So, lest you think things are all sunshine and daisies over here from the last cheesy post, I thought I'd let you in on the other side of things too. I actually started thinking about this post a few weeks ago. It was going to be a post about something I had learned about marriage, and how it had improved our marriage so much. The post started out entitled "Marriage Isn't Fair (And That's A Good Thing)". Things took a different turn though, and I've learned some different lessons that I'd like to share here.
Let's rewind a little bit.
I entered marriage three and a half years ago with the idea that everything would be 50/50, all chores, tasks, burdens split evenly, each person doing their own share. I'm not going to go into all the things that made me think that way, but it was a pretty deep seated belief. That's how I wanted my marriage to be. I know, sounds really silly looking back on it, and it has been the cause of a lot of disagreements. Don't get me wrong, I love the Hubs (see last post) but man, that whole adjusting to living, and you know, merging lives with, another person, especially when that other person is a... um... less cleanly boy, is hard. Also difficult was the fact that both of us were either bad at or didn't know how to do domestic stuff, you know cooking, cleaning, and lets not even get started on repairs... there's currently a light fixture dangling from the wires in my kitchen ceiling. After about the first year we had figured out some sort of routine. However, we lived at my parents, so the place was smaller, less stuff to do. A year after that we moved into the first place of our own, and kinda had to start all over again. Ugh. There was more "domestic stuff" to do, and I still wanted it all split 50/50, and would get upset and resentful when things weren't.
Around the same time, we started charting and working on medical treatment for our infertility. Although Hubs has received some of the testing/treatment, the brunt of is done on/to me, of course. I have to make observations, take a bunch of pills, experience side effects, have surgeries done, there's no way around it. And I started to get more angry and resentful. Things weren't 50/50 and I couldn't make them that way. I kept trying to shovel more onto the Hubs's plate to make things even, which he graciously accepted, but I still was upset about it. Maybe my 50/50 system wasn't working out...
Around the time of my surgery (in December), I noticed something. I noticed how the Hubs has always been good at taking care of me. He'll go above and beyond and very rarely complain or get resentful. Even after my recovery from the surgery, when I started adjusting to new meds and felt awful, he took on everything he could around the house, even though he already had a ton on his plate, and still no complaining, or comments hinting that I should be doing more. I'm kind of the opposite, very bad about taking care of other people, always have been. As I say it, I'm empathetic not sympathetic... I understand and can feel the pain you are going through, I just can't think of anything comforting to do or say, if that makes any sense (or if I got that right).
So, once I felt better, I decided that I wanted to be more like that, take on things without complaining. Doing more for the sake of helping the other. Like I mentioned briefly before, the Hubs has had a lot going on since early January, and is very rarely free until 11pm. So I tried to take on more and more of the chores, make the house look pretty and all that. Inside, I was telling myself how selfless I was, what a good wife I was, look how much better this is for our marriage, no complaining and no arguments ( I know, so humble). And that was the original post I was going to write... until Sunday night.
Sunday night I was grumpy. It was a long weekend. We had an awesome valentine's day, but that also involved 6 hours of cooking, not to mention cleaning (which the Hubs did help with). And Sunday there were more cleaning and chores to be done. Then it was past my bedtime (I start to get cranky if I'm awake past 12:30 ish), and things still weren't done. Then the Hubs asked me what happened to his roll of toilet paper (we use separate bathrooms, marriage saver, lol). And then I got mad. It was so silly and probably super boring to read about, but here I go.
You see, I had given him my last roll of toilet paper, and expected for him to get me one, and when he didn't, I took it back, and then got upset at him because he was the one in the wrong for not getting me an extra roll (I didn't want to go rummaging through the spare closet to try to find the extra toilet paper, lol). Except while I knew that was my thought process, the Hubs had no clue. I never said anything, I just expected it. I was also mad that while I was finishing up the chores downstairs, he hadn't made the bed. Again, nothing I asked, mentioned, even hinted at...just expected. So I blew up, and started listing off all the things I had so selflessly done and he hadn't appreciated and I was so upset and tired and on and on....
And of course the Hubs is upset and defensive, especially since all of this came out of nowhere. When things calmed down a bit he asked me, "How long have you been feeling this way? A day or two? " My response: "about three weeks." Yeaa...that was the biggest problem.
You see... my problem really deep down was about being bad at communication. I hadn't had a change a heart, I kept the same mindset and just stopped saying anything about it. And when I started being "selfless", all I was really doing was adding more chores onto my balance of things I was doing, keeping track of it, but not talking to the Hubs about it, just bottling it all up. So that didn't lead to me being a better wife... it led to an epic argument.
So yes, I'm learning that marriage isn't ever 50/50. There will always be seasons when one person has to bear more burdens than the other, or maybe we'll both have heavy burdens that we can't really help the other with (kind of the case right now). I just need to work on getting my head to understand that, and to stop trying to keep track or balance things out.
I also am learning to work on forgiveness, forgiving myself for my failures, and forgiving the Hubs for mistakes he makes, as well as for the crazy things I made up in my head that he didn't know he did wrong in the first place (poor guy).
But the biggest lesson I learned is that I also (still) need to work on communicating. And probably especially when I'm trying to change these things about myself. If I talked about it with the Hubs, he might've been able to help me work through the whole mental mess before I boiled over. I've really been learning that its the key to solving oh, just about most of our relationship problems. If I tell him I'm feeling grumpy or sensitive or on the crazy pills (clomid or femera) he knows I might... overreact to certain topics, and maybe even knows to avoid them. If I don't say anything, he gets completely blindsided with my overreactions. And if either of us is feeling overwhelmed or overburdened, we need to talk about it, talk through it, and see if there's any way to work together on the problem, not blow up out of nowhere. It sounds so simple, isn't learning to communicate like marriage 101? But its so crucial. Oh marriage, taking so much work all the time. I think its worth it though :).
(Also, I'm totally linking up with Better Than Eden on this because I'm pretty sure there's three or so lessons I've learned in three years of marriage in here. Head on over there to see some much better posts on the topic).