Because Sweet Husband and I just celebrated our second anniversary last month and because I feel like I talk about our relationship quite a bit, I’ve decided that at least for the next little while, my posts on Thursdays will be about marriage – some of the issues we face, the things that work for us, articles, perspectives, posts that I find useful in helping us create a stronger bond. Feel free to share what is working for you in your relationship as we spend some time focused on marriage.
The last several weeks have been difficult for me with regard to our marriage. I’ve been frustrated and irritated, and I’ve been unable to really express that. I know that it’s been difficult for Sweet Husband as well because it’s difficult to be in a relationship with someone who is angry, particularly when you don’t know why they are angry.
SH is a great communicator; me not so much. I think I’ve talked here in the past about how far I’ve come in terms of my communication skills – I used to literally not be able to speak when things were upsetting or bothering me. My mouth would move, my brain was communicating the words to my mouth, but no words were coming out. I can at least now speak. The problem becomes, though, that many times I spend a lot of time trying to figure out if I’m really upset about something or what it is that I’m upset about or how to perfectly articulate what I’m upset about.
Lately I find that I have to be very careful because I don’t want to say something that is going to be damaging to our relationship or to him. I have a pretty nasty streak – I can get down and dirty and frankly, ugly. That’s not what I want to do with my husband; that’s not a situation that I want to create in my marriage. So instead of getting ugly and saying things that I can’t take back, I don’t say anything.
In the meantime, I’m angry, irritated, and frustrated. And that’s not a good situation for anyone. I’m fortunate that I have a very kind, patient, and tolerant husband. One who gets me and is willing to wait me out. Eventually it always comes out. This past weekend it came out Sunday afternoon on the beach after a particularly difficult attempt at working together on the porch to tie up muscadine vines.
I continue to be a work in progress, and I know that I need to get much better. Some of the issues that have been frustrating me lately are all about differences in perceptions and styles. Some of the things are ingrained, but they weren’t problems when we were living together full-time. When we were together full-time, they were things that weren’t as irritating to me because they didn’t have a chance to pile up. But now that I’m away most of the week, I notice and it’s an immediate trigger. There’s not a lot of use in fighting about it; I have to figure out ways that we can work with it.
To that end, I really liked this article. I think that these are all things I can incorporate, particularly #3:
Play the empathy card. Another key to being a good Husband Whisperer, I found, is getting your spouse to empathize with your situation. Better to say, for example, that you can’t relax and spend time with him or the kids until the dinner dishes are washed than, “Why don’t you ever help with the dishes?” Not only do gentler words encourage your husband to see through your bleary eyes, they allow him to come to your rescue—something men take pride in doing for women.
This is kind of really the heart of what has been frustrating me lately – I can’t relax because there are things to do, and SH is already in chill mode, which leads to resentment and anger. So putting it in those terms reframes it completely. I think I can do that, and I think that it can work for both of us.