Love Talk

5

John is a typical man from the Baby Boomer era.  He wasn’t raised to express his feelings, and isn’t comfortable with verbal exchanges of love-struck happiness during those times when he’s “expected” to say them.   So, like many men of his age, his silence could be taken for a lack of caring, when truly, nothing could be further from the truth.

I’ve tried to institute a game with him that I thought might make it easier to get those words out, but it hasn’t gone over so well. The “Tell Me Something Nice” prompt usually elicits a response like “No, I can’t…. it’s raining out”.  Or “No, I can’t… I’m asleep”.  Or “No, I can’t… I have a bullet lodged between my teeth from saving the West”.

This morning I tried a new tactic.  We’d gotten up and taken the dogs out, fed them their breakfast, and decided to climb back into bed, pups and all.  (The three dogs are not allowed on the bed after lights out at night, but this was just a morning snuggle.)

John was ready to fall back to sleep, but I was in one of those yappy moods.  “You sleep while I talk at you.”

Grunt.

Okay, he’s still awake.

Repeat after me.  ‘I am a lucky man.  I have an awesome wife.'”

Dead silence.

Do it!  Repeat after me.  ‘I am a lucky man.  I have an awesome wife.'”

His breathing, slow and measured, sounded like someone who was on the verge of falling asleep.  I waited a bit, but it seemed there would be nothing further coming from the Hubs.  Just as I was about to begin pushing my way through the dogs so I could get out of bed, a very low and deep voice said….

“I am an awesome man.  I have a lucky wife.”

HA!!

He’s right.

SoulMate 8

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Resentment: Death By 1000 Cuts

Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

— Carrie Fisher

Resentment in a marriage could be called death by 1000 cuts.  Few marriages fall apart because of one major issue… it’s usually the accumulation of many small resentments over time, dozens and hundreds of them, that just add up.

Several years ago, when Husband and I had just started living together, I was describing to an acquaintance how much I appreciated his attentiveness to small household-type details.  For example, he doesn’t leave his dirty socks and underwear lying around, and in fact, one evening when I happened to pick them up before he had a chance to, Husband said, “Hey, I’ll get that”.  My response was, “It’s okay, I’m heading towards the hamper anyway.”

My acquaintance commented: “Yeah, but I’ll bet he saw that look in your eyes that told him you were p*ssed off.”

I was taken aback for a moment, and then realized two things… a) had it been my first husband, that resentment would have been there, and b) she was saying more about her own relationship than she was about mine.  But with Husband, there’s no resentment about the little things that most couples squabble about.

Does that mean he’s perfect? Ha! Absolutely not.

Does that mean I don’t notice the annoying habits he has?  Of course I do. 

I notice that he often leaves me to do the dishes, and like most men doesn’t seem to realize that cleaning the counter and range are part of that job…. and after 4½ years he still doesn’t know where the fire engine red collander goes (which is in a different place than the cheap stainless collander). 

He can’t be trusted to wash my clothes, and when folding laundry will pair one of my black ribbed trouser socks with a plain one.  He snores.  Loudly.  He smokes like a chimney and our garage—which is now called The Clubhouse—reeks as a result.  He forgets to shave sometimes which makes his face really scratchy. 

But I also notice that if I lose my keys (a daily occurrence), he’ll hunt high and low for them, even though it isn’t his fault and even though it’s the 90-hundredth time it’s happened. 

He always helps bring in the groceries without being asked; he will eat anything I put in front of him even if he doesn’t like it or it’s vegan. 

He prefers to be a homebody, but if I want to go out (with friends, to a movie, a restaurant or whatever), he’ll go… and not gripe too much.  

He calls me several times a day (even if he’s in The Clubhouse and I’m just yards away inside) to tell me little things he’s just seen, heard or thought of.  He looks for movies we can watch on television together, and he remembers anniversaries.  He thinks of things my daughter would like.

He doesn’t complain when I forget to shave sometimes (okay, often) and my legs get really scratchy.

He is as excited by our love as I am.

Given all this… why in heaven’s name would I waste time on resentment?

 

 

Soul-Mate Marriages is saddened by the high rate of divorce in the U.S., with even fewer second marriages succeeding.  We recognize the reasons are complicated but believe the trend can be reversed with trust and hard work.

Neither of us is a relationship saint, but our marriage, the 2nd for both of us, has brought more joy, satisfaction, and peace than we could have imagined. 

We hope our insights will be helpful. 

 www.facebook.com/soulmatemarriage