Fifteen years ago, I met my husband. A tall, athletic, quiet person, who preferred to be left alone to work on his math and economics, so he could blare punk rock as loud as his heart desired. I was a writing major, with a minor in languages to boot, and a sorority girl who loved country music and driving fast. Where his dorm room was messy, mine was organized. He rarely ventured farther than he could walk from school, and I was headed for a semester abroad. His parents were the epitome of the Cleavers. Mine were more like Ozzy and Sharon Osborn divorced and remarried with Peggy and Al Bundy.
From our first conversation I was fascinated by him and knew I had found what was missing in my life. I fell madly in love. He was who I had always been looking for. I showed him all there was in Southern California he’d been missing out on, and he confirmed that finding my faith didn’t have to mean abandoning who I was or where I came from. We bonded over Johnny Cash, episodes of The Family Guy and tattoos. We have been hopelessly devoted to one another ever since.
On my good days I call him my better half. The person who completes me. He keeps me grounded, but we can still be wild and crazy together. I know what clothes to wear to make his jaw drop, and he knows exactly what to order for me if I am in the ladies room.
On my bad days … he drives me absolutely insane.
See, falling madly in love with our polar opposite creates the magnetic attraction that pulls two people together. It’s electric, and we can’t get enough of it. At first.
Or for worse.
Because, also like magnets, when one of us gets turned around--due to stress, chaos, illness, etc.--we also can repel one another.
And our kids turn us around all the time.
Those same cute little differences that attracted us in the beginning, grew to be mild annoyances in early marriage, and can be huge, insurmountable precipices in parenting our young daughters.
I teach the girls to do chores, put their things away, eat healthy, and I tolerate their fighting as long as blood isn’t shed. Let’s just say, his perspective is VERY DIFFERENT than mine.
And our bedroom is not immune to our magnetic relationship. When we attract, we are all over one another. But, the disagreements from parenting seem to be carried in with the laundry on folding day. So, when we repel, there’s no amount of effort likely to help our bodies meet.
Here’s the thing I’ve learned that I honestly believe has saved my marriage on more than one occasion: God designed our bodies to bond in a mutually enjoyable sexual experience with our spouse! It relieves stress, re-strengthens the physical and emotional bond, is actually cardiovascular exercise, and improves self-esteem.
So, when I can humble myself enough to let go of the fact that my husband fed them gummy snacks and Cheetos (YUCK) and let them destroy my living room (REALLY?!?) in the time it took me to go grocery shopping (not exactly a trip to the spa) … and I still manage to put on that nightgown he likes, and kiss him in that spot that always results in the TV turning off and him turning on … and prioritize him over everything else … we always manage to turn our poles back into attraction mode and begin working together again.
Getting turned around is inevitable in this stage of life.
And getting turned on is necessary for getting through this stage.
And for our kids to see us working though our differences and working together toward common ground, plus attracted to and prioritizing one another, are invaluable lessons equipping them for life.
Jaime Susanne Townzen resides in Monrovia, CA with her husband and daughters. She has been a MOPS mom since 2007.