Hospitality as a team sport

by Kristin on September 23, 2009

in Love, family & community

Photo by gifrancis

Opposites may attract, but there’s a lot to be said for going through life with someone who seems to share your brain.

I can safely say this, having been married for a decade to someone who decidedly did NOT share my brain. Now, two years after marrying Jason, while I would never claim that any marriage is a breeze, I can say without a doubt that not every marriage is destined to be a major struggle.

There are many ways to “share the same mind” with someone, from how you problem solve to how you react in various situations. One of the big ones, though, manifests itself in a shared love for the same things. I’ve been thinking about this a lot the past week as I’ve been mulling over what I love most in life, for the Love List Project. While the project is meant to be tackled as an individual, it’s hard to deny how much easier it is to enjoy the things on your love list when your spouse or partner loves them, too.

Here’s an example: I love sharing my home, food and hospitality. Thankfully, Jason does, too. Not only are we both OK with having people over, it’s one of our favorite things to do—as long as we have the time to cook, clean and eventually relax the way we like to, that is.

Recently we’ve taken this activity we love to an extreme. One of Jason’s colleagues has been staying with us for almost two weeks, now. This is a stretch, even for me, an extrovert who doesn’t need as much privacy as some people. Our day to day life can be complicated. We have one bathroom, three kids, a dog, and a lot of commitments. Offering warm hospitality for an extended period of time could easily feel overwhelming.

Amazingly, though, it’s gone really well.  It certainly helps that Nate, our guest, is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. It also helps that when we throw ourselves into something we love, it can energize and inspire us, offsetting the ways it might also drain and wear on us.

But what helps the most is that Jason and I are in our element together, working side-by-side to accomplish something that matters to us—making someone comfortable and at home, serving some of our favorite meals, and engaging in different conversations around the dinner table, as we deepen a new friendship.

Suddenly, because Jason and I took on something we love together, we were able to transform what could easily be stressful into a rewarding labor of love. I feel very grateful for that.

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  • Maureen

    I know what you mean about “being of the same mind”. Not sure whether my second husband is my “soul mate” or not but it certainly is easier this time. I think it was because we both took the time to get to really KNOW each other thoroughly before we made any commitments. Ok I admit it, we met on line. We emailed each other for six months before we actually met and started phoning each other three months before we met. It reminded me of how people actually got to know each other this way before they got married in the “olden days”. It sure helped. That’s all I know and I think I will start a Love Project as well. I’m a way out extrovert and he is a very private man so a lot of time our Love Lists clash.

  • Christine Perez Thompson

    Starting the ‘Love List” today!!! Thanks for sharing!

  • Lisa

    This resonated so much with me that I had to forward your post to Ricardo! We share this same love. Now we just need to practice it more often with you and Jason!! oxox

  • jenx67

    you’re a saint! i don’t think I could handle a week!

  • Kristin T.

    Maureen, I have heard stories from others who got to know each other via phone and email before they began any physical/romantic relationship. It sounds like a very healthy way to start, in many ways. Pretty much the exact opposite thing happened leading up to my new marriage, though! We were just *right* for each other, and we knew right away, without a doubt (which I was beginning to think wasn’t realistic/possible). I don’t know what I think anymore about relationships—why they work and don’t, what the best ones are rooted in, etc. It’s just a case by case thing, I guess.

    Christine, I’m so glad you like the love list idea. You have young kids, right? I think it’s even more important to claim what you love when your kids so naturally suck so much of your time and energy (even though we love them too, of course!). If you feel like it, please stop by Friday’s love list post and share a couple of things from your list!

    Lisa, whenever I’m at your house I can plainly see and feel that you and Ricardo share this love. If having people over and cooking meals for them is on your love list and mine, we really have no excuse! :)

    jenx67, well, I wouldn’t say that! Our guest was the easiest person to have around, and Jason is such a great help—he cooks, AND he’s very relaxed. (A saint, I am not!)

  • Joi T.

    I really got into the great purpose of establishing a Love List idea last week. (And having company for 2 weeks wasn’t on it!) So many ideas came into my head – here are some of them: I love quiet! Walks with our dog on a cool night with the moon coming in and out of the clouds and the crickets and tree frogs singing. I love figuring out how to fix a problem or brainstorming ideas. Cooking a delicious meal that someone enjoys. Walking thru a great yarn shop and dreaming of having time to knit again. Just watching and listening to our granddaughters interact, think, express love and to see their happiness. Teaching Sunday School classes and thinking of ways to do it well and watching the lights come on in my students. Reading Your blog. Advocating for Christian Education for all ages. Everything sensation that reminds me of my outdoor camping experiences in all stages of my life. A good deep discussion. Receiving an almost weekly phone call from our son. The great feeling of having tackled and accomplished a procrastinated chore. Hearing and seeing my cardinal friends. An arm around my waist and a hug. Discovering the amazing evidence of God’s presence in all sorts of surprising ways in my life! Lighting up the lives of people at our moms’ nursing home.

  • Kristin T.

    Joi, your list is wonderful, and a great expression of who you are. (Full disclosure: Joi is my mom!) It seems like you’ve done a lot, these past few years, to organize your life around the things that you love. It’s impressive, considering how much you do for others. Now you can look at your list and determine which activities you wish you had more time for, and then figure out how to make room for them in your life. :)