Do you ever have those weeks?
Maybe in your marriage it’s when you have one of those days, or one of those mornings…
Well, Dennis and I have sets of those weeks.
It’s no fun, and we both contribute to it; even when he’s more wrong than me. Oh wait—I think I just contributed…
Several weeks ago, we were really struggling. Struggling to get along, struggling to keep our heads above water.
You know the old adage, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
Yes, well…sometimes silence communicates a lot of not-so-nice things, too.
Get the image here? It wasn’t good.
So, my dear husband (now I call him “my dear husband”—at the time I would have probably left out the word ”dear”) came in early from chores, came up behind me while I was doing dishes and said, “We need a date. I’d like to go to Subway. Can you be ready to go in five minutes?”
I thought a minute, and then agreed.
But he could tell I wasn’t really agreeing. More like, going along with it.
And so began what I refer to as “stupid fighting.”
It went something like this:
He: Unless you don’t want to go…
Me: No, I’ll go.
He: Don’t feel like you have to.
Me: It’s fine. I just need more than five minutes. Can’t you see I’m right in the middle of doing dishes? It’s not like I can put them in the dishwasher. (terrible mean wife reared her ugly head—throwing in the you-haven’t-fixed-the-dishwasher-yet jab. That’s called “not playing nice.” And too often, I don’t play nice.) I also need to get the kids ready for bed yet—then I’ll be ready.”
He: That’s fine. Just hurry.
Me: Yeah. I’ll get right on that.
He: Do you not want to go? You don’t seem like you want to go.
Me: Are you kidding me? GIVE ME A BREAK! We’ve barely spoken for over a week. You come in here, give me NO warning, at one of the busiest times of my night and expect me to what, fall at your feet and say “Take me away!”
He: Actually, I’ll tell you what I was thinking. I was thinking, boy—we haven’t had a very good couple of weeks. I think it would be good for us to just slip away for a bit to your favorite restaurant. I already arranged it for the kids to be ok while we are gone for an hour and a half. That’s what I was thinking.
So we went.
It took awhile for me to get rid of my icky attitude, but by the time we got back home, we had reconnected a bit.
My point in sharing this story with you is this: what he says and what she says may very well be the same thing—and yet very different.
We all know this, but it’s hard to do: we need to learn to see things from the other’s perspective.
He knows I’m about as far from spontaneous as—as—well, I can’t think of a good simile here, but suffice it to say, I’m not spontaneous. So, it doesn’t usually go well when he wants to “surprise” me with an outing.
However, I could just get over myself and my schedule and all my pressing responsibilities and just say, “ok.”
We both need to be better at understanding—and giving credence to—the other’s natural bent.
I’m glad he was still willing to take me that night. If I were him, I probably would have said something like “You know what? Forget it. I don’t want to take you.” Thankfully, he’s the one in charge of date-decisions.
Of course it could have had more to do with how much he really wanted a chicken-bacon-ranch sub at Subway than with how much he wanted to spend time with me that evening after I acted so lovely and all, but I'll take what I can get. :o)