My husband isn’t a frequent topic for my blog posts, but he’s inspired his fair share. For example, this morning, I wanted to share pictures of his latest gift to me: painting our coffee table.
We acquired this piece for free – a giveaway from a friend who used it during graduate school, but was thrilled to replace it with something more modern after he graduated. It was a deep cherry (real wood!), covered in scratches that come from love and use, and fit perfectly in our “Second-hand Rose” style living room. But, while taking pictures of this project, I realized that the pleasure I’m taking in this beautiful update to a favorite piece of furniture is more about my husband than it is about the table.
If you’ve read any of my previous posts about him, you know that the roles he and I play in our marriage are far from traditional. Until my last full-time job ended, I was the bread winner, providing insurance, a (small) retirement plan, and the usual wage-earner benefits for our family. He was the stay-at-home and work-from-home dad, adjusting his life to accommodate the school bus, sick kids, appointments with the cable guy, etc. Even now, when those roles are somewhat flipped, I’m still the one who pays the bills, manages the insurance, takes our car in for maintenance (the stuff my dad does).
On my more selfish days, I’ll rant about the life and house maintenance stuff that doesn’t come naturally to him. I think about that saying: “Women marry men, hoping they’ll change. Men marry women, hoping they’ll never change.” But, this beautiful table – along with the dozens of other projects like it – make me repent for every moment I tried to make him someone else. (When I let him), my husband is my reminder that “making something of it” should only apply to its – things and situations – never people.
Our children are in that delicate place where criticism is taken as commentary on who they are, thus potentially shaping who they’ll become. And almost everything is a phase right now, so why ding their self-esteem for something they’ll stop doing or liking next week? My challenge is to remember it’s not that different for adults, really.
So, my love note to my husband this week: Darling, no matter what I say on other days, I would never trade a quarterly oil change for this coffee table!
Postscript: For the readers who asked for details about the top of the table, we put pieces of scrapbook paper under glass. The paper isn’t attached to the table in any way, so we can change it whenever the mood strikes us. Nestled in there, too, is a poem my husband wrote for me one Valentine’s Day, early in our marriage. We’ve learned that the secret to our marriage is to choose each other, daily. It’s a conscious effort – the antithesis of taking each other for granted or relying on something outside ourselves for remaining in love.