Taylor and I have been married for seven months today.
Seven months, in the grand scheme of life, is not a long time. But, when you spend every day with another person, it’s definitely enough time to learn a few things you didn’t know before.
Hands down, the most-asked question I’ve received in the last seven months is,
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned since being married?
My answer to that question goes like this:
Taylor and I are two completely different people. We can start with the biological fact that he is male, and I am female. That would be enough to work through in itself. But on top of that, we come from different family backgrounds, lived in different places, had different experiences growing up, began following Jesus at different times. We have different passions and different ways of expressing them. We often move through life at two different speeds.
We both have our stuff, our own baggage that we bring into the relationship and it’s in direct relation to our life experiences thus far. That’s to be expected.
There’s only one small problem: I wasn’t there while Taylor was growing up. I didn’t see the family dynamics, or go on the vacations, or date the girls. And Taylor wasn’t there to watch my life unfold either. We have little first-hand reference for each other’s past and just because you get married doesn’t mean you automatically gain a mind-reading, heart-reading skill. Understanding where Taylor is coming from, how those experiences affect him, and how he sees life does not come naturally.
It’s like looking at the same landscape through two different lenses. Mine are blue, and his are red. In theory, I can see that his are red. But when he starts describing the trees as a reddish-brown color, I look at him like he’s crazy, and indignantly argue that no, the trees are in fact a dark-blue color. No matter how hard we try, the color of our lenses won’t change. His lenses won’t turn blue because I want them to be. And mine aren’t red because that would be easier.
We are viewing the same life, through two different lenses. Our experiences have colored the way we see everything in this life.
Yet, we are doing this marriage thing. We are working to become one. To be united with each other. To work together, to help one another grow. And what I’m learning is that being one does not mean being the same.
I’m learning that our differences are necessary things. That patience is so so key in conversations. That most of the time I need to listen first, speak later. That trying to make his lenses blue instead of red just isn’t fair to him. That working to understand why Taylor thinks the trees are reddish-brown is of higher priority than trying to make him agree with me that they are dark blue.
I have to remind myself daily that we are on the same team. That our marriage is largely about understanding each other’s lenses, and helping to filter them. To see what’s true and what’s not. And little by little, we’ll learn how our lenses actually work together… not against each other… to give us a more complete picture of the lens of life as Jesus sees it.