Marriage continues to challenge me.
Before I go any further, by acknowledging that I still struggle with many aspects of my marriage, I am in no way accepting full responsibility for all of the issues in it.
Every time I write a post about my struggles in my marriage, someone inevitably comments with “it’s not all your fault.”
No. It’s not.
But I bring 50% of the problems to the table.
Some of the problems are things I do proactively.
Some of the problems are things I do reactively.
Some of the problems are from things that I allow to happen passively.
So I cause some of the problems, I allow some of the problems and I make some of the problems worse by the way I handle them.
I believe my husband is equally responsible in all of those areas as well.
But I can only control my 50%.
And if I don’t work on my 50%, my marriage will never be where I hope it can be someday (soon).
This past Tuesday was my last Positive Discipline class.
The biggest thing I learned from this class is that the shit my kids do that drives me up a fucking wall is mostly caused be ME.
It sucks so bad to come to this realization.
At first, anyway. Because we all have the best intentions. And it doesn’t feel good to know that while you’ve been really trying your hardest, the way you communicate with your children is at the root of all their behavioral issues (good and bad).
At the end of that last PD class, we were sharing things we all got out of the class, and one of the dads said that while it has helped him tremendously with parenting and to also be more on the same page and a united front with his wife, it has really opened up his eyes to changes he needs to make when communicating with his coworkers in order to be more effective and respected.
I feel the same way. But more with my husband.
I am more aware than ever of how, even though I have the best intentions, I am still fucking up in my marriage.
(Again, I’m not the only one fucking up, but I need to take care of my half).
And the thing I often don’t remember is that by taking care of my 50%, I bet I would help my husband see more clearly at least 50% of his 50%.
And then we’d be 75% better!
It’s so hard for me to remember that.
And I am not very good with follow through in my marriage.
I will try.
For like a week or so.
And then when things go south, when there is an argument or a disagreement or a misunderstanding (whether it’s on my husband’s end or my end), I throw my hands up in the air and say fuck it.
But here’s the thing.
When I fuck up with the kids, or when they fuck up with me, I don’t quit.
I don’t say Fuck it. I’m not trying anymore. It’s not worth it.
I reset the clock, learn from my mistakes, and keep going.
I don’t say Well, since they aren’t getting it, I’m done. Peace out, mothereffers.
You might be saying, Yes, but if your husband or wife isn’t getting it, at some point you need to give up.
In some cases I’d agree.
If you husband is abusive, or if he’s a serial cheater, or if he has serious drug/alcohol or other addiction issues, then yes. You need to get out.
But I think for many of us it’s all about communication. Effective communication.
It’s not the issues.
It’s not about how much money you are saving or spending. It’s not about how you are disciplining the kids. It’s not about politics. It’s not about who holds the remote.
It’s about being able to effectively and respectfully communicate about those things.
And when you have been ineffectively communicating for 30 or 40 or 50 years, that stuff is not going to easily fix itself in a couple months. Or even a couple years.
It will be a marathon. And it will be hard work.
I could leave. My husband could leave.
That would be easier than me continuing to take a good hard look at the unhealthy stuff I bring to the table.
And then working on it.
But most of our issues would resurface in the next relationship we found ourselves in.
Because the communication thing would still be there for both of us.
It’s all communication.
And I have been repeatedly quitting on my end.
Trying. Succeeding a little. Then having an epic fail moment. And then saying fuck it, and quitting on my husband.
I’m hoping I have really dislodged my head from my butt this time and that I can remember that the next time we find ourselves in a serious communication fail.
What I do know is that one of the biggest things I need to work on is being less reactive.
One of the strategies I learned to use with the kids to diffuse a meltdown from this class is just to say to them, I need a hug.
You would be shocked at how effective that simple request can be to calm everyone down!
So today, I’m reminding myself of that.
When things start to escalate with my husband, I really want to remember this.
Don’t react. Don’t blame. Don’t point fingers.
Ask for a hug.
It will not be easy. Because reacting and blaming comes very naturally for me when it involves my husband.
But we are two good people who love each other very much, and it is worth the work.
Our kids deserve happy parents who can model a healthy relationship.
And my husband and I deserve to be happy and in a healthy relationship.
And I know we can get to that point. That really (occasionally blissfully) happy place that all couples want to get to.
We just haven’t figured out how to get there yet.