Thursday, October 11, 2012

Marriage is a Team Sport

Tomorrow's Fall Back Into Faith will highlight faith and marriage, and as I prepared, my mind's hamster wheel started spinning.  Well, preparing tomorrow's post AND watching Date Night triggered the spinning. 

Have you seen this movie?  It's hysterical.  Tina Fey and Steve Carrell go out for a "fancy" date night in Manhattan and end up getting chased around by criminals.  In between all the hilarity, there are some golden nuggets about marriage. 

My favorite scene unfolds in the middle of the movie.  The husband drives as they "discuss" an encounter they just had.  I tried earnestly, to no avail, to find the clip of this scene because me typing the dialogue will not do it justice (rent this movie if you're married with kids!).   The husband asks why she "lit up like a sparkly sparkle" for a super hot guy played by Mark Wahlberg.  In response, she says, "Oh yeah right, I keep forgetting to light up for you!  Why is that?"  Then she launches into a rant about the endless list of things she has to do when she gets home from work that include much of what each of us working wives and moms face - making meals, picking up kids, running kids to soccer, doing laundry, washing dishes, getting kids bathed and ready for bed. 

The husband has a total movie perfect response:  I know you work hard honey.  But you know what would make all the hard work easier?  ME!  If you would just trust me enough to handle things once in a while, but no, you don't, you have to do it all yourself, YOUR way!  You've got me screwing up before I even have a chance to come through for you.  If you would just let me do something for you, I think I would surprise you, I really think I would.  I KNOW I WOULD. 

I hit pause.  Rewound.  Listened to that again.  A screaming indictment.

You can just feel the frustration poring out of each of their bodies as she drowns in the busyness and drudgery of suburbia and he battles a growing sense of stress and disconnectedness and ineptitude. 

I will admit, I do things a certain way.  I have been this way my whole life.  Then I become entirely overwhelmed by all the things on my task list.  This morning I had two hours to get the kids to the doctor for their flu shot, drop them at school, return three things at different stores, fill the car with gas, pick up dry cleaning, and get back to their school for a parent storytime.  Since making an appearance at the school storytime for parents (that clearly do not work) meant getting to the office at noon, I have to work late tonight to play catch up.  That means I won't have time tonight to tick a few more things of my laundry list.

I don't know about you, but I stay in an almost constant state of near-depletion. 

But I have a partner.  He wants to help.  Plus, he's pretty good at it.  He does things differently than I do, no doubt, but the kids adore their father and I do too. 

I heard a mom correct another mom the other day when she said her husband was babysitting the kids - she said, "He's not babysitting.  They are HIS kids too." 

I wrote a post a while back based on wise words from my husband - he said, I don't mind you telling me to go to San Antonio, I just don't want you telling me how to get there

So today is just a gentle reminder for those of you who struggle with the same things that I do in my married with kids life.  Trust your husband to handle things once in a while.  And then let him do it.  His way.  Marriage, especially one with kids, IS a team sport. 

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