Thursday, January 8, 2015

Why my husband is so much more than a "partner"

I've had the privilege of being off work the past couple of weeks for Christmas and vacation time and getting to spend a big chunk of that time with Trevor. His new calling means he's going to be quite a bit busier and I'm conscious that once I go back to work next week, our time together will become a lot more precious. We had our 27th wedding anniversary just over a week ago and it made me reflect a lot.

Our world is very fond of the word partner in politically correct circles. Lately I've been conscious that the term is a little too dispassionate and clinical for what's really going on in our relationship. One of my favourite definitions of the term is probably the most archaic - a prudent and thrifty manager. Because ultimately, that's what he does for me. He moderates my excesses, helps me remember that caution can be a good thing, does the practical thing when I don't feel like it. I may be decisive and get things done, but he more often does them right. I need that. He is my balance. He completes me. There are times I worry that he is too good, too perfect. He doesn't seem to struggle with some of the weaknesses that plague me - like eating the wrong things, being a little self-indulgent, needing more sleep than most people. And every so often something happens that reminds me that he needs my balance as badly as I need his, but that I need to make sure I'm doing it in the right way.

More than a month ago there was a mishap in the kitchen involving his favourite spatula. He'd laid it down on the stove to grab something and it slid into the lit gas burner. He was very upset. We have other spatulas, so it wasn't the end of the world. It came from IKEA and cost less than $2. But he really liked that one. He liked the size and dimension of it. It felt comfortable in his hand and so he usually wanted that particular utensil when he was cooking. I would ordinarily just commiserate and then toss the item into the recycling bin and make a note to replace it the next time we were in that neck of the woods. I figured we'd move on. But not my husband. He carefully cut away the damage and persisted in trying to use it anyway. A couple of weeks later I bought him a replacement exactly the same from IKEA. Well, not exactly the same. The new version was green. I should have known at that moment it might be an issue. We took it home and I assumed the old spatula could finally be put to rest. Nope. It miraculously reappeared a few days ago, symmetrically trimmed now. He was so proud of that ridiculous spatula that was somehow still usable. The irritated part of my brain wanted to steal the spatula and make sure it ended up at the bottom of the recycling bin never to return again, but the other part of my brain said wait a minute. What is really going on here? 

Trevor forms attachments that are long-lasting. It's why he doesn't part with things he appreciates until they are well and truly past usefulness. I don't have that mind set. He will persist with something damaged or broken, forcing/willing it to keep going. And when I look at that stupid spatula, I can see that he is willing to do that with the people in his life too. When he decides you are important to him, he will do whatever it takes to keep you in his life in whatever capacity you can manage. For years I have thought it was part of my responsibility to wean him from the broken things he clings to, and perhaps that's true in some part, but I also see that the very characteristic that makes him perfect for imperfect me is also the thing I have to be careful not to destroy. Because I know with absolute certainty that he would never do that to me. There will never come a time when he will toss me to the curb because he wants a new one. 

I see now after 27 years that I need his stability and acceptance more than ever. A partner is someone you choose to work with toward a common objective. A partner tosses out a dysfunctional utensil. Trevor chose me to be in his life forever, and his core deep loyalty and commitment will make him do whatever it takes to keep me there. He is unfailingly patient with me. My challenge is going to be learning to be consistently a wife instead of a partner. Instead of making snap decisions about the things that he's hanging onto, perhaps I should make sure I'm paying attention to what he's really saying in wanting to hang onto something. Because every HUSBAND deserves a WIFE.  

1 comment:

  1. I liked this a lot. I, too, develop attachments to certain things and am reticent to let go. I'd like to say it's a guy thing, but I think it's more of a combination of a guy thing and a generational thing, as I find that younger males tend to be more willing to let attachments slide, which is unfortunate.