Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dancing

"I'm glad you're not one of those girls who runs away and expects the guy to know whether or not he's supposed to follow."
"I do run, though. Just never very far. A couple of steps, then I stop and wait for you to catch up, then a couple more steps and I stop..."
"If you do that while holding hands it's called dancing."

Scott and I have, for no particular reason, spent the last several days discussing this list (PDF). As of late this afternoon we'd made it halfway down page 2 and we pretty much agree on everything; so far our biggest challenge seems to be remembering not to nag. (Which is my challenge, actually. Scott does not nag. I suppose he might have a corresponding challenge but I'm not going to bother identifying it because it's not my job to change him. Plank in your own eye and all that.)

One of the most interesting discussions, at least to me, was the one we had this afternoon on the basic responsibilities of the wife and of the husband. The consensus so far seems to be that earning money (so we can buy food and stuff like that) is Scott's basic responsibility, and keeping small humans alive is my basic responsibility. Everything else we categorized as a "joint operation" (Scott's term). This covered everything from teaching the kids to cleaning the house. Now, "joint operation" doesn't mean "everything must be split 50/50." It just means that we contribute to a given area according to our abilities.

A part of me thinks we ought to have a chore chart or something that is more concrete than "Well, we both pitch in as we can." And perhaps there will be seasons in our lives when we need the structure and clear-cut divisions of a chore chart. The key word in that sentence, though, is seasons. Life is not a static thing. Marital and familial dynamics are not static things.

There will be times when I have everything under control and then a strict 50/50 split would do me no good because it would make me feel like Scott owes me something if I am able to do more than that 50 percent. And that's not a good attitude to have. I'd rather think, on those efficient days, that I am choosing to serve my husband to the absolute maximum of my capacity, without counting the cost or keeping score. Because to one who loves, service is joy.

There will be other times when I have nothing under control--either because I am simply having a bad day or because something like a new baby has for a season rendered me incapable of much more than the basic "keep small humans alive." And those days I will let Scott do more than his fair share, and not complain or scold him (I really am a nag; I nag him about being nice to me) because to one who loves, service is joy.

Life isn't standing still. Life is moving back and forth, sometimes faster, sometimes slower. Life is trying really hard not to fall down.

And if you do it while holding hands it's called dancing.

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