A couple years ago Mark and I were eating lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant. Awkwardly, we were seated right behind my high school music teacher and his wife.
(I say “awkwardly” because is there anything MORE awkward than being seated near someone you just barely know and/or haven’t seen in a long time? While trying to casually shove chips and salsa into your mouth? Avoiding eye contact while deciding if you should say hello or not? Nope. Nothing.)
Anyway, he stopped at our table on his way out and said hello. Because he’s a grown-up and apparently had no mental debate about whether to duck and run or not. He asked about my parents and brother (I come from a small town, remember?), and I said I’d heard he retired a few years earlier. Then – I don’t know if he asked or we offered – we mentioned having a four-year-old. I informed him that she was super smart and sweet but incredibly stubborn.
At that point my former teacher looked at Mark and said, “Well, since her mother is the most stubborn girl I’ve ever met, that does not surprise me!”
We laughed and said our [awkward] goodbyes. Then we finished our burritos and chips. But I couldn’t get that comment out of my head.
Me, stubborn? The MOST stubborn? Really? REALLY? That seemed a bit extreme. And not possibly accurate. I mean, yes, I would call myself determined. Strong. Motivated and ambitious (at least I used to be). Did I mention strong? Yes, I liked that one. But stubborn? Me?
Except, well, as it turns out…
Having a child is like holding a mirror up to my worst self. Everything that frustrates or irritates me about my darling daughter? Comes directly from her father or me – or both. And her strong will, her hardheadedness, her complete embodiment of the word STUBBORN? She got a double dose of that business.
Honestly, though, until we went through such a difficult time in our marriage two years ago, I never used the word stubborn to describe Mark or myself. Since then, it’s all I see. Every issue we have between us, every problem we’ve created, every hurdle we’ve had to jump – it all comes down to one or both of us being ridiculously stubborn. It comes down to us wanting our own way, only seeing our own perspectives, our own needs, our own opinions (which we become convinced are facts, because – remember? – STUBBORN).
We’re working on it. Both of us, day by day, counseling session by counseling session, late-night conversation by late-night conversation – we’re working on it. Understanding the problem, seeing what the real issue is has made a world of difference. Sometimes we can even laugh about it.
And sometimes being stubborn is a good thing.
Yesterday was our 15th anniversary. Fifteen years! Like I said on Instagram, it feels like yesterday – and a million years ago – all at the same time. But whether the time has flown or dragged, we wouldn’t have made it this far if we weren’t stubborn – determined to make this work, to love each other better today than the day before.
Marriage is hard. And marriage between two stubborn people? Between two stubborn people who married way too young? Yeah. It’s crazy hard. And while being stubborn is a big part of what makes our marriage hard, it’s also a huge part of what makes our marriage last.
Because we refuse to quit. We refuse to quit trying, to quit working, to quit loving. We refuse to give in or give up. We’re stubborn – and I’m glad.
We disagree on this (surprise!) but I believe wholeheartedly that Mark is the more stubborn of the two of us. But when my husband being stubborn looks like him reaching for my hand across the front seat of the car, turning up the radio and saying, “I love this song,” well, then, stubborn is a good thing. A really good thing.
Yeah, baby, looking at you right now, there ain’t never been no doubt
Without you I’d be nothing
So if you ever worry about me walking out
Yeah let me tell you something…
I hold on… I hold on…
Can you hear me baby? I hold on…
To the things, I believe in
My faith, your love, our freedom
To the things I can count on
To keep me going strong
Yeah I hold on, I hold on…
Yep. Sometimes stubborn is a good thing.
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