Sometimes I want to smack myself.
You see, I’m good at seeing patterns in other people’s behavior or actions, but always so good at spotting it when it hits closer to home.
Sort of a psychological case of farsightedness.
And when it finally comes into focus, it seems so obvious. So clear.
That it just about smacks me across the face.
The new patio table (to replace the one shattered by the neighbor’s tree) arrived on Wednesday. Even though we were both tired, Brock and I made the decision to assemble the table that afternoon so that we could finally put the tree event behind us. I changed into shorts while he cued up some tunes. Over the next hour or so, we unwrapped and untied. Carried and bolted. And, finally, just as the sun slid behind the tall trees, we placed the cushions on the seats.
And through it all, we barely spoke.
Not because we were angry. Or upset. Or distant.
But because no words were needed. We split up to conquer individual tasks only to reunite to tackle challenges that required more than two hands. We catered to strengths and anticipated needs.
It was awesome.
And it was also new.
I used to grow frustrated when undertaking a project with Brock. I remembered working smoothly, effortlessly with my ex and tasks attempted with Brock always seemed to take too long and require too much emotional effort. Of course, I attributed this to him. After all, I had been able to work in concert with someone else, so it couldn’t be because of any deficits or traits of mine. Sometimes I missed the easy nature of working on a shared task that I had with my ex, but I also accepted that this was not an area of strength for Brock and I.
But I made a mistake in my reasoning. I was comparing how my ex and I were after many years (and the endless projects of a fixer-upper house) to how Brock and I were after only a few years with fewer projects. And I had conveniently forgotten the frustrations that my ex and I encountered as we learned to work together. As with anything in a relationship, teamwork is formed, not found. The frustrations that Brock and I felt had little to do with our different approaches and unique perspectives and much more to do with a lack of practice.
And practice makes better.
Even in marriage.