If you are wishing to find out more about the person you love, and how compatible you’ll be with them for life, I suggest you build something with them. Once before it had been a polite affair. But this time I found myself on the holding end of the side of a shed we were building, Mr. W performing the extremely hard job of twisting a screw in while also comparing me to a workman on the freeway holding a stop sign. Not that I’m against anyone whose job it is to hold up traffic while road work is being done. But it was the way he said it, totally downgrading my offer to help him out – demoting me to a sign holder while he was actually CREATING (insert man howl here). And when I gave him “the look”, he had the audacity to ask “What?”, as if I weren’t saving his life in my use of balance and tenacity in the holding of this metal wall, fighting the urge to let it fall and have him build the whole damn shed by himself.
Of course, I may have been a tad bit sensitive over the whole thing, totally making a bigger deal out of it than it really was. When building something with the person you love, it’s possible you might learn something about yourself, as well – like, I’m not always as sweet as pie or totally reasonable. And that I really could (as I promised him I would) keep bringing this story up and not let him live it down.
There eventually came a point when there wasn’t anything else I could do to help him, making me more of a body in the way than a body that was helping. So I assisted Mr. W by ensuring his coffee cup and water glass were always full, and making him a sandwich so he wouldn’t go hungry. And then, just to make sure I wasn’t totally abandoning him while he worked, I sat on the grass near the building and snapped photos of him building our shed in between talking with my sister on the phone. That way I could be at his side in a moment’s notice should he need my assistance. However, my willingness to be there for him must have been missed, as he strongly suggested I talk on the phone elsewhere so he could actually understand the directions he was trying to read.
He obviously didn’t appreciate my help.
Living with Mr. W has been a wonderful experience. And just like I feared, it has changed our relationship dramatically. But I’ve realized that isn’t a bad thing. It’s interesting how we have graduated from the nice stage of being totally smitten and fawning all over each other to the occasional snipping at each other in moments of frustration. What’s even nicer is the fact that we can snip at each other and not feel like everything is doomed. Being around each other daily has allowed us the opportunity to see each other in unflattering lights – and still appreciate each other. In fact, sometimes I think the unflattering parts are what help us to love each other more. It allows for honesty on a deeper level, stripping away our need to always appear perfect and wonderful to the other person and just be 100% ourselves. That person I am when I’m singing in the shower or doing silly moves when no one is looking or does something totally unladylike and totally embarassing? She is the same person that wakes up next to Mr. W every day. And he knows it (and still loves me!).
And in times when our loving tones are replaced with snipping sentences that are voiced out of frustration, there are less hurt feelings than would have been previously. So he snapped at me over a building project or likened me to a sign holder, or I playfully made sure he’ll never live down poorly chosen words. The ease we have come into with this new phase of our relationship has allowed there to be imperfect parts while still possessing underlying tones of love and respect. Our relationship isn’t threatened. And we can walk away from those snippy moments and move on with the rest of our day.
Day One of Project Build Shed ended up being a full day affair. And both of us wouldn’t have been sad to see the whole building disappear overnight, forcing us to buy a pre-built shed that didn’t require a million screws like this one.
But it was still standing the next morning, needing just a bit more work until it was done. And this time, we left the snippiness out of it while we worked together. Soon we had a fully functioning shed with sliding doors and a (hopefully) leak-proof roof successfully standing in the corner of our yard, ready to be filled with every single item we can’t bear to give away but no longer wish to look at.
Of course, days later it’s still empty. But we’ll save that snipping session for another time.