Chuck and I have been together nearly three years. And in those three years there has virtually been one thing that we continue to fight about: smoking. Before Chuck and I got together, he was a pack-a-day kind of smoker. I always said that smoking was a non-negotiable for me- I would never date a smoker. Well, somehow, either due to his complete diligence or my complete obliviousness, I had no idea he smoked until about two months into our relationship when I discovered the pack in his pants pocket while we lay cuddling on my couch.
When we began living together in our first Pittsburgh apartment- he virtually quit cold turkey. He never smoked inside (or outside) our home, and to the best of my knowledge never smoked while at work either. The only time it happened was when we visited his family or they visited us. Years later, we’re back in his Ohio hometown and the smoking has all but ceased. I’m actively trying to make my peace with his habit and compromise as best I can. Let me say, it’s not easy, folks. I detest smoking…and somehow I wound up as part of a family where it’s a regular occurrence. I think it’s God’s way of showing me how to look past something I’ve grown to hate so much, and just love on the people in my life.
While reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, recently, I happened upon a thought: I spend way more time being resentful and offended by Chuck’s less-than-savory habits than I do being grateful and appreciative for his wonderful behaviors. I also have a much easier time seeking out his faults than I do my own. Because I’ve always been very academic, and Chuck, less so, I find myself being really damn condescending sometimes. I interrupt him regularly, based on this notion I have that what I have to say is more important than his thoughts. I patronize him frequently, always believing that my way is best.
The fact of the matter is, most days, Chuck is a much better person that I am. He’s sunny, fun to be around and just loves on everyone he comes into contact with. He sees the best in people and views every social encounter as an opportunity to learn. Not to mention, he’s a wonderful husband. He does the dishes with no prodding from his adoring wife, yet doesn’t nag me when I neglect to do the same. His heart breaks every time I start crying and he’ll drop what he’s doing to attend to my emotional well-being. He’s committed, doting and more than I deserve most of the time.
So, while it would be laughable to think our smoking-induced arguments are near over, it is time that I loved Chuck the way he deserves to be loved. By letting the negative stuff slide sometimes, and devoting more energy to acknowledging the positives. Our love, our happiness and our marriage depend on it.