None of the pre-marital books I read talked about what to do when your spouse frustrates you.
One of the first times I felt this rising angst at Mr. B was when we had our first dinner guests over - good friends who got married two weeks prior to us. The prospective evening delighted me and made me nervous at the same time. We still had no curtains for the windows. Twine tied together one of our kitchen chairs, and another one doubled as a lawn chair.
Regardless, I cleaned everything I could, studied my recipes and when the time came, Mr. B grilled the meat perfectly. The potatoes turned out like they were supposed to, and even the watermelon salad didn't disappoint.
Sitting there after dinner, I was pleased as punch. As the night continued, we swapped wedding stories with our friends and laughed about the mishaps and moments we would remember forever. Suddenly, I realized that I was the only one laughing at their jokes. Stealing glances at Mr. B, I saw that while he was there in body, mentally, he was somewhere else.
The more our friends talked, the more frustrated I became at Mr. B's preoccupation. My social sensitivity nerves stood on end. I wished he could be more socially aware, like me. Didn't he know how rude his lack of attention was?
Unsure about whether my frustration was legitimate or based on exaggeration of circumstances, I held back. As it turned out, Mr. B's mind had been spinning that night about our dreams and plans for the future after our friends shared some of theirs.
A few weeks later, Mr. B experienced a similar mounting frustration with me. Walking down the swarming sidewalks of Victoria, B.C., during Labor Day weekend, I kept noticing that while Mr. B held my hand, he routinely squeezed it, and then sometimes shifted pressure from right to left. Convinced that my handsome companion was flirting, I reciprocated and thought nothing of it until later that night when we walked past the light bedazzled Parliament Building on the harbor on our way to dinner. Suddenly, I felt a strong pull to the left, so much so that I had to take a side step to keep my balance. I had almost run smack into someone else strolling down the sidewalk.
Apparently, Mr. B's spatial sensitivity nerves acted a lot like my social sensors. Multiple times during that day he had saved me from spatial mishaps with oncoming currents of tourists. I never even realized it. He told me later how he wished I could have a little more sensitivity to my physical surroundings, like he did. Why didn't I notice the people bearing down on me?
That day, I learned to appreciate the frustration that comes with being married to someone who's wired differently. Neither of our innate sensitivities are wrong. They're just different.
I can help Mr. B become more socially aware. And he can help me become more spatially aware. Ironically, our differences offer opportunities to whittle down our rough edges.
So the next time I start wishing Mr. B were more like me, I'm going to think about square pegs and round holes and submit to a little whittling.
Catherine Baker is a graduate of Arizona State University and currently lives in Seattle, Washington. She got married in June and will share her experiences as a newlywed in a weekly column for WORLD on Campus.