My husband, David, and I met at a YMCA dance. I was 14 and he was 17. We flirted with each other and we danced. Oh, how I loved to dance. Well that was 50 years ago. For my birthday this year, David suggested the kids get me a CD by John Denver. I had recently mentioned I wish they made songs like his again. That’s one of the things I love about my husband. He is attentive to the little things. This morning he put on the CD. It was “Annie’s Song.” That’s one of my favorites. I said, “Let’s dance.” We did and it was special. For a few moments it took me back to that first time we danced when I was 14 and he was 17, but so much richer now. Time and memories will do that. I told him, “This is where we came in. This is where we began many years ago.” I hope you have those special moments. If you haven’t for awhile, why not make one today.
“I’m not looking forward to tomorrow.”
I should have just said, “I understand, or ask why he wasn’t looking forward to it.” After being married as long as we have , I had a pretty good idea why he dreaded it. Instead, I began with “Yes, but. . .” trying to justify why he shouldn’t feel this way.
I know better than this and after it spilled out of my mouth, I felt badly. Too late. I did come back the next morning and said, “Even though I know we should go, it’s not my favorite thing to do either so I understand.” But it would have been much better if I’d forgone the initial lecture.
After all, we tell couples,”Listen, affirm the other’s feelings. You don’t have to agree. Make it safe for your partner to share. If you come back with a rebuttal, criticism or immediately jump in to fix it, they are more than likely going to be reluctant to keep sharing.” This holds true for them and it rang true for me. Sure hope I’ll do better next time.
Are you and your spouse competitive? We certainly can be, and it’s often when one of us digs our heels in and refuses to budge that a lot of anger builds up. In our last workshop our presenter warned us of the dangers of going down the “Winners – Losers” highway. It’s a tug of war where nobody wins and everyone loses. What has to happen in the game of tug of war? Someone falls in the dirt or the other team drops the rope. If one falls, the other may feel like a winner, but in marriage, the relationship loses. We need to learn to do it differently. Ask ourselves, “How important is it to really win the argument?” Perhaps the one who is willing to drop the rope is the bigger winner because they refuse to engage in this “Winners – Losers” game. We need to recognize that it’s often a matter of pride. “I know I am right and before this is over, you will too!” Ouch. Not a good road to travel. So who will be the bigger one in your relationship?