Like Peanut Butter and Jelly

Posted on September 21, 2011 by


I have a problem enjoying the here and now.  I try to live in the moment even as my mind jumps ahead to all the things I should be doing in preparation for the next possible moment. I literally have to say to myself at times, “Stop it. Be here and enjoy this moment.”

My husband has a way of approaching life that is often very different from mine. He lives in the moment and is present in whatever is going on. Consequently, he doesn’t miss much and he has much more fun. This plays itself out in various ways in our relationship almost every day. As I was contemplating the subject I was reminded of a recent episode that illustrates the different way he and I often view the exact same thing.

He drove up one day at dusk and took the kids outside to enjoy a particularly windy evening. It was clear that a thunderstorm was on the horizon but it seemed different than usual. There was no lightning. It felt more like the precursor to a tropical disturbance since those tend to make the most wind and have almost no accompanying lightning. He called me out too so I could see our little girls running around in circles pretending that they could fly and that the wind was going to carry them away.

They were cute, but my mind was too busy remembering where the candles were and planning what exactly it is I’d need to do if the approaching storm left us without power. I couldn’t really enjoy it the way I should. I wasted a perfectly sublime moment worrying about something that never even happened. It was just an especially windy evening and a short rain shower. Lightning didn’t strike the kids. The wind didn’t cause any flying debris to leave someone with a concussion.

When we first married my husband’s carefree attitude surprised and annoyed me. Surprised me because his demeanor is so serious on the surface that it betrays the casual and calm person underneath. Annoyed me because I wanted him to be more like me and take everything far too seriously. Time and attention has revealed that his is not a lack of vision. It is an absence of worry, and worriers like company which was why it bugged me. He refuses to be that kind of company and enable me in my dysfunction. I have learned to be thankful for that, but I wasn’t always this way. He used to find my over-anxiousness annoying but now he often finds it endearing. He wasn’t always that way either.

One day my husband told me that despite our differences, we fit. For the couple who clicks from the start, finish each others sentences and even like the same movies, I sometimes wonder what that would be like. That kind of symmetry. We are different in myriad ways and I sometimes marvel at the relationship we’ve built. But my husband and I, we fit. We always have I suppose. In the beginning it was like thunder and lightning, but we fit. Now it’s sweet, more like peanut butter and jelly. On a bad day though, the thunderstorm kicks up mightily. We’ve learned that since no one is going anywhere, we have to choose between stormy and sweet.

Marriage really is about the choice to love. Love is not just something we feel. It’s something we do.

Posted in: Relationships