I was shoveling the other day – as you do in New England in February – and my mind started to wander.  I turned to look at Mr. O, shoveling another part of the driveway and it hit me…

How we shovel, is how we deal with life.

We both tend to approach almost everything in drastically different ways.  He’s an optimist, I’m a realist (or pessimist, depending on who you ask).  He’s more go with the flow, I like to have a plan.  It goes on and on.

It wasn’t until I was mulling over the meaning of life while shoveling that I realized that this one simple task can sum up how we deal with just about everything.


I have a system.  I work on one section until it’s done, then I move on.  I shovel a small strip of snow at a time so that the snow doesn’t spill over the edge of the shovel and I don’t have to go back and redo areas.  I use an ergonomic shovel and toss the snow back away from the driveway in preparation for the next storm.

Mr O:

Says he has a system – I don’t see it.  He does a little bit at the top of the driveway, then pushes his shovel all the way down, making 2 paths for our cars to use, then starts working someplace else.  He shovels large strips at a time, letting snow fall over both sides, then goes back and reshovels the fallen flakes.  He uses the first shovel he finds and pushes the snow to the edge, often returning over the next several days to push the snow back further when another storm is forecast.

Does it really matter?

When first moved in together, his method of shoveling drove me nuts.  It seemed so haphazard and disorganized, which is the opposite of how I do things.  I would actually get annoyed watching him shovel.

In 2010-2011 I was pregnant and couldn’t help with the shoveling.  That also happened to be the winter that every single storm was measured in feet instead of inches, and my pregnancy paranoia had me convinced our roof was going collapse at any moment.  It was during this winter that I realized that I couldn’t care less how he did the job, I was just really lucky to have a husband who got out there and got it done.

Since then I haven’t been annoyed at his shoveling style, but I do get frustrated when we try to do something together and we want to go about it in totally different ways.  But while I was shoveling, the light bulb went on.  We do everything differently.  We put food away differently.  We hang clothes in Miss O’s closet differently.  We clean the house differently.  We drive, make the bed, and even eat differently.

And that’s okay.

Marriage isn’t about doing everything the same way.  Marriage is about having, and working toward – in our own way – the same goals.  So while he might dust for a bit, then clean the bathroom, while I work on one thing at a time, what’s important is that we are both moving toward the same end.

These are things they never tell you about marriage.  Or maybe they do, but you can’t really hear it until you’ve been there.

Have you had any “aha” moments about your relationship?  Share in the comments.

Metaphor 3

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