Couple of weeks back, I had the privilege of preaching at church. While trying to make an example of how my wife and our second child Michelle are so similar, I told to the congregation that my wife has OCD – that’s Obsessive Compulsive Dis…ahhmm!! ‘D’ is Not disorder, it’s not a disorder.
After the celebration, our friend Jerry said I should have used the word ‘Disciplinarian’. Good advice but reached me a little late to have saved me from a funny and embarrassing moment in church.
I later on researched about what is OCD and I can safely say my wife does NOT have OCD. She is different from me; but certainly not an OCD. But there are hints of its symptoms.
When we were newly married, we used to spend Saturday’s preparing our clothes for the week ahead. For me, what ever was washed is what I wore. It needed to be clean and comfortable; simple right?! Candice had a special way of preparing her clothes. All her things for the next 5 days were of the same color theme. For example, all her clothes for the week had to do with white or black. Another week had hints of blue, then next purple, then pink. So on and so forth. Candice had her own valid reasons to do so. Like no need to change her bag during the week, all accessories are set at the start of the week to match the theme of the week.
Another area in life where Candice is ‘different’ is cleaning. I clean because I don’t like clutter, I like it when the house looks spaced out and smells like a spa. That’s it for me. Candice cleans because it gives a sense of accomplishment. When I was living with my parents, it was primarily my joyful responsibility to clean the full house. When we got married, I assumed the same responsibility. One day, I cleaned the bathroom and took a bath. This was during one of the initial weeks after we moved into our new house. It felt good to do my part. Candice next went into the bathroom to take a bath but was taking a longer time than usual. I asked her what was taking so long and she responded that she was cleaning the bathroom. I just cleaned that place 15 minutes back, but was apparently not clean enough for my clean freak wife. I think that was the last time I cleaned the bathroom, not again!
Similarly, Candice and I are so different in many areas of our individual lives. I prefer doing tasks and enjoying them so that they do not feel like chores. You know the “take it as it comes” attitude. For Candice, ticking of points on a to-do list is so satisfying. Chores as tasks is an enjoyment in itself.
It took me a while to get used to having a house and life mate with this new behaviour. But not a day goes by where I’m not grateful for the way God wired Candice. Here are some of my pointers on how it is to live with someone who is not the same as you:
1. It’s Inconvenient
Yes, I never said it was easy. We all like to be comfortable and live life that best suits our preferences and personality. I don’t know how many times Candice would have had to push her level of patience to adjust with me. The same applies with me. Facing the fact that it is not easy, makes it easier to face the fact that it is not easy. I know that sounded complicated, read it a couple of times and think about it, it should make some sense :-p 🙂
2. Appreciate & Celebrate it
Over the years, Candice and I have not just learned to just accept the way the other person is but also to appreciate and celebrate it. Candice has sure been able to challenge me to become a better person who is organised and (slightly more) focused. Candice on the other hand learned to take a chill-pill once in a while. I need the task driven attitude of Candice and she needs my relaxed temperament. Together, we have a lot to celebrate.
3. It’s a Journey
As we’ve matured in age & in our walk with the Lord, the impact of having 3 kids, risen in our responsibilities at work and the things we learnt from our many mistakes, one thing has happened constantly – Change. We are different versions of who we were when we got married. Even more different from the time we first met in December 2002 or became friends in 2005. We are much better versions ourselves compared to when we started the journey. But in this journey, we’ve learnt being adamant is not going to lead to anything productive. Candice & I learnt (and still learning) how to embrace each others uniqueness. It makes the journey in life so much enjoyable.
For all our friends reading this, our prayer is that as you take this journey called married life, I pray that you accept your differences and celebrate it daily with your spouse, they are anyway called your “better-half”.
Oh for the record, based on my research I can define Candice’s personality as one of being MRC – Moderately and Respectable Compulsive.