Is there a secret?
I’m starting to think there are hundreds.
I’ll admit, I have only been married 34 days..and this is nothing in the grand scheme of life. While this may be true, boy am I devoting a lot of time to figuring it out. I’m sure we will spend the next 50+ years finding the true ‘secret’, and while I hope we love every minute of it, reality is that we probably will not.
We have already had a few arguements as a married couple. Whoever said “honeymoon stage” is a beautiful walk in the park with nothing but roses and butterflies was wrong (at least in our case). However, on the bright side, we both seem to have more patience, understanding, and interest in making arguments beneficial and productive. We have both discussed how this is due to many factors, one of which being my new found ability to just walk away and take a break.
Before we got married, we attended a marriage preparation course (highly recommended). While it was difficult to find said course without a religious affiliation, it was worth the hunt. One of the main things I took away from this was: it’s okay to take time apart in the middle of an arguement. When they told us this in class, I automatically tuned my brain into the “this is stupid” mode, and prepared to stop listening for the rest of the day ( I may be slightly synical..and bitter..). However, this was followed by them saying “as long as you let eachother know before the break starts”. I started listening again. “If you are in the middle of an argument, and you need a break, tell your spouse you need time to cool off and give them a time period as to when you will continue the arguement.” For all you men, J hates this approach, but it works so well for me that I think he is starting to see the benefit. The ‘rescheduling’ can be anywhere from 5 minutes to the next day. It seems so silly, but when he says to me “I’m going out to work on my truck. We can talk about this in an hour.” I don’t feel abandoned. I don’t feel like he is running away, I feel (probably how a man feels) like we are just taking a simple break. Woohoo! That little trick has got to make the list.
Trick 2: A few months ago (prior to being married), J and I had had an argument the night before. I honestly don’t even remember what it was about now, but at the time it was a sadness inducing, day-ruining, all out cry-fest (it’s funny how that works, isn’t it?). I was sitting in my office, feeling sorry for myself and dwelling on the situation when a male co-worker (he’s happily married and seems to know lots of said ‘secrets’) came into my office. We have a good relationship and so I explained the situation to him (leaving out all the crazy woman details of how my heart was never going to recover and how I just wanted to eat a tub of vanilla bean ice cream), and he paused for a second. I was waiting for him to come back at me with some kind of silly comment about how I needed to calm down, give him space, or stop nagging… but instead, he walked over to the white board in my office and wrote “CALM COMMUNICATION”, all in capital letters. “It’s so simple,” he explained “as soon as my wife comes at me with a complaint and she’s mad or upset or crying, I automatically don’t want to listen.” Jerk, I thought (cynical, bitter me emerged once again). He then continued “if you approach him calmly, he’ll be more likely to want to listen. Don’t yell, or cry, or sound ‘bitchy’, just relax, and explain.”. Guess what? It works. It works so freaking well that it HAS to be a secret. But not anymore, you’re welcome 😉
And that is why it has remained on my white board for the past 6+ months….
And, because it’s Friday and these little guys are going to be adopted really, really soon ( 😥 ), here’s a daily dose of cuteness: