Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances:

 if there is any reaction, both are transformed.

Carl Jung

Friday afternoon was spent baking cupcakes for a fundraiser at Kiddo's school. Baking has become a very thoughtful activity for me, unintentionally. Perhaps it's the quiet rhythm to what I'm doing. Perhaps my mind is free to wander, which would explain my propensity to put in too much or too little of an ingredient. Either way, it has become a time to ruminate about many aspects of life.


I preheated the oven and began whipping up some cupcake batter. At first it smelled like something was burning on the bottom of the oven, and I ignored it. A few minutes later I looked up to see a kitchen full of haze. I opened the sliding glass door (did I mention it's 5 degrees outside?) and turned on the hood fan. Upon opening the oven, I see that Husband must have been cooking bacon last weekend. There lies a smoldering, smoking baking sheet on the oven rack.

I cleaned up the mess and continued to prep. Then the thinking started. Oh, I'm going to let him have it when he calls. He could have burned the house down! He never gets little presents like this from me! And of course, it spiraled from there.

I got to thinking: Could the yin and yang effect of differing personalities in a relationship be hurting us personally? 

My husband is Mr. Social. I tend to be more shy, thoughtful, and introverted. He takes things for what they appear to be. I analyze, and analyze some more. Over the past 9 years, he's brought me out of my shell and I've brought him down to earth. He has a terrible memory. I can't forget anything. I initiate big projects around the house, he (often grudgingly) gets on board and makes them better than they would have been had I done them on my own. We had completely different upbringings. We cancel out each others vote come November. My point is, we bring two opposing personalities and perspectives into our relationship, and that has a lot to do with what makes us great.


But today I realized that it also keeps us from growing personally in a lot of ways:  Will you call that guy? You're SO much better with people than I am. That's why you pay the bills. You are SO much better at remembering things. Oh yeah, I totally forgot. I thought you had it.

In this way I think we unintentionally take each other for granted, and it has the effect of stunting our personal growth outside of the relationship. His strengths have become my crutches and vice versa. We don't change our ways because we have another person to compensate for our shortcomings. It's as if we forget, in the moment, that there is a me and a him, not just an us. And us doesn't work if we don't expand as individuals.

Source: cae2k.com via Peggy on Pinterest

Mario will apologize for almost burning the house down, but it will definitely happen again. Or at least something similar. Because I'm there to clean up the mess. And before you start thinking this is a my-gosh-darn-husband post, let me make something clear: I am equally at fault. I leave plenty of little metaphorical (and literal) messes for him to clean up.

I should suck it up and call the electrician because it is important for me to know what needs to be done to install new bathroom fans. I should be able to haggle over prices. So what if I look stupid? Do I really want to be that girl that has her husband handle everything for her? That could not be further from me. I was independent before meeting Mario, and perhaps more so now. Age, maturity, and learning to live in my own skin can have that effect. So since when did I stop taking the bull by the horns? In some areas of life I simply didn't have to.

Mario has traveled for most of our marriage, so I handled all the day-to-day things. Pull start the snow blower? Heck, yeah. Un-stick a car from a snow pile? Yep. Handle Kiddo's ups and downs by myself? You betcha. Balance school, home, and everything in between? That's me.

Part of it has to do with the fact he's gone so much. He should have to help out around here...my job is just as hard as his BUT I have everything else to manage at the same time. That unintentional tit-for-tat mentality is no good. But the other, perhaps bigger part, has to do with the fact that I have someone to take care of life's uncomfortable moments for me. That has to stop, too.

In the end I still think our differences are a good thing. As long as we don't use each other as an excuse not to leave our comfort zones.



Linking up:

6 comments:

  1. Hi from Mingle Monday! And wow! Great post! So many times I think we feel as though once we get married and find "the one" everything will come together perfectly. You'll think, live, and breath like one person. Which... in theory, yes. In reality - yes and no. You're still two individuals. I think you have a great handle on realizing that you work together and your differences make you stronger, but you're still you, and you still need to get out of your comfort zone instead of him taking over for you. And vise versa.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marriage is work...but good work. A lot of it is working on ourselves, I think, so that we can be better in every aspect of our lives (including our relationship). I sometimes notice that I use my husband as a human shield, protecting me from uncomfortable social situations, etc. I love that he's there to do the hard things for me, but realize that it shouldn't be at the expense of my personal growth. Thank you for your lovely comment!

      Delete
  2. What a beautiful post that I loved!

    ReplyDelete
  3. What does Mario do for work? Noel travels often as well.

    I'm so glad I read this, because Noel and I are actually pretty opposite as well. I think it works really well for us. His strengths are my weaknesses and vice versa which helps us keep each other in line!

    ReplyDelete
  4. My husband and I are very opposite with certain things as well. He's much more outgoing and extroverted while I am very shy. Over the years we've been together we've helped balance each other out as well. It's fun to see what an effect we've had on each other and how we've helped each other to learn and grown! Loved this post!

    ReplyDelete

Comments make my heart go pitter-patter. Make sure you are not a no-reply blogger!