Split Second Timing to Relationship Success

 Did you ever notice that there is a split second before you respond to request or question —- from anyone, but I’m talking about being an imperfect spouse.

This is when I notice this split second:
1. When Nathan comes into my office and I’m deep in something — writing mostly.
2. When he comes into my office while I’m on the phone and sits down to wait to get my attention  interrupting my privacy— though there’s really nothing “private”.
3. Or he justs asks a question or makes a simple request.

There’s that moment when I decide whether to be annoyed or not. That sounds so rediculous and mean, but it’s true.  Earlier on in our marriage, I most often decided to be annoyed.  It’s so easy to be annoyed; men usually haven’t mastered the nuances of social behavior. At that time, I thought it was just my husband.  Since then, I have learned that that’s how men are. We women are so good at nuanced communication, that it is easy to be superior and smug.

Me being nasty, who would believe it today?  And really I’ve never been down right nasty–moe or less.  I’ve been angry to/at someone else. Somewhere I got the idea that my partner was supposed to weather all my moods–especially the bad ones.

Being nasty or incredibly ill-tempered, at least reminds of a story. It was in the time or our relationship that in any difference of opinion with Nathan, I knew I was always right. The story is very funny — now, but it wasn’t at the time.  We were driving from the east coast to the west coast. We were as far as Utah.  I was being grouchy and Nathan said, “You’re just hungry.”  I went ballistic.  I ranted about it was he was grouchy when hungry, not me and on and on blah blah blah. Oh my, how self-righteous I could be.  Well, Nathan didn’t answer me.  He was silent, but he was on a mission to find the closest open restaurant.  He found a diner.  We said little as we were seated, but there was this tension that was palpable.

Just picture the lions in the zoo, right before feeding time —pacing, circling, glaring.

Then we were served. I ate, and boom, bingo. The difference in my mood was so extreme that even I couldn’t miss it.  I was exactly like the lions after they devoured their meal—quiet, content, peaceful.

I guess I had to get used to him being right once in a while–only begrudgingly at first.  But now, I’ve settled in and I’m no longer surprised at how often he is right, but I am grateful, cause he still the stubbornest man I know — except for our sons (no surprise).

So back to the present.  I still feel this split second before I respond.  Now I’m a bit smarter.  Most of the time, I use that second to bring my niceness to the fore — I mean my respect for him, my love for him in my tone and attitude. My words are regular words, but my regard for him is clear. Honestly, it’s not always easy, but it’s definitely getting easier.

What’s amazing is the response from him. It took a while for it to surface as if he wasn’t sure if it was just a fluke. Nothing said, but the gentleness, the sweetness, the gratefulness, and happiness that he exhibits is impressive and it’s directed to me–and everyone in his life.  It has freed a courage in him. 

Dang, If I had known sooner that being right is not the goal.  It is about honoring myself, not defending myself and honoring him, not ‘teaching’  or ‘dissing’ (disrepecting) him.

Does that make sense to you?  I’d love to hear your comments.

Follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/ImperfectSpouse

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