It was one of those moments that I will always remember. I was surfing through the channels, trying to find something to watch, when I paused. The sound of ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man” combined with the spectacle of huge beards and camo tuxes convinced me to stop and see what was going on. I spent the next 30 minutes in awe – “I can’t believe that I’m watching this!” From then on, we were hooked.
I enjoyed the show partly because it reminded me of my ‘good old days’ growing up on a farm in Illinois, but I knew that the show appealed to more than just my proud country boy roots. I stumbled onto the deeper reason when I was reading John and Stasi Eldredge’s book Love and War. (The Eldredges have several entries on my ‘Stuff I Like’ list.) John was talking about how hard marriage is, and he said it is like “taking Cinderella and Huck Finn, tossing them in a submarine, and closing the hatch.” For life. How’s that going to work out?!?
We Are Different!
I love the contrast of Huck Finn and Cinderella…a difference that is much more realistic than the difference between Cinderella and the prince. It seems like Cinderella and the nameless, interest-less, pretty prince would actually get along quite well over their afternoon tea. They seem compatible. But Huck Finn and Cinderella? That’s going to be a little more challenging. It dawned on me that maybe that’s why Duck Dynasty resonates so well with us! Deep down, I am Jase. I am Willy. I just happen to shave, and I’ve learned how to act civilized in order to avoid consequences. But deep down, I’m still the same as them. And deep down, every woman has that part of them that is beautiful, pampered, and on a pedestal, just the way that Kori and Missy (Willy and Jase’s wives) are portrayed. No matter how low-maintenance a girl may be, there is still a Cinderella inside her wanting to live the fairy tale. And no matter how refined and grown up the guy may be, there is still a curious and adventurous boy inside who wants to have fun. So we see our lives in theirs.
With that analogy in mind, think of how important communication is! Guys, you can’t assume that she is thinking like you would think or that she is oK with being your buddy, like one of the guys testing duck calls and making fun of each other. She is different. A lot different! Because of that, when you married her you signed up for a lifetime of clarifications, check-ups, discussions, and sharing times. This may sound overwhelming and a lot of work. And it is. But it will make your submarine adventure much more enjoyable for both of you, and it will set the crucial groundwork to prepare you for:
- Inevitable bad days and frustrations
- Temptation to break the covenant
- Temptation to give up on happiness, passively or actively
- Empty nesting (The kids are gone. “Now what do we do? And who are you, anyway?”)
- Effective ministry together
So guys, how are you doing with this? Are you putting in the time and effort to communicate well with your Cinderella? Gals, are you working hard to communicate patiently and respectfully with your Huck Finn? (Remember, this doesn’t come naturally for him!)
This week, I challenge you to take a couple baby steps in the right direction. Decide on a time when you both can concentrate on each other. Turn off the TV, iPad, and laptop and leave the smartphones in the other room. Tell the kids to vamoose, or wait until they are in bed. And talk.
- Ask about the other person’s day.
- Ask her about the last good discussion that she had with her best friend.
- Share positive stories about the kids.
- Brainstorm ideas for a fun date night or family outing.
- Reminisce about your dating days, or wedding day, or honeymoon, or when you moved into your current house/apartment.
- Ask the “So, how are we doing?” question. (This is how Dana and I plunge into the deeper discussion of how our marriage is going at the moment. Not for the faint of heart. We will blog on this later.)
Have ideas? Share them below-we all need all the help we can get!
It doesn’t have to start out very deep or ultra-meaningful. Just spend time together like you did when you were dating. I guarantee it will make your ride much more enjoyable!
Here’s to your crazy, mismatched marriage. Communicate well!