It seems that our lives are becoming more frequently peppered with exciting, intense arguments. Sometimes, I feel like we don't even recognize each other, or who we have become during the past year.
All the things people warned me about the years of residency are coming true.
We are getting very good at ignoring things that are bothering us, stuffing them into a corner of our minds, and then bringing them all out at once - once there is too much to ignore.
We've always had, I think, very good communication in our marriage relationship. But, during the past year, the healthy habits we developed as a couple as we improved our ability to communicate with sensitivity and love - during nine years of marriage - seems now like a faded dream rather than a recent reality.
Every comment my husband has made to me during the past few weeks was somehow, immediately turned into a personal attack. We both seemed easily irritated and frustrated around each other, full of negative comments and dreariness.
Yesterday, finally, we hashed out things that have been weighing on our minds, heavily it turned out for both of us, for quite some time.
At one point, my husband asked, "Where is this conversation going?"
I said, "Probably nowhere... but we need to do this. Isn't it nice to get this all out, and finally talk?"
"No!" he exclaimed, "I'm a guy! We don't need to talk."
The discussion, ramped up with accusations and hurtful comments, (like, "...we have four kids, so we have to stay together..." - how helpful was that one?)
On the way home from church, I told him I wanted to make his favorite dessert and asked him what he would like. (And you all know how I feel about cooking.)
He answered, "A hug and a kiss from my wife."
He looked at me, smiled, and said, "How about we go to that marriage class this Friday night at the church?" To say that my husband has always had a strong aversion to marriage classes or marriage "help" is an understatement.
We both knew from these comments - immediately - that we were both intensely sorry, and willing to do all we could to work things out. The kids had all exited our minivan. We stayed, the garage door closed, talking, with an occasional visitor to check on us.
We discussed the need for a new perspective, along with a determination to prioritize our marriage and how we treat each other. We discussed our commitment to each other. We both have three things to work on, to remember - things that we know will help the other feel more loved and respected. It was a conversation much needed.
And, I'm sure you are wondering where our four children were during all of these discussions? They were destroying the house, yes, with cheerios, books, pretzels, legos, art creations, and toys. But, it was so worth it.
Honestly, I do believe that we choose to be happy. We choose our perspectives and our reactions to things. However, during residency, I've decided, that communication is just as important as forgiveness, love, sacrifice, and perspective. It is possibly one of the most important, because without it we will grow our separate ways and misunderstand so much of what we do for each other, and that just won't do.