It’s been nearly two months now that David and I have been living together, and there’s definitely been some adjustments for both of us. I guess it’s normal to assume that two people who love each other deeply living in a small space together would make for a ‘windy sail’ but boy have we hit some storms already! No journey is smooth all the time and it takes developing the right attitude to learn from each storm how to handle it better and which directions to move in (so easy to say, and not so easy to do). David and I are two very different people with very different upbringings. Our values match and we have a similar purpose in life which is important, but how we reach that purpose is very different. Two different people with complimentary personalities, a similar purpose and the same values is great recipe to work with, a good blend of ingredients, but figuring out exactly how much of each ingredient to add is the tough part.

Reflecting on the Past

Growing up I often had to figure things out myself. Coming from a broken family I didn’t always have the guidance I needed, but instead had to stomach the feelings that different situations brought me without truly understanding them. I’m guessing it’s normal when we don’t fully understand something and it doesn’t feel nice that we’d want to run away from the problem. I mean if you see a huge ball being hurled at your face are you going to stand there and let it knock you out if you haven’t yet learned to catch it, or would you just dodge the ball and run!? This became a classic reaction of mine whenever things would go wrong. I didn’t want to face things, or I don’t believe I even knew how. I did try tough, I tried very hard, but I used my efforts to help others in a lame attempt to ignore facing my own problems that I simply did not know how to fix. The relator in me made me want to understand things (I had a lot of questions but not always someone to ask), and the empathy in me along with my own personal experiences made me want to help people and fix all their problems. I had a lot of advice for my family and friends that I thought was helpful, and perhaps to an extent it was, but how could I give advice on the most crucial things I hadn’t yet learned myself?

Everything about my life was ‘free’. I spent every moment of my spare time during my childhood years on a bike with my best friend riding around the streets of New Zealand, playing sports and enjoying the outdoors. There was little to no structure in my house. We ate when we wanted, went out when we wanted, and lived an extremely spontaneous lifestyle. David’s upbringing from what he’s shared with me was very different. He had scheduled times for studying, for activities, for dinner, and a lot of advice and lessons taught to him by his parents. He became disciplined and structured and I became a free spirit.

Past Can Still Be Present

So fast forward to now and just like our upbringing, David Schedules his day. All his meetings are scheduled from the week before and he crams in as many meetings as possible to maximize the hours of the day, then he uses the evenings to catch up on emails and play his video games which is his time to relax. My day on the other hand is to follow the schedules that are already in place at work and enjoy my spare time doing tasks at home as they show themselves. Household chores are not scheduled by me, if the place looks like it’s getting dirty then it’s time to clean it, if we are both hungry then it’s time to cook something or go out to eat. This is not something I plan ahead of time at a specific time each day. If there is personal time then I do whatever takes my fancy at that moment, reading, or writing, or watching movies, or going for a walk, or surfing the net.

Goal Setting

Both of us have goals of course, but because of our roots, we achieve them very different ways. We both (for example) were involved in charity over the years. David served on the board of Habitat for Humanity for many years, which is an amazing organisation that builds houses for the poor. He was helping to raise funds and build houses. I on the other hand found charities to work with, yet somehow managed to do it alone in a more ‘spontaneous’ way. I found a hospital (AFP Hospital on V. Luna) where I met an amazing lady called Aida Calagui (an angel in fact) who looked after all the cancer patients in the children’s ward. I didn’t attend charity functions or join a board, but instead I randomly organised events where I could bring the kids out for a ‘fun’ day out, along with random visits to the hospital to hang out with the kids (Inspired by the Kythe foundation) as that’s what they do. The money I raised for different treatments of chemo or MRI’s or whatever, was from friends and family, and the events I put together were sponsored by whoever was willing to contribute at the time. Mostly the management at different cinemas or bowling allies would donate the cinema tickets and bowling lanes for free, then I just needed a sponsor for the food and paid for the transport myself. I did this for around 7 years until my life got a little too disorganised with a lot of changes going on and I stopped the events and visits. Both approaches reaped results, but David’s approach was a lot more organised than mine and he probably got a lot more done as a result. He developed many relationships at the source of an organised charity which means he is still invited and attending events until now, whereas my approach meant that once the work was done everything kind of fizzled out altogether, with only a few memories left.

Learning to Catch the Ball

I have learned from David the importance in Discipline and organising the day which allows us to reap the benefits long after the efforts stop. If we don’t plan for a retirement fund then when the time comes there won’t be one, If I don’t learn to save a certain amount of money each month then I will have no savings, if I don’t document what I spend my money on then I won’t know where it all went and if I don’t plan to work on my shortcomings, then they will always be, well, short. This is David’s voice in my head writing these words. David is the one teaching me these things I probably should have learned as a child. I still want to be spontaneous at times as I believe it’s part of my nature loving character, but even artists with great talents who long to be free need structure to make and sell their work and I’m that artist that never learned how to make the sale. Good thing is it’s never too late, so I’ve been learning… slowly. I’m finally learning to catch that ball instead of dodge it! It’s challenging learning to face the things that I spent years running away from. Without the freedom to run, my mind gets clouded when I get overwhelmed. And there’s another problem, although David has many amazing qualities that make him who he is today, the patience it takes to teach someone like me is not one of them.

Team Work

With such different backgrounds it must be normal that we would process things differently. David admirably takes a situation, thinks it through and comes back with a solution. I would take a situation and voice out the whole process until I reach a solution (that might also be because I’m a girl and he’s not!). I need that help of voicing things out and throwing ideas off someone else along with the fact that I simply enjoying the process and talking. I work the best in a team, David works great on his own. The process of me voicing things out can irritate David as he sees it as a waste of time, while David’s process of leaving at a crucial moment to think can make me feel a little ‘abandoned’ during the conversation wondering why he won’t answer. Neither of us are trying to hurt the other, we just have very different ways of dealing with things or figuring stuff out.

Team work requires getting to the heart of things, determining the most important or essential facts which is important before making any decisions in order to reach the goal. David loves me and wants to see me succeed, he teaches me the things he sees lacking in me, but being a slow learner in my weak areas can be frustrating for both of us. My pace is different to his, and I have questions during the teachings to understand things better. David has a process to teach me which means I am interrupting him by asking questions. Same goal, different process!


That’s why it’s important to focus on the heart of things, on the purpose. If the purpose in this example is for me to learn and him to help me, then do I follow David’s routine of teaching me and holding back my questions as not to interrupt him, or does David hold back his irritation and listen to my questions even if I’m throwing him off track and making it harder for him to teach. After a chat with some friends who have been married for many years, it’s clear that we were doing things wrong. So what’s the right way?

1. FOCUS on the goal – In this case the goal is to to help me learn something new and become a slightly better me, and for David to help me do so. So if we get thrown off by our different ways, it’s important to come back to the goal and why we were doing this in the first place. Getting argumentative which each other is neither helpful nor informative and defeats the whole purpose.
2. PLAN to Work together – we both have different styles so working together is not that simple, it involves a plan. If David can’t be interrupted then I mustn’t interrupt him. If I have questions then I need to ask them in order to understand the subject fully. So a better way to do things might be for me to write down my questions while he’s talking, then once he is done we can go through them one by one.

Well good things come out of some careful planning, like writing this blog for example made me miss Aida and my times at the hospital so much that I have already planned my next visit. Thinking through our differences means deliberate attempts to improve them, so long as my heart is open to do so, and writing this blog has given me a good step forward. God allows all circumstance in our lives because they mature us and teach us to be a better person, and i’m touched He is trusting us with the storms!

P.S: No the baby is not ours (I wish). It’s our beautiful nephew, Lucas. A wedding followed by a birth.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.”
1 Peter 4:8