When I was courting my wife Apple, it has never been uncommon for us to be at home with her family. One of the best things about our courtship stage is that I got to know more about her in a very transparent way. As the saying goes “A person is only as good as she is with her family.” Even so, there are things that I noticed about her outside of our time with her family that has cushioned the difficulties and conflicts in our marriage today. This is an entry about those little things.
Checking out her Mannerisms
When Apple and I were dating, I would enjoy each minute I spent with her. Hey, who could blame a guy for being so in love? But there were a lot of times when I would push myself to notice the little things she does out of habit. Small things.
Things like her wiping her utensils and mine at a restaurant before eating. Things like sharing her dish with me and trying out mine (which we almost never did in my family when I was growing up). Things like how she loves to talk every night – right before she sleeps.
These things spell a lot about her character. Apple wiping my utensils at a restaurant told me how mindful she was of others. We weren’t even officially dating then when she did that for me. And yes that meant a lot to me (that’s a hint ladies!)
Sharing dishes was never something my family practiced – that’s also a good reason why me and my family looks ‘healthier’ than Apple’s family. Her mannerism of sharing food told me that she’s the kind of girl who wants to share experiences with the person she loves – and that she expects that person to do the same. Now that we’re married, it’s exactly the case.
Sometimes when we would talk to each other over the phone at night she’s able to fall asleep. Not because I’m boring (at least I’d like to think so!) but because I would leave her family’s place late at night to avoid traffic. I live an hour away from Apple but when the traffic is bad (which is 95% of the time), it doubles up to 2 hours of stressful drive.
She never wants to put the phone down until she knows I’m home safe. That told me how sweet and caring Apple is. It also told me that she loves to talk with me – and even to today, I push myself to set aside time to just talk with Apple.
A person’s mannerisms tell a lot about them. You simply have to notice.
Knowing her Family’s Character
I love the fact that I was able to spend time with Apple’s family while we were dating. She has 2 brothers and a sister – and I got to talk with them and know them a little better. A person’s family is the single biggest influence in that person’s life – whether it’s a positive or a negative influence. And, in marriage, it will be the single source of your characteristic differences.
By God’s grace, Apple’s family has a lot of similarities with mine. I’d like to think that there are more similarities than differences but I’m not so sure. In any case, knowing her family drew me closer to who Apple really was and how she wants her own family to love her someday.
Seeing our Similarities
People say that opposites attract. While I do not disagree, I prefer to attract someone with a lot of similarities to my personality and background. Apple and I grew up in a Chinese family. My family is Christian, hers is Catholic. But the way we were brought up were closely similar.
We went to Chinese schools (although she speaks way better Chinese than I do), we both are very close to our family, we both love business, and the list goes on.
Of course, some obvious similarities can be seen immediately such as Apple’s love for writing and singing – which I both love to practice as well. The more similarities you have with a person, the better – because there are more things that you both love to do – which you can use to spend time with each other.
Taking Note of our Differences
After noticing all the similarities, there are the differences. Often in a relationship, you notice all the similarities and sweet stuffs first. Then, when things go a little rough and your relationship is going through the test of time, the differences will surface.
Perhaps it’s because of the disagreements that you tend to see the differences more, or perhaps it’s because of the slow death of infatuation, or perhaps it’s simply the fact that your unproved perceptions of the other person is being slowly proven or debunked as you get to know him/her.
As I mentioned earlier, I was never a guy who was brought up to share his dish and vice versa. What I didn’t foresee was that it would someday push me to order a bit more food because I would go hungry and I’m not used to just sharing. The consequence? I gained weight. A lot of weight.
It could’ve been avoided if we just talked it out instead of letting the differences grow on us as we moved forward with our relationship.
The differences will surface. You will notice it. And when you do, talk it out.
Adjusting to her Strengths
Apple is a very organized person. She loves it when things are in their proper place. Sadly, I couldn’t say that for myself. I’m not really the prim and proper kind of guy. I’m more of what I’d like to call “efficient”. If it’s not broken, no need to fix it – even if it’s in the wrong place.
It was tough adjusting to her sense of orderliness during the first weeks of our marriage – but I can attest, that without that strength, our home wouldn’t look like the way it does now. All I needed to do was to recognize this strength of hers and make provisions from myself to help her – either through my own efforts or through hiring a house help.
Complimenting her Weaknesses
One obvious weakness that struck me early on was Apple’s apathetic approach to technology and gadgets. If she was obsessive-compulsive on our home’s orderliness, I was all that and more – to my files and folders in my computer. When I first saw Apple’s desktop, it was relatively a mess – of course, this is from my perspective as a person who always kept his desktop neat (I have zero icons on my desktop – and I know where to find 90% of my files).
So I proceeded to fix some of her files – and encouraged her to do the rest. She now has a beautiful, clean desktop – and I’m glad to be the one to push her to do that.
All of these things help soften the hard times that marriage and parenthood can bring. I believe that people who are getting to know each other through dating or courtship should consciously try to know their partner better in preparation for a lifetime of commitment and love.
I hope this entry helped you to know what to expect and how to prepare yourself and your partner with that knowledge.
The best thing about this?
It doesn’t stop. I just gets better as you get married and live a life together.