Friday, June 11, 2010

Getting to Know You

I visited with a couple who just had a big argument. The husband (I’ll call Harry) had made an important decision without consulting his wife (Mary). When Mary found out, she was furious. I asked Harry why he hadn’t talked to his wife before making this decision. He answered that he knew she would disagree but he felt it was the right decision. As we visited more, it turned out that Mary actually agreed with the decision. She was just upset about not being consulted, about not being part of the decision making. Apparently Harry didn’t know his wife as well as he thought he did.

How well do you know your spouse? Sometimes we get so caught up in our own world that we don’t really take the time to get to know who the person is that we married. Sometimes we assume they think just like we do and if they don’t, they're wrong. And yet, we didn’t marry “ourself”. We married someone else. In fact, we chose someone who had qualities we believed (either consciously or unconsciously) would help us grow and develop and become a more complete person.

Sometimes we assume we know our spouses but maybe we don't really know them as well as we think we do. When was the last time, for example, that you asked your husband for his opinion or your wife for her input? When they answered (if they weren’t completely speechless) did you listen to learn – genuinely wanting to know how they felt about things? And, if they felt differently than you, did you carefully consider what you could learn from them?

Marriage is a wonderful opportunity to become more together than either of us could become separately. It’s grafting two plants into one to make a stronger, healthier, sweeter fruit.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Rose is a Rose is a Rose

I love seeing all the flowers that are in bloom – the pink and red roses, the purple pansies, the yellow daisies and so many more! It’s amazing how many different kinds and colors of flowers there are! Each one has its own charm and together they bring a special kind of gladness to our hearts.

It’s interesting that as we look at flowers, we never say “Red rose, you should be violet. What’s wrong with you?” or “Daffodils, why can’t you be more like tulips?” We never say or even think things like that. We just enjoy the flowers as they are. Of course, if we see flowers that aren’t blossoming and healthy, we may think “They need more water or sunlight or some kind of caring attention.” But we don’t want or expect them to be a different kind of flower than they are.

Just like flowers, we all look different from each other and have different talents and personalities. Some of us are roses, some are tulips, some are daffodils. But we all have the potential to gladden the hearts of others and to bring beauty into the world. It seems like we spend so much time and energy comparing ourselves (and our loved ones) with others. “I wish I could be as smart as she is” or “Why doesn’t my husband buy me nice things like her husband does?” We may or may not say these things out loud but too often, we think them. And as we spend our time and energy comparing in this way, we miss out on the exquisite and unique beauty each has to offer.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could accept and appreciate ourselves and each other for who we are – like we do with flowers -- rather than comparing ourselves (or our loved ones) with others.