February 22, 2012

Three Things I Learned About Marriage From Painting With My Husband


Last weekend, my husband and I painted an accent wall in our bedroom.

Now, I will have you know that, despite my desire to be, I am not artsy or crafty at all. My mom was. Me? Not. So. Much.

Therefore, painting…even painting a wall…seemed like a slightly intimidating task to me. So I asked my husband to help. And like the amazing guy he is, he agreed to give up his Saturday and Sunday to work alongside me.

Me caulking
Roll it, baby!
Voila! The finished product.
All things considered, the wall turned out pretty well. And I even learned a few things in the process, not just about painting, but about marriage (and relationships in general) as well.

Quality time together does not just come in the form of face-to-face, intimate chats.
If you’ve ever read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, you know that spending quality time with friends, family, and your spouse is one way that some people feel loved. This happens to be one of my primary love languages (so if we ever have a chance to talk face-to-face, beware! I may ask you enough questions to know your life story by the end. Ha!), so I love those times when Mike and I get to go on dates and have long talks about our dreams, our frustrations, what we love about each other, etc.

But when working alongside him all weekend, there was a strengthening there as well. We hardly talked. We listened to music. But we’d give each other little pep talks and sideways glances that bonded us too.

So I’m learning to appreciate those types of quality moments as well.

Sometimes fights occur because we are frustrated with ourselves, not our spouse—yet our spouse takes the blow.
So, I was in charge of taping the baseboards before we painted. Can we say major frustration?! I’d think I had it right, and then it would come unstuck where I’d just made it perfect. I’d grunt and get all mad, and when my poor husband asked what was wrong, I picked a small fight. My frustrations over my imperfection made me mad—and he was there, so he took the brunt of that anger.

Now that I realize my tendency to do this, I can be more intentional about asking him to help me instead of becoming prideful over my struggles.

For the best results in marriage, we should encourage each other’s strengths.
My husband is such a good encourager, and this trait really shone through this weekend. He kept telling me what a great job I was doing, particularly with touching up the paint, and I honestly think it made me try harder and do better. He admitted touching up wasn’t his strength, and asked me to do it instead.

If we can admit when our spouse has a strength we don’t have, and encourage him/her in it, then the overall result will be so much better. For when one is weak, the other is strong…

Your Turn: What lessons about marriage or relationships have you learned from working alongside your spouse, friends, or family members, or just in general?

21 comments:

  1. The wall looks great.

    When I work alongside Gwynly, I have a lot more fun. He has a great sense of humor and lifts my spirits with a dose of humor just when I need it.

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    1. Thanks, Keli! And I totally agree about having more fun. My marriage is soooo much better because of the laughter my husband and I share.

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  2. Love the wall, Lindsay! And love that your husband would sacrifice his day for you :)

    A lesson I've learned (after 25 years) is that each of us should work in our strengths and appreciate the strength of the other. My husband doesn't like doing handyman work, so I don't stress him out with it. I don't mind it and if it's something he wants to help me with, then we work on it together. Otherwise I do it myself or, as Andy Griffith told Aunt Bea, I Call the MAN.

    Hugs from VA!

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    1. LOL about calling the man, Susan! :) We've only owned a home for about a year and a half, and my husband has become super handy. He doesn't always like doing it, but he likes saving the money. :P

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  3. We've been re-visiting some marriage basics lately. Different seasons ask that from us. The Five Love L. changed our marriage when we read it together about ten yeas ago.

    Fun project. I adore painting projects.
    ~ Wendy

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    1. Isn't it so good, Wendy? I'm curious what your love language is. Mine are acts of service and quality time, both of which were fulfilled when my husband helped me with this project!

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  4. Okay, so, I'm not even married and I was hugely challenged by this. Especially this: "Sometimes fights occur because we are frustrated with ourselves, not our spouse—yet our spouse takes the blow." Um, yes. Only in my case it's not a spouse that takes the blow... :) Well, not yet anyway. Maybe by the time I get married, I'll be perfect...hehehe...um...no...

    No more rambling. But seriously, loved the lessons you learned!

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    1. Aw, I'm so glad this challenged you. Before I was married, I tried to tuck away little pieces of wisdom I heard along the way. So glad I did. You learn a lot just being married, of course, but if you go in with realistic expectations, I think you avoid a lot of potential heartache.

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  5. Your husband sounds like a great guy. Reminds me of my own.

    Before my dad passed away, my new husband (we had been married less than 6 months) helped out in ways not imaginable. He would work all week and then drive 3 hours to help me care for him. He would stay up almost all night and walk with my dad so I could get some much needed rest. He would bath my dad (dad didn't want me, mom or the female hospice tech to see him naked) and one time my dad had a nasty mess right on my husband. My husband calmly helped clean them both up- sparing my dad's pride. There are countless other things my husband did during that time. Needless to say, I fell even more in love with him. If I hadn't of already married him- I would have then!

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    1. He is! I'm very blessed. And your husband showed such an amazing love for you and your father. I think I forget how rare of a blessing my husband is. I never want to take him for granted, though I'm sure I do.

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    2. TC Avey, your story about your dad and your husband's dedication to him before he passed is touching. What a beautiful manifestation of love in action.

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  6. My husband and I work better apart than together! ha ha! That's one thing we have learned about each other all these years. So, if a wall needs painting, I do it...stand back...and smile. If something needs fixing, I leave the hubby alone while be fixes it. The one job we tackled together was a bathroom remodel. I painted and did the tile floor and he replaced the shower with his step dad.

    All was well in the world!

    Our quality time together is usually spent just being together.

    Great post! And I LOVE the accent wall! Great color...

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    1. That's hilarious, Ruth! Yay for you for figuring out what "works" for you guys and following through with that. And thanks! I'm really happy with the way it turned out. We also replaced the ceiling fan and are buying some wall hangings. Yay for decorating!

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  7. Ziggy's lesson learned: You know you're working alongside a good friend when the work is no longer work, but just time well spent with a friend.

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    1. Aw, such a good answer, Ziggy! I think juicing oranges falls into this category. ;)

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  8. The wall looks great! And you're right...Seemingly normal tasks can really bring out the true temperature of a relationship. Excellent takeaways, Lindsay!

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    1. Thanks, Sarah! :) I love those "normal" times with my hubby. So fun.

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  9. Like Ruth, after 16 years of marriage, I can heartily attest to the beauty of separate projects. Isn't it funny how one size does NOT fit all when it comes to what works in a partnership? However, one task that is always a bonding task with my family is shoveling! Go figure, but the more snow we have to shovel, the more fun the task becomes when all four of us are out there, working hard. Last year, when Chicago had the two-foot blizzard, we were all exhausted as we cleared our driveway, but the jokes and laughter were plentiful.

    The accent wall looks fab... and I think your other walls look awesome, too. Mind if I ask what brand & color you used? I'll be doing my own re-do soon!

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    1. Makes me grateful I live in the Valley of the Sun! :)

      And the color is Behr's premium mix with primer mixed in...so much better than doing primer separate...and the color is Traditional Leather. :)

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  10. I've done sooo many remodeling projects with my hubby, and I'm beyond grateful he's a talented handyman. I'm not. But, one thing I've learned, is to appreciate how detailed he is. He puts professionals to shame!

    Your wall turned out soooo pretty! Do you love it?

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    1. That is so cool, Jill! And thanks...I am really happy with it. It is motivating me to get the rest of the decorating done in that room. Just bought some fun wall hangings yesterday!

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