Yesterday I wrote a post about the state of my marriage.
Up until about noon on Monday I was done with my marriage.
There was no more happiness, no more kindness, and no more joy.
I was no longer going to try. At all.
I was angry, bitter, full of resentment, and completely hopeless.
Then I listened to an Oprah podcast that was literally life-changing for me.
It shifted my entire perspective not only with respect to my marriage, but with respect to all of the human race.
With this shift in mindset, I did a lot of thinking which led to yesterday’s post.
And I wanted to follow up with a few things.
First, I have been writing this blog for six years now.
More than six years.
And I can usually predict how people will react to the posts I write with a pretty good degree of accuracy.
I also know that I am not alone in any of my experiences.
It’s one of the reasons why I write about them.
I knew people would make comments about me being “brave” for writing what I wrote.
I don’t really think there’s that much bravery in detailing the struggles in your marriage.
The bravery lies in taking a good hard look at yourself, acknowledging your faults, taking ownership of them, and then doing the work to make changes.
I share my experiences because I know I am not alone.
But so many other people don’t know that. So many people believe they are alone in their struggles.
I share these experiences because I know there are people out there thinking,
I thought it was just me.
It’s never just you.
There are LOTS of fucked up and dysfunctional marriages out there.
LOTS OF THEM.
And if you are in one of them, you are totally not alone.
And I get it.
Here is the next thing I believe.
I believe that some marriages are doomed.
They are beyond repair. They are so unhealthy that they should be ended.
Or there is only one person willing to do any work, and when that happens, it makes it really tough for things to change.
I also believe there are many marriages that can be salvaged and completely transformed if both people in them are willing to do some serious work.
But sometimes in these marriages, both partners have their heels dug so deeply into the ground, and both partners are so angry and stubborn that neither one of them is willing to wave the white flag first.
And when this happens, then those marriages that have a shred of hope are also doomed.
Some of us look at these standoffs as having control.
If we give in, then we give up control.
That is a big part of the problem. Control shouldn’t even be an issue in a marriage to begin with.
But everyone wants to have some power in their marriage.
When the balance of power is equal, then you have a healthy marriage.
But when one person has all the power, or is perceived to have all the power, then you have a problem.
My husband and I were in a months-long standoff.
I wanted the standoff to end, but I wanted my husband to end it. Not me.
Because for me to give in and make the first move, I was feeling like I was giving up any power I had.
I think many of us look at it this way.
So let me offer you a different perspective.
If you are in a standoff with your partner and nobody is talking to each other and you make the first move to make peace or communicate or apologize or whatever, YOU are the one with the power.
Because you are the making a move. Taking the offensive position. Being proactive.
People who are weak and who have no power are not proactive.
And here is the next thing.
Ending the standoff doesn’t mean you compromise your values or allow yourself to disrespected or humiliated.
You can make a move toward a more healthy relationship without losing yourself.
And so yesterday I waved the white flag.
And I did something I haven’t done in a long time.
Last night I slept in the bed.
With my husband.
And you know what?
Last time for the first time in many, many, many months, my husband and I laughed.
Like a lot.
And we talked.
Not much, but we talked.
We had a good night.
The first good night in a long, long time.
And you know what happened this morning?
After months of avoiding me, of walking right past me as I sat in my office or of taking a route through the house that bypassed the room I was in to avoid any potential interaction, my husband stopped at my office door and asked me what my day looked like.
And then for the first time in longer than I can remember, he gave me a hug and he told me he loved me before he left for work.
About five minutes later when he came back inside because he forgot something and I was in the kitchen, he gave me another hug.
More hugs in five minutes this morning than in all of September, October and November.
And all because I dropped my guard and made the first move.
Tomorrow is therapy day.
For the last couple months we have been going to see the therapist and making no headway. My husband felt the same way.
We have both been so angry and so unwilling to let go of anything that progress was just impossible.
Two weeks ago we left the office disgusted with each other.
I can tell you that we have been making our therapist earn her damn money.
I think she often feels more exasperated by us than we have felt with each other.
Let me tell you, I cannot wait to go see her tomorrow!
She is not going to believe it when we walk in there happy to be in each other’s presence!
She’s going to die!!!
Does this mean all of our troubles are solved?
There is a long, long way to go.
But last night was definitely a step in the right direction.
And that’s a pretty good place to start.