I said furniture shopping.
I don't know why it is when a person mentions "furniture shopping" within earshot of a male listener*, that listener will visibly shudder and begin convulsing on the floor, visions of sofas and matching chairs in his mind. Or non-matching but complimentary chairs, as in my case, which is partly why our trip was a tad frustrating.
*I am not stereotyping the man brain, just making a casual observation. My husband enjoys furniture shopping and does not complain.
I have an idea in my head. An idea that consists of one sofa, four chairs*, a square bricklayers coffee table, and a bench, thus creating an intimate setting to enjoy a nice chat. My husband has an idea in his head. An idea that consists of one sectional sofa, one (or two, he's willing to compromise) chairs, the coffee table if I want it, and no bench (he's not wild about the idea of a bench in front of the fireplace), thus creating a comfortable environment to watch TV.
*complimentary to the couch, but not matching the couch; however, two chairs on the left would match each other and the two chairs on the right would also match each other, although the chairs would not match anything else perfectly, thus creating a non-matchy-matchy but perfectly coordinated look.
I thought I had him convinced. I really did. He even said, out loud (and in his own voice), that he could give up the notion that a sectional was the way to go. But by the end of the night, after we had walked 500,000 of the million square feet that Furniture Land South has to offer, he informed me (with a gleam in his eye--I could see it) that the sectional idea was back on, and that changing his mind was not likely.
We came away with two truths:
1) we like a lot of the same stuff and
2) we can't agree on the same layout for any of our rooms.
It would seem that we have arrived at an impasse.
A standoff, if you will. Not a contentious one, mind you. But a standoff, nonetheless.
Don't worry. We've been here plenty of times before.
So I complained to my sister why can't people just agree with me because wouldn't that be simpler? And why does marriage always have to be about compromise, anyway?
If I were a liar, I would tell you that I am willing to bend and that he was straight as an iron rod, but that would only be to make myself look good, because I am no good at compromise. In fact, there are times when I hate the word and have no interest in applying it to my life.
As in right now.
It's usually because I think I have a pretty good idea. It's also usually because I don't think very many other ideas are as good as mine. And it's also usually because I get stuck on my idea and can't see the other person's perspective, and I don't want to because I (can be) insanely stubborn and inflexible.
We can be perfectly polite, if not friendly, to one another, discussing design and layouts and fabric (oh, yes, I see where you're going with that I hate it and yes, that is a good idea not gonna happen and yes, that would create more usable space not what I'd do but whatever) and such and all the while (well, this is me, I can't speak for what he's thinking in his own head) thinking I'm not changing my mind and now you are frustrating me so good luck.
I have, in my lifetime, often thought that other people were difficult to deal with, and they should, quite frankly, just change (to be more like me, ha and double ha!--but honestly, it would make life easier--but, as my grandma used to say, wouldn't the world be a boring place if everybody were the same? And I would agree with her, like yeah, it really would be, grandma, I think you're right, but I'd secretly think but I think maybe I might like it).
I've very rarely considered that fact that I also need to change. Or that my iron-rod stance is often a hindrance, not a help, in my relationships. But does anybody (myself included) really enjoy being with a person that is so unwilling to change?
When I started doing bible studies regularly at church, one recurring theme around all of the them was that we can pray all day long for God to change someone else's heart, but the heart that He's interested in changing is the one that we own, not the ones we have no control over. He can deal with other people without our complaints and our own desire to change them, as good as our intentions may be.
Above all else,
guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
This heart of ours is prime real estate, where all the truths we may never want to acknowledge eventually come spilling out. And I've found that as much as I change what I say, it is my heart that quickly determines how I will act, and a truly authentic person's actions will match their words.
As I sit back and ponder if I really do want to change or not, it occurs to me that I really do want to have healthy, happy relationships, and in order to have healthy, happy relationships, I have to do my part. And in doing my part, I have the desire to go to God, humbly, and ask where and how my own heart can be changed.
Oh, it's not easy, friend. It's hard to accept when one realizes that she is the one who needs to change, but it's also a beautiful thing, because it means that her iron-rod stance is slowly softening, her heart is becoming moldable, more pliable, closer to the person that God created her to be.
I'm willing to compromise to get that.
A person may think their own ways are right,
but the Lord weighs the heart.