I was angry at you, because you are always working on something, you can’t just sit and relax, you fill your weekends with chores and sweaty work. I said, it’s not enough you work all week, you work all weekend, too. Do you think you could have one Saturday without needing two showers? You looked rather hurt, and I felt bad because I know that this is how you grew up, you grew up blurring the line between work and play, you really enjoy a challenge. But I pressed on, determined to teach you how to relax. You scoffed at me. Would I rather that you play video games? sit around the house? spend your time online? No, no, of course not, I sputtered. It’s just, here, why don’t you read a book? Why don’t you go to the coffee shop and read? Why don’t you go for a solitary walk?

And even after all these years, I still don’t quite understand, do I? How you don’t read for fun like how I read for fun, how you love the feel of working with your hands, how you only use the computer to check college football recruiting stats. And you don’t understand why I don’t understand that this – this smell of wood, this sweat, this garage working around, this blackberry bush hauling, this gardening in the dirt – this is fun.

The next Saturday, you said, you agreed, No Projects! I promise! And in the afternoon, as I was beginning to make supper, I heard your old saw begin to whirr. I stomped down the stairs, pulled open the garage door, you looked up with a grin, the sawdust swirling in the sunlight, your eyes dared me to be mad at you, and you said, it’s not a REAL project, just a little one, a fun one.

I laughed at my own foolishness, I know when I’m beat, when will I stop trying to make you be more like me? You came over to me, smelling of sawdust, you kissed me like you meant it, and when I went back upstairs, I smelled like sawdust, like you, and it made me glad.

There are a million ways we’ve had this same conversation over the years, because, baby, you and me? We’re just so different. But we keep finding these ways to connect, these ways to bind our hearts, sometimes we don’t quite get each other, I know I must frustrate you sometimes with own needs for my books, my tea, my Downton Abbey, my solitary walks, my yarn, my blogging, my writing, don’t even get you started about Twitter. But the truth is that we’re different, we’ll always be different, and so we seek each other out, like an elusive balance, holding each other’s life steady, you pull me back to Centre and I like to think I pull you towards my own Centre, we’re finding some core thing here. Maybe that is why it’s still fun, for both of us, we’re blurring the lines of work and play, smelling of sawdust and longing for each other, books and honest sweat, laughter and arguments.

I write now and then about what love looks like for us.


In which the doorbell is ringing
In which you are not forgotten
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  • Fieldguidesandfairytales

    I could have written the same thing (though not so well) about my marriage.  My husband and I are just as you describe!

  • Sis

    Your husband sounds like my dad, it drives me crazy sometimes, but it is good how God created us all different

  • Tara_pohlkottepress

    my husbands like this too! {he’s currently rigging up a control box pannel to rig to fireworks (?!?) as i sit and read and go on the computer…

    • Now THAT is awesome. (P.S. Your post today? AMAZING.)

  • Sandy Fox

    When my husband and I were newlyweds living in Europe, we discovered that we had different museum “styles.”  I was there for the aesthetic of the art.  My husband was there to look at the paintings for the history portrayed in them.  As a young bride, I thought his way was boring and frustrating.  Now 25  years later, we are living in China.  I sometimes wonder why he studies Chinese all,the.time!  Because he is himself and I am myself!  Good lesson to learn early in marriage as you have.

  • oh, wow. how i love this. i can relate so much. 🙂

  • i feel the need to show this to my husband. Our ideas of down time are sometimes so different – I don’t understand his use of time. but he never questions mine. I wish I could be as accepting of him as he is of me. 

  • Yes.  Absolutely.

    After decades together, my husband and I KNOW we are different as night and day.  I’ve learned that I’ll never get all my needs met by him.  And that’s ok.

    But it was a long time coming.  Because neither of us fully understood who the other one was and what they needed.  Maybe because we ourselves didn’t really comprehend who we were.

    But now I gladly release him to his woodshop and his projects and yes, the sawdust that fills the air and gets tracked into the house.  And to his volunteer work, delivering furniture to those who have next to nothing.

    I use that time to write and read and putter quietly {and yes, in recent days, introducing myself to Downton Abbey!}.  Filling myself up with all things solitary that I crave so badly.

    And then we meet again.  And we both bring something to the table because we are not needy.  We are safe in our companionship and our pleasure in simply being together again.

    I shared 8 random observations and 2 reflective questions on the celebration of 36 years together …

  • pastordt

    Amen. But you know what? About 10 years ago, my husband started reading for FUN. Yup. You’ve only got 35 years to go, honey. :>) (We’re still different, though – lots different. He doesn’t work with power saws, but pruning, yanking out weeds? Oh man, yeah. Till the sweat runs in rivers.) Hey – here’s another one – he watches DA with me! Imagine that. I will very occasionally watch a sporting event with him, but usually only if it’s tennis or golf. Some things will NEVER change.

  • HopeUnbroken

    as so many others have said, i too love this, because it speaks so much to my own match.  and ya know what?  i appreciate it more and more the longer we are married.  i don’t really WANT him to be like me, even though sometimes i act like it 🙂  i LIKE that he relaxes in a different manner.  i LOVE that he’s not emotionally made up like i am.  really, really glad about that one, ha!  anyway, you just put it to words so well.  it is a beautiful thing when we reach a point of appreciating and enjoying these differences, yes?  
    and that grin on his face you mentioned. . . yes, i can even imagine that one. . .

  • Oh, Sarah. What a beautiful glimpse. My heart aches from wanting this for myself.

  • Stephanie

    Tim is exactly like this. Always working. Always moving. Even when he is on the phone, he paces the room. He’s happy mowing the lawn, weeding the garden, putting together furniture, working on this project or that project. Somehow all that back-breaking hard work is how he relaxes, how he finds peace. 

    I, on the other hand, enjoy stillness and reading, writing and walking and hiking and…yes, tweeting too. 😉 

  • Alisoncreamer

    Perfectly described my husband and I. 19 years together and every weekend the same. You know what ?? I would not change a thing.

  • Anna Armstrong

    Thank you for articulating this so honestly. I just read the post this morning and it prompted a twinge of conviction: I struggle to freely embrace and accept the ways that he and I are different and as recently as yesterday I was pushing my thoughts, my way on him. Crazy thing is, when I look at my own life, have I really figured anything out yet? Am I really doing that well that he should imitate me? I’m encouraged being reminded that the differences are a gift and that it is okay if I haven’t mastered this marriage thing quite yet. There is time to learn.