marriage small seeds sHusbands.

On good days, they’re God’s gift to us.

On bad days, they’re the spawn of … (you get my drift!)

Now don’t get me wrong. On most days, my man is the most lovable man on the planet; a rugged, six foot two, handsome as they make them, logical, rational, caring, intelligent being who loves the A&E channel, good food, fishing and the simple life.

He inspires me, challenges me, loves me, cuddles me, watches dumb movies with me, laughs with me and occasionally spoils me.

He drives me nuts.

Especially when he holds that proverbial mirror of truth up to my face and tells it like it is in his blunt, rational yet superbly sexy deep voice.

It sends me up the wall.

Last Saturday, my breath stunk. Granted it was the weekend and we’d had no plans to leave the house so the ablutions of the dental variety had taken a backseat to kicking it on the lounge with a good book and taped episodes of Scandal.

My man, being my man, who has a low tolerance for vapours of the noxious variety and is famed for his zero tongue filter policy, made it vocally known to me his displeasure at the fumes of thunder emanating from my oral passages.

It was short, sharp and to the point. ‘Stinks. Brush your teeth.’

(This was accompanied by the crinkling up of the nose, the sharp jerk away from my hovering lips and the look of pure disgust aimed at my toxic self.)

I was deeply affronted.

Note; I’m not against feedback. It’s the delivery method I object to.

I’d have chosen an entirely different way to deliver the said news.

I’d have preferred soft lit candles, easy jazz and a gentle hug before the following desirable proclamation was made.

‘Honey, you know I love you. Now, there’s something I’d like to share with you. It’s bothering me and I was wondering if we could find a solution together on it. Your breath is usually imbued with the hint of grapefruit extract and fresh mint but today that French Alpine freshness is a tad MIA. I was wondering if we could find a solution to that together.’

Kiss. Hug. Kiss. Brush. Kiss.

Sorted.

In my dreams.

In reality we’re like chalk and cheese when it comes to some fundamental matters. It’s our differences that drive us bonkers. And draw us into the boxing ring.

After six months of marriage, I’m learning that after the honeymoon gloss fades into a dull sheen, if that, the gloves come off.

We begin to see each other in every colour on the wheel including the dirty browns, faded blacks and yucky greys.

We lose the sweet nothings and whisperings of dating and descend into full throttle lunges at each other’s necks in a bloodthirsty war of nag, scold, yell and criticise as we pour unrealistic expectations of one another on each other – and subsequently disappoint ourselves time and time again.

Worse still, the mirror of truth gets yanked into our faces every two to three weeks and we don’t like what we see.

The reflection staring back at us is uncomfortable to see – it’s a sometimes thoughtless, angry, drama-mama who wants everything done her way.

Or perhaps a selfish, critical, boorish, surly “don’t-want-to-become-a-man” boy.

The reality is that the last six months have gradually revealed themselves to be a long lesson in the school of marriage knocks where love, laughter and blissful joy are unfortunately accompanied by the undesirable side dishes of test, trials and tribulations as we learn to live with one another and for one another.

I think the real reason divorce rates are through the roof today is that we run the very second when we see these dirty, cracked visages of ourselves through our partner’s eyes.

Unable to stand the disappointment of our ugly selves, we bolt for the front door and/or (for those with less of a backbone) race into the arms of the first person who chooses to reflect our former, dazzling glory back to us (until the sheen dries off and the cycle of seeing our true colours kicks into gear again).

It’s only when we accept the good, bad and sometimes ugly truth that is flung back in our face when we ask the proverbial ‘ mirror, mirror on the wall whose the fairest of them all?’ question, that we will never how to grow and become a better person.

My hoary bible says that ‘like iron sharpening iron, so a friend sharpens one’s character’. Which means marriage is no bed of roses instead it’s a thorny hothouse of dying to yourself every day where your partner’s presence in your life, influences your manner, appearance, behaviour, and character; sharpening wits, controlling conduct, and in due time, bringing a truly contented smile on our lips knowing that we are truly loved and accepted, warts and all.

But why are we being sharpened?

I had a deep discussion with one my best friends the other day who is my heroine in many ways of the tremendous patience she’s had through a then-rocky, and now happy-after-years-of-pain marriage.

She said marriage is one of the best purifiers of one’s soul. It takes you into the deepest darkest reaches of your being and ushers you, through pain and dying to ego and unrealistic expectation, into becoming the best you were created to be. Better still, if done in partnership with your other half, it’s doubly rewarding.

But only if you stick it out and like a farmer, plant seeds of love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Then patiently wait for them to sprout in you, without any requirement they’ll do the same in your partner.

It takes time, it takes humility and it takes dying to yourself, every frustrating, annoying day.

Apparently there’s a bigger, more meaningful reason for it all – that becoming a living sacrifice is one day going to have its just reward.

When? No idea. Who’s going to give it to us? I have a faint clue but I won’t divulge more than I need to at this time.

I’m watching my husband sleep and his face is a restful, peaceful chiselled outline that makes my heart pound, my soul sing and my insides quiver. He’s hot and entirely angelic, at least in this moment.

Until he opens those sculpted lips and utters his next truism and I literally tear off a corner of my lip in an effort to resist the urge to slap him across his handsome face.

I love you babe.

And I promise to daily plant my ‘death to self’ seed until it spawns in me true beauty, lasting love and mature character. *sigh*

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seed smallerSmall Seeds is an African girl’s musings, ramblings and fumblings on the journey to becoming a strong wife, mother, woman.

Kenyan born Sydneysider, N.K. Read is a storyteller / journalist and the author of the epic fantasy book ‘Children of Saba’ – available on Amazon.com.

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