We’ve made it through another few days. I suppose that’s something. I need to be grateful for that.
He has been diligently reading away, marriage books. Love and Respect (The Love She Most Desires); The Respect He Most Needs); The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God. We heard a quote this week that made us both smile. “I’m an introvert. My best friends are authors.” This applies to SJ. He is studious. He loves to read. He gains insights from books. Books (authors) speak to him in ways others don’t. He is also very disciplined when he chooses to be, which is most of the time.
I, on the other hand, have been dragging myself up out of the abyss. The one of
hopelessness, despair, frustration, and distrust. Wearing yoga pants, no make up, not caring if I took a shower today. Barely dragging myself to yoga or errands. I don’t trust myself, I don’t want to trust him. But I know I can trust God, so that’s something. I’m not always thrilled to think this may be a time of pruning or purifying by fire in my life. When I’m in this kind of despair/funk, I don’t talk or engage too much because I fear that I’ll speak angry or mean words and thoughts. I still do despite my self-imposed silence. I guess it’s safe to say I can be a wallower.
SJ’s approach was logical and proactive. Mine was steeped in feelings, volatile emotions, and irrationality. I even sort of resented him a little for being so logical and proactive. There’s a verse in scripture that says, “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. ” (Romans 8:27-28)
Yep, for a normally articulate person, I become that wordless groans person. Thank God His Spirit is fluent in that language.
So the gratitude statement is this: he seems willing to try to improve things. Again. And maybe that’s just what I need to expect. We will try again, and again. We may never get it perfect, but we try to get it the best we can. And I can choose hurt or hope. That seems a no-brainer.
Sunday we reinstated weekly “communication time,” long overdue. I talked more in that hour (plus) than I had in the previous week. I actually asked him to talk first so that I didn’t co-opt the entire communication time. I practiced my listening skills. I begged his indulgence for me to have a notebook to jot down things he said that I wanted to respond to (otherwise I’m impatiently interrupting for fear I’ll lose my thought; or I get distracted from listening further as I try to retain the thought). He has new insights from his readings, acknowledged and apologized for not getting it right, and that he would try to do better (corrected with a quote from that esteemed philosopher, Yoda, “Do, or do not. There is no try.”). I apologized for being a basket case, and not having my heart in the right place to take constructive action to work on this. I know he’s been anxious to have me join him in these readings. My stubborn heart keeps telling me it’s pointless (I don’t tell him this; I tell him that my heart isn’t in the “right place”). We discuss how the next several weeks involve travel, family events, and busy-ness, and I asked his indulgence for me to start up on the reading when we were back in town and have more time to focus on us.
Lest anyone think I’m a total wastoid, I am devoting time to daily devotions and re-reading The Purpose Driven Life. I’m getting my head around that truth of “what on earth am I here for?” Well, life not about me, it’s about God, and my relationship with Him. I struggle with this, even as a Christian who understands the necessity of “God first.” If I don’t seek God first, if I don’t place my trust in Him and his purposes for me, then I’m going to be persistently disappointed. And I really, really do trust that God wants the best for me, He wants this marriage to work, He wants us to find joy with each other, He does not want us to end in divorce or bitterness.
Weekly communication time. Sounds so very simple but we mess this one up constantly. It is so crucial. Even for a couple of retirees who don’t have the pressures of a M-F, 9-5 work schedule, we totally fail on keeping this one commitment. When things started to go better, we seem to mutually and silently agree we don’t need to hold a communication session. And before we know it, we are out of the habit and sliding down that inevitable slippery slope of misunderstandings and frustration and distancing. Couples who go to counseling commit to a regular appointment; those who take care of their health commit to a regular exercise schedule. Why can’t we commit to a weekly time to take care of our relationship?
So we’re talking. It’s possibly the start of the re- re- renewal.
Gotta have hope. The alternative isn’t an option.
How do you commit to regular communications with your spouse?