious views entered the mix.

2. Love and Respect for Each Other’s Families

Another biggie we have in common is love and respect for each other’s families. My family hasn’t always liked the guys I’ve chosen to date, and I can say there’s a huge difference between them liking the guy or not. There’s a difference in the atmosphere and in the relationship between me and them.

Now that I’ve acquired in-laws, and become an in-law, I can see why people warn newlyweds that you’re not just marrying your spouse; you’re also binding yourself to your spouse’s family. If Pete didn’t treat his family well, that could make things awkward on my end. If he had a rocky relationship with my family, I probably wouldn’t see them as much. And vice versa. Thankfully, that isn’t the case.

3. Money

Expert after expert, though, will tell you that neither faith nor in-laws are the main source of tension in a marriage. They say the No. 1 offender is money.

Pete and I occasionally vary on what we’d like to spend money on, but over the past six years, we’ve pretty much been on the same page financially. We’ve set goals and hashed out any differing opinions. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen backlash from couples being off-kilter on this, and that’s one boat I don’t want to be in.

What Are Yours?

Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth, used to say, “If two people agree on everything, one of them is unnecessary.”

Marriage doesn’t mean you’re a spittin’ image of the other person, that you have to mirror every action and thought, but for me anyway, the similarities seem to be the glue in the marriage. It’s one thing to balance each other out with your differences—he’s level-headed when I’m moody; I’m peppy when he’s had a bad day—but it’s another thing to be out of step with each other when your views on the big players in life don’t align.

No marriage is perfect, of course, but why make it harder?

What things do you and your spouse need to have in common to make your marriage work? What are your non-negotiables?