"....... for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust" Psalm 103:14

You say tomayto, I say tomahto


No, neither one of us is American, nevertheless getting married again in the middle of our lives has certainly highlighted some "tomayto-tomahto" differences - big ones, not-so-big ones, and relatively insignificant ones as well, but all of them needing some careful navigation at times.

Years of laying foundations
We were 47 and 49 when we said "I do", bringing with us 96 combined years of life experience and ingrained habits. Some of these habits had come about through years of having different married lives with other spouses (a total of 36 years, in fact). Others of them had developed during our "single again" years, and out of the necessities that arise when you become a single parent.

As we encountered these differences, we needed to have grace towards each other as we negotiated how we would do things now that we were married to each other. Some things needed no compromise - we could each continue as we had, it didn't really matter. Other things definitely needed some discussion and negotiation. You can work out for yourself which ones were which (and you may be right.......... or not)!

Folding the towels
My hubby folds the towels in a strange way. Completely wrong, of course. I fold the towels in the only possible logical, sensible, and RIGHT way. When I take towels out of the cupboard, towels that he has folded, I have to refold them in order to hang them (the way I like them) on the bathroom towel rail. It's just one of those things. We've discussed it and laughed about it, and he still does it his way and I still do it my way. A minor irritation (for me), and not at all an issue (for him).

Washing sharp knives
I'm pretty casual about washing dishes. I do them, often, but my modus operandi is to throw everything into the sink, add super hot water and lots of detergent, pop on some rubber gloves, then fish around in the suds for various items. Sharp knives notwithstanding. Then I have a habit of leaving them to "air dry" in the draining rack (blades down...... ummm, most of the time).

My husband, on the other hand, likes to wash the knives separately, carefully, and dry them immediately, carefully, and put them away in their special storage block, carefully. And I have to give him credit here. He has never once growled at me for leaving sharp knives in the sink, to be discovered later by his usually-gloveless hands when he comes to take over the dishwashing from me. Ooops.

Pegs
Wooden or plastic? Outside or inside? These are the BIG questions! I'm a wooden pegs girl. He's a plastic pegs guy. I have always kept pegs in a peg bin to be taken in and out with me and the washing. He keeps them in this basket-y thing that hangs from the clothesline, and they stay out permanently - rain, hail or shine. It used to drive me nuts, because I moved into his, and the pegs were already there, hanging outside on the clothesline. I tried to bring about change, but it was fruitless. They would just reappear outside on the line.

These days this is one I've just let go. So while I do hate the way outside pegs go chalky (plastic) or discoloured and brittle (wooden), at the end of the day, hey, THEY'RE JUST PEGS! How critical can it really be? I think the budget can stretch to a new packet. Of wooden pegs. That will go in and out with the washing...........

Which side of the bed?
Years of sleeping on the right side of the bed. And I mean YEARS. Versus years of sleeping on the right side of the bed. And then a few years of, if not on the right side of the bed, then sleeping spread-eagled diagonally across the ENTIRE bed. Just because he could. Oh dear.

Yep, this one was always going to be an interesting discussion, but actually it wasn't too challenging to settle. He just crumpled in the face of my superior logic and quickly adapted to sleeping on the left, lol. He still likes to spread-eagle whenever he gets the chance, but that's not often these days!

Keeping odd hours
During his "single again" years, his years of being a single dad of 3 fairly young children, and running his own business, my husband got into the habit of keeping fairly, shall we say, unhealthy hours. He would be up with the kids in the morning, getting them off to school, then himself off to work. Home to cook dinner, supervise homework, then finally some peace and quiet, and time for............ admin!! Necessary in a small business.

But sometimes this admin time didn't start until 10 or 11 at night, and went on into the wee hours. Not my idea of a good time (9.30 bedtime girl that I am), and something we both agreed needed to change. These days he is much happier and healthier keeping my kind of hours...... and I do his admin. Win win!!

Horizontal surfaces
Oh, this one could take a while.......... but suffice to say, in our old, unrenovated house, there was so little storage that when I met him almost every horizontal surface in the house was cluttered with stuff. He has a love affair with horizontal surfaces (and, dare I say, a love affair with stuff.........). It's a given that if there is a clear surface available, he will be ever-so-tempted to put things on it. Still. We're working on this, and he's getting better at putting things away, now that we've renovated and things actually have a home. But it's a process, and some old habits die really hard.......

Gift giving
This one didn't really come to light until our first Christmas. When we planned to bring all our kids together for a Christmas breakfast. And gifts for all.

What?? Did you say "calendar"??

Horrified would be to put it mildly. I'd never heard anything so ludicrous. You give your kids a calendar?? For Christmas?? And that's it???

Yes, this one took a bit of negotiating. Because my end of the spectrum was quite some way from calendar! I LOVE gift shopping. And okay, maybe I go a little overboard, but historically it's been part of the joy of Christmas for me to shop with great delight for my boys and other loved ones. In their childhoods especially - lots of little bits and pieces in their stockings from "Santa" and a larger gift from mum and dad.

So, new stepfamily, and we had to find a happy medium, especially as the kids became adults. Now I buy less (but it's hard), he buys more (but it's hard). Okay then. We're getting there with this one, but that first Christmas was quite the challenge.

Lots of differences, big and small
There are other (probably many) "tomayto-tomahto" differences, some big, some small, and we're working through them as we trip over discover them.

It's part of the joy and the challenge of a new midlife marriage, and one of the many ways God is using to grow our trust in Him as our sovereign Lord and the author and sustainer of our faith and our marriage, and also to grow in understanding, acceptance and love for each other.

6 comments

  1. It's not just Midlife marriage that has its compromises Sue - we've been married for 35yrs and still have things we do differently. Pegs - plastic, but I match my peg colours - I canNOT hang something out with mismatched pegs - he laughs and deliberately chooses different colours! We're both minimalists so clutter isn't a problem but he's an early bird and I'm more of an owl - so bedtime is often different for both of us. And sheet folding - my way is SO much better! Your post gave me a smile for the day :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha Leanne, yes I'm fairly sure compromises will be a thread that runs through our marriage too, at least I hope so!! I love that your husband teases you with the pegs - demonstrates that he holds that one with an open hand, lol.
      Happy to provide some levity in your day xx

      Delete
  2. Yep, this is definitely what marriage is like! There are so many "tomayto-tomahto" differences and it can be so hard not to get hung up on them and insist that one way is right! Because really, when it comes to plastic or wooden pegs - WHO CARES?!?! Haha! But if one thing will make you care about a silly thing like that, it's being married to a person with the opposite opinion...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true! It wouldn't be a problem at all if the other person didn't care, would it??
      Some of these are quite light-hearted and humorous, of course, but there are also plenty that are more serious issues, and that's where grace comes in - both giving and receiving. Marriage is definitely a stretching and growing journey for us sinners, isn't it??

      Delete
  3. Loved your post. We started early so much of it is ironed out now, but little differences still come up.
    Kathleen
    Blogger's Pit Stop

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure they always will Kathleen, and hopefully we all get much better at dealing with these differences with grace and love! Thanks for reading and commenting xx

      Delete

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this post. Please feel free to leave a comment!