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#41 When you’ve made a big old mess of your marriage

1 Nov

Where do you start when you’ve made a big old mess of your marriage? I’ve made a big mess of mine, that’s for sure. And now we’re at odds. I haven’t been forgiven, and there’s a lot of anger. We also disagree on certain fundamentals for our marriage. I also haven’t followed my own Marriage Project advice, and I’m pretty upset with myself.

Couple that with:

  • Recently finding out our son has some special needs and dealing with the scheduling and the handful of specialists who want their hands on him
  • Me starting a new job
  • Having some custody issues regarding my daughter with her father

and we’re stretched really thin.

So, where do I start? Things aren’t going to get fixed overnight, but what can I do now to get the ball rolling? Let’s get back to the basics:

Maybe it’s a small start, but I need to start somewhere. Wish me luck.

#37: Marriage is not a noun; it’s a verb. It isn’t something you get. It’s something you do.

8 Dec

At least, that’s what they say. And it’s what I’ve been trying to put into practice.

Patience is something I’m still working very hard on. I’m not afraid of confrontation, but I try to avoid it if it’s not really necessary.

But in order to not be confrontational over minor things (which could come across as ‘nagging wife’ or ‘complaining wife’) one must exercise some patience.

I’ve been getting better at it. Last night, my husband and I were talking, and it got to be late. My husband HATES talking about anything serious before bed. I, on the other hand, can not sleep if stuff is on my mind, and I feel most comfortable talking to him when we ARE in bed. Our guard is down, we’re comfortable, we’re not tense. It seems like a PERFECT place and time to talk.

But he doesn’t like to; maybe he feels vulnerable. Maybe he actually wants to sleep when he gets into bed. I don’t know or understand the reason why, but since me bringing up things before bed seemed to always turn things into a crazy fight, I’ve been trying to honor his request to not talk about anything serious before sleep.

So last night, as we started talking, he said he’d rather not, and really wanted to get some sleep.

And I obliged and shut my mouth. That was an exercise in patience. Not so much because I had something burning that I just HAD to discuss (the issue was minor), but because I’m not sure when I’ll get to have my say and I have to sit and wonder when he might want to talk. I have to be a mindreader. If I bring it up again, I’m a nagging wife.

Last night, he had his say (he disagreed with me), then said he would really like some sleep.

This takes me to something else completely. Sometimes I don’t even care what the issue is about. I just want to know that he takes my opinion/thoughts/whatever seriously, even if he disagrees. I want to know that he’s at least trying to understand what I’m saying. I don’t know that if he gets to say his peace and then decides the conversation is over.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not even mad. There’s no point. We’re going to be with each other for a long time, and if he hates talking before bed, nothing is going to magically make him like it. So it’s my turn to make the accommodation and try to be patient.

Sometimes I want to blow up and say, “Well when the heck do you expect us to talk? We work all day, come home, feed the kids, eat our dinner, do bedtime for the kids, do some chores, maybe watch an hour of tv, and then it’s our bedtime! Bedtime is the only time we have peace and quiet. When do you propose we talk???”

But I know that’s not a good direction to go, either. I think most times if I’m just patient and calm, things will work themselves out. Things will eventually get addressed.

So I’m going to work some more on being patient, not rushing to solutions, decisions, or blowing up and yelling.

But does this make a really understanding wife, or a pushover?

Situation #7: You know how you have to argue something to the very end on principle alone?

22 Oct

Yeah, well, you don’t.

Don’t argue it and bring it up to death, even on principle alone, (unless it’s something you feel SO strongly about that you will divorce them unless they somehow see your reasoning and agree with you.)

Pick your battles.

I picked the wrong one last night (again) and kind of feel like an ass idiot.

You live and you learn.

And I’m trying to learn to bite my tongue when it’s not a big deal, or even if it is a big deal but not worth getting into a huge fight over.

Update to Mistake #2: Know when to grow a pair. Also know when to let something go. Don’t be wishy-washy.

29 Sep

Crisis averted? Maybe?

I eventually went to bed. He was asleep, and as much as I really, really, really wanted to talk, I kept my mouth shut. As I was drifting off, I could hear our little one tossing and turning through the baby monitor. My turn to get up, of course. He settled back down, but the noise of the kiddo woke my husband up, too.

He kind of looked around (I think he was unsure if I was back yet), and HE ASKED ME HOW MY NIGHT OUT WAS.

There I was, expecting him to turn his back on me, expecting him to give me the silent treatment as a form of punishment, but no. He asked me how my night out was.

So, was I expecting my expectations much too low in the arguing arena? I don’t know, but when I had come to bed, I was on the defensive, ready to go at it if he should say anything to hurt my stupid fragile feelings.

After we talked about that for a minute, he apologized for fighting with me. And you know what? After a long miserable day from hell, that was enough. That was MORE than enough. At this point I didn’t even care about the original issue; it’s really something we may just have to agree to disagree about. I apologized, too, for pushing and pushing earlier in the day.

Overall, I think that went okay. Crisis averted. Time to get back at it and start a new ‘project.’

#12: Accept that he will never put the toilet seat down

3 Sep

My husband got me a label maker to help soothe the OCD beast in me. I label everything. He’s had fun with it too…labeling the crib with ‘baby’ or our bedroom toilet with ‘poop and pee.’ This way I’ll be sure to know where everything goes, apparently.

I decided to keep playing along and labeled the toilet under the seat, asking him to put the seat down when he is done.  I have to give him credit, he did it a bunch of times. But then he stopped.

I’m sure I’ll get some flack from guys. “Why should we put it down? Then we have to put it both up and down.”

I understand that, but my problem isn’t even really with the seat. I want the cover down too. I put the cover up and down every time. And whenever I walk by the toilet to get to our closet, I don’t have to think about all those nasty germs around the toiler since the cover is down.

But, well, my husband is awesome in so many ways, and so is this really something to get frustrated over? I don’t think it will ever change. This is just something I’m going to let go of.

Update #1:

Since I’m giving up wanting him to put the seat down and accepting that he won’t do it, there’s really nothing to be cranky about. By accepting it, I’m losing the right to be cranky about it. I feel better already! Me aside, I think he’ll appreciate the sudden stop in ‘reminding’ (translation – nagging).

Update #2 (December 2010):

Well, our son is walking now, and he loves the bathroom….we might have to revisit the toilet seat issue.

(By the way, curious what my Marriage Project is all about?)

#1: Send husband thank-you note in the mail

17 Aug

Project:

I’m a bit frustrated with a recent disagreement my husband and I had, but it’s pointless to rehash with him as it is resolved.  He has agreed to do things ‘my way’, even though he disagrees in principle.  I’m happy he’s handling the situation ‘my way’, and appreciative that he made a compromise, but I still feel a bit resentful that he doesn’t ‘get it’. 

So today, I’m controlling what I can control. Today I’m sending my husband a thank you note in the mail. Sure, I’m frustrated with him, but he did compromise with me. Disagreeing isn’t the end of the world.

I’m not thanking him for taking my position in the argument, I’m thanking him for all of the ‘other’ stuff he does well, which is often overlooked when we’re focusing on the bad stuff. I sent him a note thanking him for being a good dad.  I thanked him for working his tail off at his new job to help provide for us.

Is this self serving? Partly, yes. But it’s self serving in a good way; it’s helping me let go of the anger I was feeling by focusing on something good. And I hope he’ll be surprised to receive a card at work and know that I love him even when we disagree.

Update #1 – * Still working on finding a stamp to mail said letter.

Update #2 –

08/24/2010

Email from husband:

“I just got a letter from a very beautiful woman delivered to me here at the office. Thank you, baby. That was VERY sweet.”


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