My husband, Joseph, and I moved out of our apartment a little over a week ago. For me, the whole process was a puzzle of organization and storage. While packing I was amazed at how much we had accumulated! In a little over two years we had added one baby, plus all his belongings, and had managed to completely fill a one bedroom apartment.
As I was frantically packing boxes, cleaning shelves, and planning what we were going to take with us, I was doing the math and keeping track of the countless hours I was serving our family. According to my calculations, I was the one packing up our lives, working a couple part-time jobs, taking care of our son, cooking, and shopping. With each passing day, I was getting more and more frustrated that I wasn’t getting any help from Joseph. We had a deadline for our move-out date and I was going to make it.
On the peak day of my frustration, Joseph and I went to the marriage group at our local church. During a talk given by friends, an analogy was presented to us: the love in your relationship should be like chemistry and not math. A light bulb went off in my head. I suddenly realized that this was the reason for my frustration—I was doing math. When you do math in your relationship you are constantly adding and subtracting: I did this, and he didn’t do that. But with chemistry, we can both add different elements to get a reaction of love.
On the car ride home from the church, I brought up my frustration and shared my discovery inspired by the analogy. As we talked, I realized how blinded I had been in doing my own math. My focus on my own contributions kept me from seeing how much Joseph had been adding his own elements to our marriage without counting the cost: being gracious throughout his busiest time of year at work, getting sick with the flu, and working a part-time job from home at night.
I didn’t need to count the minutes I spent packing, number of shelves I wiped down, and dirty rags I went through. Throughout this whole experience, I should have been putting less focus on my calculations and more focus on lovingly serving my family. Talking it through with my family helped us refocus on our marriage and our move. The result? A new outlook on how we serve one another in day-to-day tasks and, eventually, a new home to call our own.