This is me and my husband. He’s a great guy. Sweet, funny, sexy and oh, so patient with me.
Why is patience such a key? Because being married to a Penelope isn’t easy. At. All. We’re…ahem…a complicated bunch.
Let’s be clear, though, there are big upsides and my husband definitely benefits from them. Among them:
- Our house is always clean and tidy.
- Our children’s field trip and school forms are always turned in on time.
- I take all the kids to the doctor on time, and follow up with any recommended medical care to the letter.
- There’s a menu on the fridge that tells my husband what he’ll be eating each night and I prepare those meals for him.
- Our bills are always paid on time.
- Party invites are RSVP’d to immediately and gifts for birthdays and holidays are purchased and wrapped in advance of the event.
- I’m on time nearly all the time.
These, among others, are things that my innate Penelope-ness brings to my husband’s life. And he would be the first person to say that he loves all of these traits and does not take any of them for granted.
However…cue dramatic music. There are downsides to be married to a Penelope. Among them:
- Everything – EV-ER-Y-THING – has its place and must be in it within seconds. I’ve almost tripped my husband putting away his shoes before he’s gotten them all the way off. And jackets hung on the backs of chairs? Quickest way to irritate me.
- I’m a bit, in a word, controlling. I have opinions on everything including what lights should be on when and how loud the tv should be.
- Everyday clutter annoys me. Not huge messes. I mean “the kid is playing with Legos” clutter. And I have to fight vibing that annoyance. I do not always win said fight.
- I’ve been accused of being rigid. There is a way we do things, people. Not two ways. A way. (And guess who’s way that is?)
- I don’t “go with the flow” well.
- I tend to always have several tasks on my mind, which means I’m constantly running a “To Do List” through my head. My husband doesn’t like feeling that our special time together – our super special naked alone time – is an item on my To Do List. This can be difficult because it sometimes is. (Sorry, honey. I love you.)
- I can get a little cranky when my family isn’t getting with the program. Which means, they aren’t doing things the way I want them done or when I want them done.
And I could go on and on.
So, mixed bag, right? I really do think that some days I’m an awesome, kick ass, “everyone-should-have-one” kind of wife. And other days I marvel that my husband puts up with me. On those days, though, he reminds me of the good things and downplays the bad stuff. He’s said a million times “I’d rather be married to a Penelope than any other kind of woman.” and he honestly means it. The ways I take care of him and our home and family are the ways he receives love. For another man, though, living with me would be a rigid, overly-controlled hell. Trust me, I’ve met (and married) that man in the past. And he’s a great man. Just not for me.
But, here’s the thing. I know I can’t change. I can work to be more flexible and less rigid, and I should, but I am not going to fundamentally all of a sudden be a free-wheeling, carefree, live by the seat of my pants kind of girl. One who can smile and laugh while surrounded by clutter and noise. One who can just drop everything and go on a spontaneous “let’s not even make reservations – let’s just see where the road takes us” trip. Uh uh.
Ain’t gonna happen.
But, what I’ve learned in my 40 years is to accept -nay- value who I am at my organized core. And the single most important thing I’ve learned in my second marriage is the importance of choosing a partner who values my strengths and who tolerates (and counterbalances) my weaknesses. Who, in fact, sees my innate Penelope-ness as a strength, not just something to be tolerated with a roll of the eyes and a passive aggressive remark. No, being with a man who loves the Penelope is me is the only way I can be my authentic, tidy, controlling self.
What about you? Has your Penelope-ness affected your marriage? In good ways or bad?
A Penelope Classic Post, originally posted in 2013.