I recently finished up Jared’s afghan that I’d been crocheting. And everytime I do a “big” project like this (this is the second one) I can’t help but think about my marriage and how I somehow manage to learn a few little life lessons along the way.
1- Full Picture
Often you can’t see the full picture until it’s nearing completion. But, especially at the beginning. You may have glimpses, and you might know which colors you’re going to be using… you probably even have a pattern showing what the end result *should* look like, but since crochet is an imperfect craft (for me at least) there’s no way to know what the end result will truly be.
I know that in my marriage I have a much better overall picture of the whole thing now as opposed to 5 1/2 years ago when we first got married (and that’s only five years, not really a “long” time). But, I can look back and see how far we’ve come. I can see where I’ve gotten to know him better, therefore I can better see how we work together.
We’re making a picture with our marriage and our lives together, each year is another row. Each year we have a bit more of the picture complete. Each year gives us a better idea what our overall picture is going to look like.
2 – Mistakes
There will be mistakes. I know when I crochet there are definitely missed stitches, or more commonly, I read the pattern the wrong way. But, I’ve found that one of two things can happen with mistakes.
One, they can be fixed (with a lot of extra work, yes – you may have to unravel many rows). Or,
Two, they can be lived with (which will cause there to be imperfections in the finished product, but that makes it one of a kind right?)
Either way, they have to be dealt with. Putting the whole project on the shelf because you’re pissed off that you made a mistake four rows back, doesn’t actually solve anything. You one, don’t fix the mistake or two, you don’t move on (which doesn’t help you get done any faster).
A little story to illustrate my point:
Jared usually does the dishes after dinner, which I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!! He does the dishes a little differently than I do, and (at the risk of sounding ungrateful – which I’m not) occasionally he doesn’t get the backs of the plates completely grease free. So, at that point I have two options: one, rewash the dish or two, live with it. Now depending on the day I may do either one, but I’ve found that throwing the plate on the floor, or leaving it in the dish drainer or yelling at my husband doesn’t actually solve the clean plate problem at that moment.
My point is that a lot of times, we.. or maybe I.. tend to make a bigger deal out of “mistakes” than is really necessary, and in the end it doesn’t help (or it doesn’t matter).
3 – Is a labor of love
I just spent more than two years working on an afghan. There were times I wanted to stop, and if I had been doing it for anyone but him, I probably would have. But, I made a commitment to finish it, just like I’ve made a commitment to my marriage. Yeah there’ve been bad
days weeks months, to the point where there probably would have been justifiable reasons to leave, but I committed myself to sticking with this. To working on it. We’ve come a long way in the last few years. A lot of times I don’t give credit to Jared for how much he’s worked on things in his life so he can make things better for us. But I do recognize that it’s for love that we work on this.
4 – Is made up of the mundane
If my math is correct the afghan was made up of 35,870 single crochet stitches. That’s a lot of single crochet stitches. And it… is……… b.o.r.i.n.g. I mean, absolutely mind numbingly boring.
Marriage is like that. Yeah, there’s highlights. But five days out of seven, we get up, get coffee, he goes to work, I see him at lunch for 30 minutes, he comes home at 4:30 (except Friday, then he’s back at 12:00!), I finish making dinner, we eat, clean up the kitchen, bedtime for the kids, and since we’re both kinda introverted we usually just want to do our own little thing before falling into bed and repeating the next morning. (Weekends have a little more variety.) But that’s about 70% of our week that’s on a mundane eat, sleep, work schedule. Mundane. Every day.
But, it’s living in those moments, that build the marriage. Hanging out with him for a few minutes while I’m making dinner is probably my most lovely-comfort time to hang out with him. And there’s nothing glamorous about that time – he’s just home from work, which if he’s been on the job site means he’s filthy, he’s tired, I’m tired, and dinner making is a necessary evil in my opinion. Not glamours. But marriage building!
5 – It’s both of ours
I made the afghan for him, so it’s his. But I made it, so it’s also mine. But who’s is it? It equally belongs to both of us at the same time.
Sometimes I forget that our marriage is both of ours. It can’t just be mine and it can’t just be his. It can’t just be me working on things and it can’t just be his. It’s both of ours, simultaneously, and equally.