I recently wrote about some of the things I won’t do for my wife no matter how much I love her. While I was thinking about the things I won’t do for my wife, I knew the concept wouldn’t go over well with everyone. I’m never going to get everyone to agree or like everything I write that’s just the reality of the Internet. It’s just not going to happen. The community of the Internet criticizes and disagrees with pretty much everything on the Internet as if it is some kind of sporting contest, but for that piece I knew there would be more critical responses than normal.
Sure enough, one of the first comments to that post was about how that post makes me “look like an ass.” First off, I’m not criticizing the person who wrote the comment, because I don’t disagree with the comment. Some of the things on that list, like having Casey wait to go to the hospital until the Super Bowl is over, is one of those things that makes me look pretty bad. My love of football in general and the Broncos specifically is something that will make me look selfish pretty often. But the question is if it is okay and normal for me to have interests that make me look selfish as a spouse? In other words, does a marriage require each spouse to give up everything in the name of selflessness, or is a little selfishness okay and healthy for a marriage?
Marriage is a relationship of give and take. There are things I must give and do for my wife in order to make her happy. When she leaves town for her career, I must step in and take care of the kids without any help. When I have an upcoming trial or deadline, Casey steps in and takes care of the kids in the evenings so I can stay late at work. We’ve been married long enough that we don’t even have to talk to each other about getting some extra help at home when our schedules get too busy; we just know it must be done because we both have jobs.
The give and take extends into less important areas of our marriage like with the temperature of the house. Casey knows I prefer it colder in the house during the winter (and I like smaller gas bills), so she wears extra clothing around the house. I know that Casey likes to be warm at night so I make sure not to disturb the little nest of warmth she creates around herself in our bed. I’ve also gotten used to her wearing footy jammies to bed. When it comes to candy, Casey prefers the blue Air Heads and I prefer the watermelon Air Heads and we both save those flavors for each other usually.
Casey refuses to take out potatoes that have grown the tentacles or eyes. It freaks her out the way that spiders freak me out. I know that if there is a sack of potatoes in the pantry with eyes growing out of them I need to take them out before Casey stumbles across them. Touching potato eyes is not something Casey will do for me. She also won’t eat the spicy food I cook, just like I won’t eat her peach ice cream. Casey doesn’t like to be interrupted during So You Think You Can Dance just like I don’t like to be interrupted during a football game. There’s give and take everywhere in our marriage and weigh the importance of the take when it comes to the give from the other.
This type of stuff goes on and on in our marriage, and I’m guessing it goes on and on in pretty much every marriage and in my opinion that’s okay. One spouse shouldn’t have to give up all interests so that the other spouse can have everything he/she wants. Instead, it should be a give and take between both spouses in order to create a healthy and happy relationship. In order to have the give in the marriage relationship, you have to have the take. There has to be some selfishness in marriage in order for one spouse to sacrifice on behalf of the other spouse. Because Casey is willing to make some sacrifices while football is on the TV, I get to have some extra happiness, and because I’m willing to give up some time in the evening so Casey can watch her silly reality modeling shows, Casey gets to have a little extra happiness at night, and in my opinion that’s what marriage is about.
And in the end, if my list makes me look like an ass to others, well, I didn’t marry you. I married a lady who is okay with my selfish side and I’m okay with her selfish side oh, and she’s pretty.
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