When we were dating, I loved Pete’s easy-going nature.
He loved how deeply I felt things.
Now, after more than 14 years of marriage, I find myself getting frustrated with how laid back he can be, which frequently translates into procrastination.
And he’s not all that thrilled with how deeply I feel that frustration.
It seems to me that every personality trait has a flip side. Someone who is easy-going will be prone to procrastinate (nothing is that big of a deal, right?).
Someone who feels things deeply will have a quick temper, hold grudges, and turn most days into dramas (everything is a big deal, right?).
Someone who’s funny might have trouble taking serious things seriously.
Someone who’s serious might have a hard time loosening up and having fun.
When Pete does (or doesn’t do) something that starts to get to me, I try to remember the flip side–the wonderful part of who he is that goes hand-in-hand with whatever part is upsetting me. Quite literally, I can’t have one part without the other. That doesn’t mean it’s easy for me to deal with his procrastination, or for him to deal with my tantrums. But would I love him like I do if he weren’t the calm, soothing presence that he is in my life? And would he feel the same about me if I didn’t infuse meaning into practically everything?
Next time you’re about to tear your hair out over something your loved one does or says or doesn’t do or say, take a minute to figure out the flip side, and say a prayer of thanksgiving for it. Wouldn’t hurt to thank your loved one, too.