Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"We're newlyweds. Just met. You know how it is. We bumped into each other, sparks happen..."

So. Remember when I sort of promised to tell the story about the Pouloses? No? Take a look at my April 13th post, down at the bottom. Go on, I'll wait.

OK. So. I've been thinking a lot lately about how grateful I am for M. And to show you just how rationally I approach the whole L-O-V-E thing sometimes, and thus don't usually get all flowery in speech or sentiment about it - not here or at church or really anywhere - I'll tell you all the story about the Pouloses.

The Pouloses were this great couple in Lemoore, CA. I was there on my mission and he was my ward mission leader (the guy who directs the missionary efforts for the ward). We called him Pelon (Spanish slang for hairy) on account of his being bald and all. Pelon would take showers and receive revelation about missionary transfers. So, at our Wednesday meetings before upcoming transfers, we'd always ask him if he'd received any revelations. He could predict (revelate?) with pretty decent accuracy. He also stood behind us sister missionaries when we elbowed our way into PEC (a Sunday morning priesthood meeting) to be there with the elders and find out what we needed to do.

Sister Poulos was a gem. She was the Young Women's president. She was so sweet and kind and funny. You could tell what kind of woman she was by the peace in her home. She was just that way. They had us over for dinner often. We heart-attacked their house on the sly one night, hiding behind cars when they came home unexpectedly and nearly discovered us. We went over and watched general conference with them. In short, we and the elders who served with us in the ward loved them!

The Pouloses were one of the first families I have ever seen have a family mission statement up on their wall. One statement, a paragraph maybe, that set out their purpose as a family and united them in it. I can't remember what it said, but I read it pretty often.

Here's something about me you may not know - the Secret of my success, as it were - when I see people who have some quality, some aspect, some something I admire, I ask them about it. How they do it. What they did to get there. Why it works for them. Then, I take the guiding principles that appeal to me and try to adopt them.

So. Independently, I polled the Pouloses. I asked Pelon "Hey, how did you get and sustain such a great marriage?" And he said something to the effect of "I give 110%. All the time. And I only expect 70% back. I'm never unhappy with the results." I asked Mrs. P "so, what is it about your marriage you think works?" And she said something like "I give 110%. All the time. And I only expect 70% back. I'm never unhappy with the results."

So. I then turned to my companion (Vicki Rasmussen Hall, wherever you are out there, know this: I love you!) and asked her "As missionaries we can pray for righteous desires, right?" "Duh, Sister Dubiel!" (she was much nicer, my memory is just mean). "So, do you think it would be a righteous desire to pray to have a marriage like the Pouloses?" "I think so."

I don't know if I ever really prayed to have a marriage like the Pouloses. But I desired it. Because of them, I knew what it could be like. And because God took great pity on a young, relatively naive missionary, He gave her her wish.

I'm so grateful for M. And for the relationship we have. And for the Pouloses to share their secret with me so that I know that the "missing" 30% - which sometimes amounts laundry sitting in baskets for weeks, empty toilet paper rolls, socks lying all over, toothpaste tubes being squished right down the middle, unrinsed dirty dishes sitting around in odd places perfecting their gunk caking process, and (you get the point) - doesn't really amount to much if I'm doing my part and he's doing his. It ebbs and flows. And it works! And I'm grateful!

OK. That's not how I would sum everything up. But that's how it came out. So, there you have it.

[Title quote is from "The Fifth Element"]


Jen said...

very insightful! Sometimes I need to work on the giving 110%. I love a good gentle reminder. Thanks! They do sound like a lovely couple! Aren't you always so grateful for such fabulous examples in your life? It is like they were put there just for you! Thanks for starting my morning off well!

Miranda said...

Wow- that totally made me smile! Since this is my second time around the block, I'm even more focused on making it work and will definitely remember the 110/70 rule....but it is nice to know that sometimes he's just as lazy as I am!

Nichole said...

Jen - "Aren't you always so grateful for such fabulous examples in your life? It is like they were put there just for you!"

Ummmm. Yeah. You mean like you guys????

Love you!

Kimberly said...

Brilliant post, Nichole, simply brilliant!

Jonathan & Katherine Earl said...

Alright! Since you won’t expect more than 70% from M, I will. “Hey M, start helping with the laundry, picking up your socks, squeezing the toothpaste from the bottom, and washing the dishes.” Uh, okay, this comment officially makes me a hypocrite!

Michelangelo said...

Well I owe this post to a very good friend of mine who asked me recently if I looked at N's post; I regrettably had to respond no. After reading N's post, I thought about our story together. I consider it ironic because of the 110/70 rule in marriage. When N and I first started dating a millennium ago, after about our 4th date, I told her that I loved her. Just wait, it gets good from here. In response, she asked me what I said, and I repeated that I loved her, she didn't respond in the typical way, she came and sat next to me and smiled. Keep in mind that she didn't tell me that she loved me back that night. It wasn't until about a month or two later that she finally told me that she loved me. Talk about stringing a guy along. Anyways, what I learned about my wife is that she is a deep thinker, much like me, and she was taking her time to find why she should love me back. I am grateful for this, because up until then it seemed that every girl I dated was superficial in every way, and they especially didn't care about me the way N does. I guess that is why I love her as much as I do. If someone asked me today what I would give for my wife, I would have to respond, I would give everything, even my life if it were asked of me. I hope that this all doesn't bore you. Thank you J for pointing me to N's blog.

Danielle said...

Love this post. And along these lines, I've decided the only way to get through life is to keep your expectations low. That's how I survive life with 2 toddlers at least. :)

And I've also decided that in order to have a truly "natural" birth, it's going to have to be a homebirth. The hospital I deliver at requires certain interventions regardless of whether I need them. It pains me to know that in order to have the birth experience I want, I'd have to go check into the hospital w/ both fists swinging, refusing the crap they want to do to me. Not exactly how I envision things, ya know? Apparently the AMA has singled out Ricki Lake for bringing attention to homebirth. And I hope she does get a lot of attention for this. Women need to know what their options are-- or rather, women should have options in the first place!

Okay, rant over. :)

Trina said...

ok so this is the sweetest thing i've ever read and u both are on of my fabulous examples! luv u both!

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