The Right Way

My husband takes a boat load of vitamins everyday. Perhaps it started when he was a bachelor and his meal planning for the week included several varieties of hamburger helper and ice cream as a main course to mix things up. Because of the multiple bottles and his career that calls for leaving home at a moment's notice, weekly he portions out his vitamins into a pill box. You know, those flip top plastic boxes with separate compartments for each day of the week? You've seen them when you visited Grandma. Over the past three years of being married to him I've begun to take a few pills myself. I just mean I'm taking a multi-vitamin now, and my melatonin, and calcium because I'm getting older and my bones are decaying. Good times. Anyway, thankfully, the hubby had an extra pill box laying around that he shared with me. Now I don't have to open 12 vitamin bottles every night when the alarm goes off at 10 PM. (Yes, I have to set an alarm to remember to take my pills... I'm that old absent minded.) And every night I too use a pre-filled pill box and try to convince myself I am not 73 years old.

The other night, the alarm goes off and we're in the middle of watching some show... probably Matlock or Murder She Wrote at the rate we're going. Hubby graciously pauses it so that I can run and take my pills. I warn him that it'll be a second because I'm outta days and I have to get reset for the week. To which he responds, "Why don't you fill your pill box on Saturday like every normal person does?" This statement struck me as all kinds of funny at that moment. Half because he said it genuinely. Like there is a RIGHT way to do it. And half because I felt the need to defend my pill box filling practice. Like there is a RIGHT way to do it. And if you know me, I was ready to defend my pill box filling practice - to the death. Like there is a RIGHT way to do it. Seriously. We were just talking about filling a pill box. Like there is a RIGHT way to do it.

The whole thing got me thinking about marriage. How much of our marital stress is really just us carrying in our own way of doing things all bundled up in the misunderstanding that it's the RIGHT way of doing things? I'll answer my own question. A whole stinkin' bunch. We got married in our 30s. (Well, I was almost but 30. My husband is MUCH older than I am. Winky smiley face.) So, we had already spent several years figuring out how to do life as adults. Because we both managed to stay out of jail, remained gainfully employed, weren't crippled by debt and were functioning in relatively comfortable interpersonal relationships we estimated that our individual ways of doing things were RIGHT ways... in most instances THE right ways. As it turns out, some of our ways aren't necessarily RIGHT ways, they are just our ways of doing things. Now, I don't think this phenomenon is unique to those who marry a little later. It doesn't take 30 years for most of us to form opinions of how to do life nor to assume that our opinions are correct. Am I right?

I use my husband's pill box filling practice as an example because it is mildly entertaining. Rest assured, I have many, many of my own policies and procedures that I expect him to adopt. All the while scoffing at compromise and insisting on my RIGHT way, STILL. Three. Years. In. The whole pill box episode just allowed me to look at the issue calmly. When I felt myself blood thirsty over whether to fill the box with vitamins on Wednesday or Saturday, I realized how ridiculous I was being. And it opened my eyes about marriage again. Cool, huh? Navigating marriage, more specifically marital compromise, is really difficult. But, it's so good for us. It's quite literally breaking me, in really great ways and in a plethora of areas where I NEED to be broken. And that's a good thing, even if it's painful.

The thing is, I fill my pill box on Wednesday because I started using my pill box on a Wednesday. So, I ran out of vitamins on a Wednesday and NEEDED to re-fill the pill box on a Wednesday. There wasn't some philosophical reason why I did it this way. That's just how I always did it. The vitamins didn't work better because I did it that way. It didn't take less time to fill the pill box on Wednesday. That's just how I always did it. My way wasn't RIGHT it was just MINE.

So, even though it sounds like a silly - even incredibly minor - change to make, on Saturday I filled my pill box.


Olivia said...

Molly, we have SO many of these too! In the past I have tended to just nag Nate until he adopts my way (I mean shirts should be folded with the right upper side on top, shouldn't they?!) and only recently have I really been aware that I'm doing it. Sometimes I have to breathe through it. Breathe. Breathe. It's ok not to wash the dishes immediately after dinner. Breathe.
Thanks for the post!

christina said...

i'm speechless. which is why i had to say something...
i think i have one of my dad's old pill boxes if an extra is needed. just thought i'd offer.