Matt Knutson: Marriage is about being on the same team

Published 10:18 pm Thursday, April 20, 2017

Things I Tell My Wife by Matt Knutson

“I don’t know how I could look through my wallet four times for that card, and you could find it on your first glance,” I told my wife, relieved she found what I thought I misplaced. To be clear, the card was exactly where I thought it was, meaning I was not as irresponsible as I feared. I just couldn’t find it when I searched for it over and over again. That’s the reason I married Sera. She is so clearly the other half of me.

So much about marriage seems to be fulfilling this “other half” role. Now that we’re nearly four years in, one of my most appreciated parts of our marriage is our ability to sense when one of us is overwhelmed by whatever is going on. In most cases, this is related to parenthood. Some days are harder than others. I’m sure at one point, all parents have wondered who is going to change their baby’s next diaper, because surely they had reached the quota for the day. It’s pretty easy to recognize when Sera reaches that point (whether it be diaper-related or not), and she’s grown accustomed to stepping up when I’m at the end of my rope as well.

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Recently I went to Arizona for work, and Sera accompanied me in addition to our daughter, Gracelyn. If you have ever traveled with an infant, you’ll know a three-hour plane ride with a young Dora the Explorer is both a thrilling adventure and an exhausting endeavour. You can only read so many stories and watch so many Elmo videos before one of the three of us lost it, and as fate would have it, Gracelyn was the first to go. In a plane filled with new and exciting people, it’s no wonder she wanted to ignore all of the activities we had planned for her and explore life at 30,000 feet. Not being able to wander the plane meant our daughter was a bit fussier than normal and harder to soothe in such a limiting environment. Our tag team approach was able to keep us both relatively sane as we passed Gracelyn back and forth between us.

It’s all living out a piece of advice we received at our wedding. Alway remember you are on the same team. When Sera shouts from the other room that she needs a towel for Gracelyn, I’m quick to my feet to meet her request, even though I’d rather be watching something on Netflix. When I can’t fathom getting up in the middle of night to calm our crying daughter for the fourth night in a row, Sera doesn’t hesitate to venture into Gracelyn’s room to provide her comfort. These actions are what makes the difference day in and day out. We’re pushing each other to be better, and filling in the gaps when we know the other isn’t yet sufficient.

A lot of this comes from being good listeners. We’ve both become incredibly perceptive at interpreting one another’s words, actions, and lack thereof. What I can’t explain is how my wife can so tangibly find a solution to a problem like a missing card after I’ve attempted so many times to do the same thing. There’s a stereotypical sitcom father character that has been on television for years where the dad is pretty much a screw up who couldn’t even leave the house in one piece without his wife. I hate that trope and actively work against it in our own home, yet here I was, finding the truth in even the most annoying art.

On a rare occasion, I’ll find myself sitting on our living room couch and wonder what my life would be without Sera. I’m a very capable person (she’d agree with that assessment), but so many of my own faults or insecurities are overcome with her in my life. To journey through life with someone like her is a true gift. I hope everyone who wants a relationship like that is able to find it. More important than finding that relationship is learning how to best partner with them day in and day out. Your partnership could look vastly different than how Sera and I operate, but when everything and everyone syncs together, it will become the most valuable treasure you have.

Matt Knutson is a communications specialist in Rochester.