Monday, April 22, 2013

Functional Versus Pretty, Pt. 2

Recently, my dear, sweet husband has taken a liking to one of my chairs. Oh this isn’t just any chair. It’s one twin in a set of zebra print chairs. Nearly three years ago (PRE-marriage), I searched high and low for these chairs. I knew what I wanted and scraped the barrel until I found them. Oh I remember the day I brought my twin babies home. Like a proud mama, I sat in the living room and just admired their beauty – the curved back, lady-like arms and funky zebra personality. They are girly, and you know I love girly!

*Sigh*

Well, it seems the Mr. has tired of sitting on the sofa all the time. Apparently his buttocks needed a change of scenery as he watched television, so he’s been taking up residence in a chair. One evening, he informed me of the need to tighten one of the legs on one of my beloved chairs.

Insert HUGE GASP here.

O.M.G. Girls, I was HOT! “My baby,” I thought.

I whined that my poor, delicate, girly chairs were NOT crafted to support his handsome, towering, SOLID stature on a regular basis. They just weren’t. To be honest I never envisioned anyone sitting in them on a regular basis. Seating for an occasional guest, sure, but certainly nothing more than that… To me they were part of the décor and wonderful to simply look at and admire.

That night, I went to bed pouting, but only after emailing him the draft of my last post – Functional Versus Pretty. 🙂 You see he has read each post I’ve written since I wrote and posted this one on January 6, 2011 – the day after we initially began communicating with each other. (I promise to share that story in a later post.) Suffice it to say, I appreciate his feedback and, of course, I want his eyes to be the first to read anything I share publicly about him or us.

The following morning I checked my email to find a message from my husband that simply stated:

“Nice… The chairs are pretty! LOL”

As I read the words, I couldn’t help but giggle to myself.

Duly noted, Mr. Nixon…

I realize this is POST-marriage, and it’s not just me anymore. I told him about how I looked high and low for those chairs and they/WE just weren’t expecting him. His response: “but you PRAYED for a husband.”

So true, so true… 🙂

So sometime soon we’ll be on the hunt for new chairs that satisfy his functional need as well as provide my eyes with at least a little bit of pretty, for pretty’s sake. In the meantime, he’ll continue to take good care of them by tightening a leg or two when necessary, and I’ve already started envisioning a new home in another room for my PRETTY  chairs.

So my married friends out there, this question is for you. Can you name ONE thing in your home that you really love yet you KNOW its level of functionality falls desperately short of your manly husband’s standards? See you in the comments.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Functional versus Pretty

Ahhh, moving to a new place…. The process of purging, packing then unpacking can be tedious and time consuming. The silver lining, however, is the opportunity to dress up a brand new place. I get some type of crazy rush finding new storage options for dishes and such. My latest obsession is scouring the town and the internet for area rugs. Now who would have thought finding an area rug that makes our eyes dance would be such a chore. You think maybe making our eyes dance is too much of a tall order?

When we first moved, decorating and making the place feel like home was top priority. Day after day we plodded the housewares aisles of local stores searching for everything from wall décor to trashcans. This little baby here is one of my favorites. She’s awaiting just the right vintage writing desk to hang over.

“We haven’t finished decorating the bathroom,” I noted to Sean one Sunday morning as we prepared for church.

From where I stood, our master bath still looked the same as it did the day we moved in, with only the addition of a couple of floor mats and a shower curtain liner (note I didn’t say a shower curtain, just the liner). Still plain. Still uneventful.  Clearly, we’d gone back to the business of being newly married; life pressed forward and fancy things took a back seat.

I don’t remember his response verbatim, but I’m pretty sure it went something like this:

“It looks fine to me. You see, men just want the functional; y’all (that would be us ladies) are always worried about ‘the pretty’.”

THE PRETTY

As those two words rolled from his tongue, a light bulb flicked on inside my head and I just had to chuckle.

Therein lies the great divide between men and women, or (as I see it) at least one of them. Men seek function. Women, on the other hand… well, we like pretty. It doesn’t mean we’re not interested in functionality, but I do believe looking for “the pretty” is one of the gifts of God’s divine shape for us.

Ladies, humor me for just a moment. Close your eyes. I know it feels weird, but trust me; this won’t take long. Now, if you’re at work and someone taps you on the shoulder just say “amen,” out loud so he/she can hear you, open your eyes naturally and ask, “How can I help you?”

Seriously, though, close your eyes and picture your closet or wherever your shoes are stored. Visualize the many shoes in your closet. If you’re like me you see mostly sandals. If you’re like me they are mostly sandals with pretty high heels on them. How functional are these shoes? Really? Sure they get you from point A to point B (if you’re careful), but if you’re like me you didn’t buy these shoes to walk in, now did you? Heavens NO!!! You bought these shoes, especially that favorite one that popped in your mind first, because it was – in Monica’s favorite words – a BAAAAD SHOE!!! Am I right? Sure I am.

Functional versus the pretty….

A few days prior to our chit chat about the bathroom, Sean and I saw the Tyler Perry movie Temptation. Temptation is a powerful story of the ugly peril of adultery. Labeling adultery an “ugly peril” in this movie is putting it mildly. If you haven’t seen the movie – whether you’re married or want to be married – I suggest you check it out. The acting is nothing the Academy would take note of, but the story makes for meaningful conversation about the sanctity of marriage and commitment and what it takes to maintain all of that and what can happen if you fail to do so. So that’s my 30 second review….

Anyway, the movie’s leading role was a beautiful young married woman who after 6 short years of marriage started scrutinizing the surrounding landscape in search of greener pastures. Without delving too deep into the storyline, this movie hinted at the classic makeup of men and women – the functional versus the pretty. The husband was successfully functional yet didn’t pay enough attention to “the pretty,” in this case meaning the sensitive, emotional needs of his wife. The wife lacked in her function (didn’t cook much or well, which is probably why she didn’t cook much) but was a dreamer, soft, delicate, feminine, WOMAN who needed more attention than her husband paid attention to.

From our conversation about the bathroom and reflecting on this theme in the movie, I’ve been thinking about this functional versus pretty thing a lot. I’ve prayed and asked the Lord to help me to enjoy, celebrate, appreciate and even encourage my husband’s function without losing my pretty. Because pretty is needed. As I look around our home from day to day I find myself noticing more and more evidence of his functional thought process and my need for pretty. It’s really pretty cool how my eyes have been enlightened. Hopefully this will encourage a greater appreciation of our differences, dialogue about our differences and compromise on how to marry our differences.

Functional and pretty sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G….

I love it!

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Winding Road

That day it seemed to be April showers in March, you might say. Leaving the physician’s office, the clock on the car dash struck rush hour o’clock. The afternoon ushered in an angry rain, and there I was, trapped in the middle of the downpour. The matter at hand now was to bypass the traffic jam sprawled before me. In my neck of the woods, when used together in a sentence rain and traffic become like two four-letter words of the foulest kind. They have a collaboration reputation worse than oil and water.

“Oh Lord, please get me home safely,” I prayed.

The gridlock started in the parking lot, and the herd of cars oozed onto the street like a big blob of gook. Making good use of the standstill, I inquired of Google maps for clues to an alternate route home. All brake lights seem to be headed east so by golly I wanted my brake lights to flash the peace sign as I headed WEST. I found a route just as the traffic began to crawl. So I turned left instead of right and allowed the female voice on the other end of the map to guide me home.

Although I’ve been in this great city for many years, there are still many roads I’ve not traveled. I love new routes. The scenery is fresh and new, and this path did not disappoint. The slick, road coiled before me like a snake in a rainforest. Grand stately homes seemed to rise up out of the lush green forest-like setting, complete with tall Georgia pine trees and blankets of ivy. The road was lined with gated entrances and steep dramatic cliffs. There was so much to see along this new route, but the near blinding rain forced my gaze into a locked position straight ahead.

Let your eyes look directly ahead And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. – Proverbs 4:25

At the time, my husband and I were walking through a YouVersion bible reading plan entitled “Marriage: A Lifelong Journey.” As the scripture that accompanied the day’s devotion whispered to me, a smile softened my face.

Watch the path of your feet And all your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right nor to the left; Turn your foot from evil. – Proverbs 4:26, 27

The sky was gray and darkened. The road was unfamiliar and windy. The rain was fierce and unapologetic. Wisdom encouraged me to remain alert, undistracted and to pay close attention to the road ahead of me. Gazing too long to my right, to my left or even behind me could have dangerous consequences.

And such, I do believe, is the lifelong journey of marriage. This is certainly a new and unfamiliar road for me. I expect the road to be long and windy, filled with great scenery – rich, lush landscape, gated entrances on one side and steep cliffs on the other. At some points, rain will fall and the sky may grow dim. But we should keep our eyes focused on the road ahead at all times. Not allowing our gaze to linger to our right or to our left and certainly not looking back. Instead we should watch the path of our feet, right there in front of us, and all our ways will be established.

I made it home safely that day, and I have taken the same route again since then. Of course the same scripture lesson always comes to mind. Words to live by in marriage and in life, don’t you agree?