Sometimes, the task is too big for it to be fairly decided by Not It. Determining who will run to the drugstore at six in the morning for diapers, or who will teach the 3rd grader long division, for example. In dire cases like that, a round of “Paper, Rock, Scissors” is proposed, and the winner is quickly decided.
Really, between Not It and Paper, Rock, Scissors, most of the daily minutia in the Domestic Church can be dealt with.
2) Remember the ocean. Have you ever been to the beach? You know how you’re sitting there, trying to keep the baby from eating sand and the 5 and 6-year olds from painting each other with sunscreen, and all of the sudden you look around, and the tide is right there at your feet, washing the plastic shovels and buckets and whatnot out to sea? So you gather your wits, gather your stuff, and move back a bit? Or you come out in the morning, when things are still very, very quiet, and you realize the castle the kids built right at the water’s edge is now 50 yards away from the waves?
That’s the best metaphor for marriage I have. Sometimes, there’s high tide, and things are swirling around and very hectic and intense and you need to keep your wits around you so you don’t lose your stuff. And sometimes, there’s low tide, when things are quiet and still and anything that’s happening is either out of your sight or your reach. These things just are. You don’t get angry at the tides for coming in or out, you don’t view one afternoon’s high water mark as the way the ocean will stay for infinity, and neither should you do that in a marriage. There will be ebbs and flows, and they will sometimes, most times, happen around you without you noticing.
When those times happen, when the tide is up around your neck, or so far out you doubt you’ll ever see it again, pick a random task, and challenge your spouse to a round of Paper, Rock, Scissors to see who does it. I guarantee you’ll feel better.
Cari Donaldson is the author of Pope Awesome and Other Stories: How I Found God, Had Kids, and Lived to Tell the Tale. She married her high school sweetheart, had six children with him, and now spends her days homeschooling, writing, and figuring out how to stay one step ahead of her child army. She blogs about faith and family life at clan-donaldson.com.