I learned the truth years ago: I am married to a self-proclaimed porcupine. Of course Mark is a great husband and most often fun to be around. But, there are definitely moments when his resemblance to a porcupine is overwhelming (and quite hysterical!). Well, let me clarify that—it is hysterical after the fact. It actually can be painfully prickly in the moment.
For those of you who don’t know much about this little animal, let me fill you in. What makes them so unique is their armor of sharp quills and how they use them when they react to other animals. Let me get to the point—Mark is the porcupine and I am a totally different animal, in more ways than one. We are about as opposite as you can get on the communication spectrum. I am married to Mr. Wordsmith and I am not detailed in my expressiveness. I am very open and quick to say what’s on my mind.
The result: I tend to put his quills on end with my words. Ouch!
I can’t tell you how many times I have wished within seconds of finishing a sentence that I could suck every last letter back in and stuff it back down my throat. I have learned the painful way how to make life with a porcupine a little less prickly. If you love someone who can be diffucult at times, here are my tips to avoid pricks:
1. Spin before you Speak
Like I said, I tend to say exactly what I’m thinking as I think it. What I have learned to do is to spin my words around a little before I speak. It gets back to basic self-control over the tongue with a little strategic re-wording before I let it fly. So much more soothing to the ears of the prickly one. I failed at this last week. We have these tall cypress type trees I had planted to act as a privacy screen for the backyard. They dry out easily and I mentioned that they were turning brown. My porcupine heard that comment as, “You don’t think I am taking care of the yard.” Of course, that is not what I meant (well, actually it was), but I could have said it in a more gracious way. For example, I could have spun it and said, “Wow, thanks for cutting the grass. Our yard looks great. Do you need any help watering? I don’t think it has rained much this week.”
2. Don’t take the Porcupine Personally
Second, it’s important to know to not take it personally. If your husband is a porcupine, then this means that he can be prickly. One rub against his quills the wrong way, and you’re left feeling hurt. When this happens, I encourage you to take a step back and know that miscommunication and hurt feelings are just another part of marriage that we get through. And beneath those quills is a guy that you absolutely adore—porcs are really cute!
3. Quell the Quills
More than anything, I have learned that I can calm those quills with a little TLC. You just have to know your porcupine’s love language. If I see him quilling up and I rush in with a little physical touch, goofy joking, and loving looks—he just melts. I can visibly see the stress leave his face—what a great thrill that is for me. To know that I can ease someone’s angst. We do it for our kids all the time. We can do it for husbands too—we are all kids at heart.
I am learning to enjoy the challenge of being married to a porcupine! Sure, it’s not always the smoothest thing in the world. But it’s different and fun loving someone who can be unlovable at times. And trust me, it’s always worth it.
Are you married to a porcupine? I think one of my kids is a porcupine, too—for sure!