When Mark and I first got married, we went through all the required classes. We even decided to go for the full Engaged Encounter weekend as opposed to the abbreviated one-day class. Come our wedding day, we thought we were set. Finances? Check. Number of children desired? Check. Extended family? Thoroughly discussed.
But then one day after we were married, I went to make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch.
“Where’s the peanut butter?” I asked.
“In the refrigerator.”
“Are you serious?” I asked in disbelief. “That’s disgusting. You can’t spread it when it’s cold. It rips the bread.”
“I have to have the peanut butter cold,” he insisted. “Oh, and it has to be Jif.”
And that moment is when our marriage truly began. I didn’t remember anything in our vows about this. Sickness and health I could do. But this was a stretch.
Suddenly, I realized that I had a lot to learn as far as my lifelong partner was concerned. And that it’s not always the big things that can trip up a marriage.
I can honestly say that most of our major battles during the 17 years of our marriage have not been over finances, sex, or parenting styles. No, they have been over things like how to do laundry, how to properly fold a towel, whether or not you should zip up a jacket when you hang it up so it doesn’t fall off the hanger, and whether or not to use flannel sheets. Don’t act like all you married couples don’t know exactly what I’m talking about.
So what’s my point in bringing this up? Well, my point is that as weird or annoying as we may find our spouses’ little idiosyncrasies, they are part and parcel of the person we have decided to “love, honor and cherish” for the rest of our lives–even if we didn’t know about it at the time. It’s also a good exercise in learning to compromise and figure out what’s really important to you.
Would I choose Mark again today if I knew beforehand that he preferred cold peanut butter? Absolutely. Would he choose me knowing that he would spend the rest of his life picking up the clothes I left on the floor? I hope so. Because all those things combined don’t come close to adding up to the promise we made to each other, before God and our families, 17 years ago.
And that’s why our peanut butter is currently residing on a shelf in our fridge.