One of my biggest pet peeves is waiting. I particularly hate waiting for something to not have it come when expected. It’s the worse.
Let me clarify, I loathe the anticipation of an event; the evaluation with a supervisor, the results of a test, I resort to my high school self. My inside begins to convulse and my heart races, my left side begins feels paralyzed, stuck in minimal range of motion.
I have flashbacks to defining moments, moments I had sat and calculated the necessary score to pass. As much as there was hope there was more probability I wouldn’t likely score what I needed. It was insane, my heart still beats.
What’s this have to do with marriage?
Marriage is hard, man, anyone who said it isn’t well, challenge hasn’t hit you yet. Think about it, we’re two people who are not identical, we have opposing personalities and therefore opposing idiosyncrasies, weaknesses, and strengths. We are going to hit conflict and it does create struggle, the problem lies in how we respond to it. For us, we’re both stubborn which is good and bad, like anything, there needs to be a healthy balance. We admit, we didn’t take a healthy approach for many of our challenging moments. I’ve been known to get upset and decide to pay him back by ignoring him, ha, you can imagine how well that turned out. I’d walk around, doing tasks around the house in hope he would simply state how wrong he was, how sorry he was, never happened but I worked it like I had to. And he’d refine from showing anger or expressing upset at that moment he was hurt yet, he’d have an irrational response to something minor, like the kids leaving dirty clothes on the floor or dishes not be put away for two, five days…
Yet, as challenging as many of these hang ups can be, as much as the first inclination can be is escape it, particularly if it had been a chronic problem, this isn’t always the best, easiest answer.
Here are three things we tried and found, with persistence to be the gear to bring change:
Listen to what the other is saying,
it isn’t always with words they are speaking, pay attention to what is important to them. It seems so cliche, however, there is such truth in it. There were things I assumed he ought to know about me, things I desired and yearned for yet I really didn’t share them as well, I assumed he ought to know them. And then when we had moments of miscommunication or a lack of communication, I found I had less desire to share and even less desire to listen to what he was communicating. The toughest times are these; however, they are the most necessary. It’s easy to get along when everything in the world is right, it’s those tough moments that take the most effort and often the most necessary.
You are NOT always going to feel amazing,
and it’s OK. It’s ok not not feel like Joanna Gaines/Betty Crocker, it’s ok to have a day you simply don’t feel stellar. It was always a struggle when I spoke with other women who made that extra effort to talk about all of the extras they did on a regular basis for their husband and how on days they didn’t they felt bad and worked to make it up. I envied their tenacity to speak with zeal about their role as a wife, but there will be moments it isn’t in you, moments you’re tired, moments you’re emotionally worn out, and it’s ok. It’s ok to not seek perfection each moment and to say it’s ok.
Talk. Share. Be transparent. Share, even if it’s silly conversation. I frequently steered from conversation that didn’t seem to have purpose or importance. I assumed if it wasn’t significant to me it certainly wouldn’t be to my husband. Ironically, I found the opposite to be true. I found he cared, he wanted to hear, and sadly I would silently discredit him for having any interest.
Marriage is tough and whomever proclaims that it is easy perhaps hasn’t had challenging moments yet. Listen, no matter where your marriage is now, it can change; however, it is up to you to do the work, to invest, to lay aside yourself, and at moments place yourself last. It may mean you have to wait to see results, keep investing. It may mean there are moments your heart is empty, alone, keep investing. There will be moments it will be difficult and you may want to give up, but continue working. It’s worth the wait. 🙂