Wednesday, August 17, 2011

For Granted

Yesterday morning, mid-way through my workout, I was hit with a sudden blast of Feeling Like Crap. I stopped what I was doing, staggered past my family playing and eating breakfast and lowered myself onto the bed, all the while letting out the occasional pathetic groan.

"Rob?" I called weakly.

My husband appeared in the doorway looking concerned. He sprang into nurse mode, bringing me a cup of water and my computer (so I could finish watching my workout entertainment, sans workout), and even took my sneakers off for me when I realized that the idea of touching my toes made me want to vomit.

I am so thankful to be able to take Rob for granted.

That idea—taking someone for granted—gets a bum rap. The longer Rob and I are married, and as I step up more fully to my role as homemaker (more on that later), I'm realizing that taking for granted doesn't have to hold the negative associations we so often give it. In fact, it's essential to a lifelong partnership.

We tend to think that taking others for granted means treating them with indifference. But treating in a careless manner is the second definition of the idiom "take for granted." The first is "to accept without question or objection; assume." With that definition in mind, being taken for granted by my partner strikes me as a completely desirable thing. To have my presence, my actions, be accepted without question? Maybe I'm reading too much into my dictionary entry, but that sounds like a compliment.

The word "assume" is, of course, a slippery slope of a word. After all, when you assume, "you make an ass out of you and me." (It ruins the wordplay, but should that actually be yourself and me? Where my grammarians at? [Somewhere behind that preposition! Ha!]) There's a fine line between assuming Rob will be there to take care of me when I don't feel well and not scrubbing the bathtub because I assume Rob will do it. But there's also trust inherent in assumption.

While I feel some pressure from Rob's assumption that the family budget will be taken care of and everything is fine with our money unless he hears otherwise, I also receive it as a compliment. He trusts me to manage our shared finances. Similarly, I assume he keeps tabs on the cars (literally and figuratively), and that everything is right with our shared vehicles. More importantly, when each of us is on our own, we are able to assume that Westley is safe, happy, and healthy in our partner's care.

When I had recovered from my bout of illness—which turned out to be a short-lived case of Icky Belly Syndrome—I ambushed Rob in the kitchen.

"Thanks for taking care of me. You always take such good care of me."

He shrugged. "There were some vows."

I reflected on my many recent maladies while pulling a bottle of mango kombucha from the fridge, realizing, "We get more use out of some of those vows than others."

Rob laughed. "Yeah, none of that 'for richer'..."



Amber @ Not Mommy said...

I love you both and I don't even know Rob (but I kinda do!). I want to print this and share it with everyone I know.

I love the idea that assuming your needs will be met is what marriage is, and that the other person in your house can assume the same from (of course your child can assume that both parents will be there and all that).

Now I want to be taken for granted...hehehe...or I want a chance to acknowledge that I already am :-)

Allison the Meep said...

(I tried writing a comment earlier, but Audrey was being a nutbag and I had to stop. You wouldn't believe how often that happens when I try to comment on your blog.)

I am with Amber - I love both of you and don't even know you in real life. I seriously want to be BFFs though, in a non-stalkery kind of way.

I love how you write about your relationship. I feel really lucky to have that kind of relationship with Wade, where we really respect each other and are there for each other even in the really small things (that over time amount to a lot).

Who cares about that 'for richer' stuff anyway when you've got a kickass life partner?

Tara said...

I completely agree. What is a marriage if you can't assume that person is going to be there 100%? I really like "to accept without question or objection". Obviously any long term relationship is about communication, but it is so nice to just be accepted for where you're at and how you feel, flaws and all. None of us is close to perfect, but there is an ease that comes with someone truly knowing and accepting all of your less than admirable qualities. It's what makes a home, you know? A marriage is an ever evolving thing and you have to be flexible enough to move with it, but I really like the idea of "being taken for granted" in this context. It represents all the beauty of familiarity. Now I'm off to take my husband for granted!