Sandpaper Spouses: When You Rub Each Other The Wrong Way

img_4601There are many kinds of sandpaper: extra fine, fine, and varying degrees of coarse.

According to Lowes:

One way to determine which sandpaper will work best for a particular job is to know the abrasive materials and their properties.

I have a coarse sandpaper spouse. Let me explain.

One morning I exploded over a crumb-filled, butter-smeared stove cook top. Why on earth he uses the cook top as a counter when we have several feet of decent counter space is beyond me. I told him many times how it’s more difficult to clean that cook top than wipe down a counter. Not to mention how plastic bread bags can melt on it, and paper plates may burn (because he also forgets that the stove top may still be HOT). Yet, the leopard can’t change his spots.

A gas stove is a good solution and it’s been on my wish list but…

…this is only one sandpaper spouse episode. There are others.

He’s a morning person, I’m a night person. He seems to be demon-possessed when he’s tired. The nastiest stuff comes out of his mouth before he finally succumbs to deep snoring (annoying!) sleep.

Mornings in our kitchen: meet the grumpy slug and the energizer bunny. Guess which one I am? He waits and waits for his eggs and toast. And waits.

I am his sandpaper spouse.

Don’t get me wrong. We do love each other. Intensely. We just rub each other the wrong way. But isn’t it said that opposites attract?

He is wooden; I am expressive. I never know what he’s thinking or feeling. My feelings are apparent, and if he doesn’t get them, he will soon, in a very loud way. He is so primal. Scarfs down his food without looking at me, without conversation. I’m slo-o-o-ow. He’s fast, but he rushes, so he’s more accident-prone, and forgetful. I mull over decisions. He’s impulsive.

Scratch, scratch, scratch.

Sandpaper comes in different grit numbers. According to Lowes:

The grit number of a sanding product indicates the size of the abrasive particles. The lower the number, the larger the abrasive particles — they remove more material but create more noticeable scratches.

I live with a low grit sandpaper spouse. The one with the large abrasive particles, um, er…habits. I am wounded with gaping scratches. My sandpaper spouse makes me explode in anger. Then he softly, calmly asks me, “Did you take your blood pressure pill today?”

More truth on grit:

A higher number indicates smaller particles which don’t remove as much material but leave a finer, more polished appearance. – Lowes

Remove material. Smooth a surface. A more polished appearance. Hmmmmm…

Kinda like the sanctification process, perhaps?

Uses of sandpaper, according to Lowes:

  1. Stripping away_________
  2. Removing flaws
  3. Leveling and shaping wood (perfect for my ‘wooden’ spouse! I do feel like leveling him, sometimes)

As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. – Proverbs 27:17

We are always doing projects in our old house. We never realized that we are each other’s projects. Well actually, we are God’s projects. He does all the work in us.

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; – Philippians 1:6

God definitely uses marriage to refine us.

I love what Tim Challies says in Did You Marry The Wrong Person?:

“But here is what we need to see: The wrongness of our spouse is one of the great formative influences on us. The wrongness and the apparent incompatibilities are the very things God uses to mold and shape us. A few years down the road you will look back on all of that wrongness, all you declared to be wrong about your husband or wife, and find that God was not wrong at all. He knew exactly what you needed.”

It has been said and sung, “you can’t always get what you want…but you get what you need.” I believe our Lord matched us perfectly. We will be refined as gold. That’s what marriage is all about, Charlie Brown. It’s not all fun. Sometimes all that husband-wife-best-friend stuff makes me cringe. It’s not always blissfully agreeing with one another. It’s not the Jungian synchronicity of two souls brought together by serendipity. It’s two souls made one flesh by a gracious God who ordained marriage to be a display of His love.

Ugh, when I think of how poorly we represent that, I am humbled. I want to ease up on that man I nicknamed Pig Man. I’m reminded that we are both sinners saved by grace. I’m willing to be ‘sanded’ for the duration of this marriage. For my good. And he will endure my fiery darts, for his good. All for our good. For God’s glory!

Love God, love one another…

12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. – Colossians 3:12-15

Marriage is a vehicle of love. Let’s ride on.

Til death do us part.