My children’s father and I are fire and gasoline. There is no hiding this fact, as any person, friend or family who ever spent time around us while we were together are already aware of this. My kids know. We all know.
The fifteen plus years that we were together were filled with many ups and downs, as most relationships are. Towards the end, we fought and argued more often than not, thus the divorce.
When we meet people and begin relationships as adults, we commonly accept that the other person has some “baggage” of their own, coming into the new relationship with a history and past all their own. Most of us are able to accept that or at least are able to work through these. We accept the person and look to the future as opposed to the past.
My husband and I have been together for almost five years and married just over four months. He is most definitely the person I am meant to spend the rest of my days with. He is strength, comfort, humor, and grace all in one.
He is also human. Being human means that occasionally he is annoyed with me, though I can’t imagine why.
It seems that my life has become a continuous cycle of self-evaluation lately, and once again, I have learned something about myself that I find uncomfortable.
It seems that though I am certain of where my future is, and who is in it, I have not been able to completely set aside the habits of the past.
Much to my surprise, I find that I am poised, ready for the fight inside of my head.
Recently we had a simple conversation about moving objects from one kitchen cabinet to another that would make more sense. We both agree that the original cabinet is over full. We both acknowledge that a change needs to be made. We are in this together.
Yet when the suggestion is made, I find myself being defensive. Internally, I feel that I am being critiqued, and somewhere in my brain tells me that it is an attack. Old habits kick in, and I am ready to fight. I am ready with a snarky comment, I am ready to win, no matter the cost.
That is not what I want. It is a stupid kitchen cabinet and really does not matter.
Again the strength and grace of this man come into play, as he calmly sits and looks at me, while I am rude and mouthy. After a few comments, I managed to pull myself in. I apologized.
I recognize that we are not actually arguing. There is no big disagreement happening.
My automatic response has become one of defense, I feel an “attack” even when there is not one.
In the days since, I have spent time mulling this over, trying to wrap my head around it, in order to be able to prevent it in the future.
I realized it all starts with honesty.
My husband and I are a team, and in order for our team to succeed, he has to be able to trust me, which means I have to be open with him.
I am trying out sentences such as, “Logically I know it is not what you mean, but for me, it feels like this…”
These sentences feel weird coming out of my mouth, and the pause after they are said is even more awkward. The conversations following the pauses are what make it worth it.
In life, we all really just want to be heard. To be acknowledged. To know someone is listening.
I am hoping that as we move forward, I am able to develop a new “first response,” one of listening, hearing, and not defending.