More thoughts on marriage from someone who has been married for a whopping 4 years…
Thought #6: People can be selfish
If I’m frustrated with Jeff, it’s most likely because I feel that he’s being selfish. But really, it isn’t that his selfishness that bothers me. I can handle that. What really bothers me is when his selfishness sometimes prevents me from being able to be selfish. (Note that he might not really be selfish, but in my mind, I assume that he is.)
An example: Our kids are early risers. Apparently, we subscribe to the “Early to Bed, Early to Rise” mentally around these parts. This serves us very well during the week and on Sundays, but they haven’t exactly recognized the concept of sleeping in on Saturdays. (I know, I know, wait til they’re teenagers…) And up until a couple of years ago, Jeff & I both got to sleep late(r) on Saturdays.
We try to let one of us sleep in and the other gets up with whomever wakes up first (usually Finn). We don’t usually decide who will get up on a Friday night; it’s usually a spur-of-the-moment decision on Saturday morning. A few factors go into deciding who gets up. Does one of us wake up and doesn’t feel tired? Has one of us had a particularly rough week, sleep wise and could really use the extra hour or so? But sometimes, we’re both really tired. And both really want to sleep in. But one of us has to get up. Sometimes I get frustrated with him if he wants to sleep in. But only because it means that I can’t.
Other times, it appears in our finances. He wants to put more money in a Roth IRA and I want to spend more money on updating the house. I (wrongly) interpret his desire as selfish because it’s what he wants and not what I wants. He’s making a smart decision, one that’s wise and certainly not selfish. But his desire is at odds with mine. So I label it as selfish.
- People can be selfish.
- Even when people aren’t being selfish, sometimes we think they are.
I try to remember that Jeff might not be selfish and to remember that marriage isn’t 50/50. And that I rarely regret being generous (with time or money)!