Moments of truth never come at opportune times. They are more likely to hit you up side the head, land you flat on your back, and then steamroll you. I’ve personally wished my moments of truth would come a little more painlessly, but come they must.
Such as the day I realized I had not married my father.
My father and I have always had a great relationship. One of my good memories is the hours we spent together driving to and from work an hour from home. He was the nursing home administrator – I was the dish washer. I have always respected my father and that respect has only grown over time. He was full of wisdom when I needed it, although in my teens I didn’t always want to hear it. Yet I still listened.
Then I got married.
Life was full of roses until well into the first year of our marriage. Over time I began to realize that I was getting advice when I hadn’t even asked for it. Advice that I knew my own father would not say. Advice that I didn’t think had been well-thought out.
I also began to see decisions being made that I knew my father would not make. They were not necessarily bad, just not something my father would have done because he didn’t hold an interest in that particular area.
Then there came the day that this thought dared to enter my head:
“Who is this little pipsqueak that makes such decisions and expects me to submit?” (Never mind the very over-looked fact that I was an even younger pipsqueak than him.)
After that it was only natural that it should come out of my mouth:
“But that’s not the way my dad did it!”
“My dad wouldn’t say that’s true. This is what my dad says . . .”
“Are you sure? My dad doesn’t think so.”
And I’d see a wall come up in my husband’s eyes.
Then came my moment of truth. It was like a big dump truck had been coming at me, tooting its horn, but I didn’t want to hear it. Until it arrived and flattened me.
Kendra, you did not marry your father.
In all my holier-than-thou thoughts and unsubmissive attitude, I had forgotten that my father had willingly given me to my husband on that sweet day of July 31, 1999. Instructed to “leave and cleave”, I had done the cleaving – but forgot the leaving.
I can say after almost 15 years of marriage, that I am so glad my moment of truth came when it did. Had I let that attitude fester and grow, I would have ruined my marriage.
These are just a few truths I’ve learned since then:
- Let your husband become a man in his own right. Sure, he will make mistakes and beat his head against the wall many times. But he needs room to grow and he simply can’t if you’re squelching it. What he will need is for you to hand over the bandaids when he’s hit his head one too many times.
- Stop the comparison. Your father should still be respected for all his wisdom and loved for being your precious father, but he is not your husband. Men are competitive, in case you haven’t noticed. And you will only cause rifts in your relationship with your husband by constantly comparing him to your father.
- Believe in him. He probably won’t start out making the best decisions, but life is a learning adventure. And your husband didn’t come to you with all his finer points intact – especially if you married young. But he has enormous potential to become somebody great – just like you . . . which leads me to the next point.
- Remember that you are not perfect either. For all the times you probably are thinking your husband is immature in his decisions, there’s a good chance he’s thought it of you. Neither one of us entered into marriage knowing then what we know now. It took life to teach us a few things, especially with a few hard knocks.
- He is your buddy to grow up and have fun with. As you can see from the picture above, we have learned how to have fun together. However, we’ve not entirely grown up either!
After I set aside my expectations that my husband was, in some ways, entirely different from my father, it seemed as though I could breathe again. I could learn to enjoy the learning phases, the stepping stones, and the mud puddles we found ourselves in.
So am I thankful for that moment of truth that steamrolled me? Absolutely. My husband is too!