BETTER THAN HAPPY – Episode 82
Monday Marriage Matters. I am trying to figure out how to create a “tag” for my Monday posts, so I can get to them easily. But that is not happening today. I have too much to say – too much to write today about marriage, and our own power in our marriages. I think, too often, we don’t claim that power. Let’s talk.
“Our feelings of connection come from our relationship with ourselves, first, and then how we choose to think about our husband.”
Both things absolutely in our power!
We all want to feel “connected” to our spouses. But, how are we defining “connected”. Here is what I would have said last year: When Bryant does exactly what I want him to do for me, with a smile on his face, then I feel really connected to him.
I wouldn’t ever have really said those words, but, honestly, that is what I was looking for. We have talked about this before, right?
I was looking for him to behave in a certain way, right? And I am only happy if he acts in that way. But sometimes I’m not happy, even when he does act in that way, because it feels insincere. Have you ever seen that? Have you ever experienced that?
“He has to pretend to be more vulnerable and connected than he is.”
Brooke Castillo, on this episode with Jodi, says:
“I feel connected to my husband when I am present to who he is and what he does.”
Brene Brown says:
“Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued. When they can give and receive without judgement.”http://livingandtravelingwithkids.com/2019/12/day-43-living-with-a-whole-heart/
And without resentment.
I want to be in a marriage where my husband gets to be exactly who he is. And I can love him and find so much joy in him, for who he is. That is an option, my friends.
“When you think he should do ______________ you create misery for yourself, immediately.”
Think about Valentines Day, right? What if I think my husband should bring me flowers or surprise me with something great, or whatever. He should do that. He should think to do that.
People will be miserable in a relationship that requires them to do a lot of things that they just don’t want to do. I’ve seen that. One spouse, or both, has a list – sometimes even written down – of things their partner needs to comply with if they want to stay in that relationship. And sometimes the partner will comply – sometimes they will for many years. But, again, people will be miserable in a relationship that requires them to do a lot of things that they don’t feel good about, themselves.
If I request what I want Bryant to do, and Bryant wants to do it too, then we have a want-match. And vice-versa.
And there are wants that we both naturally want, like date-night or going to bed at the same time. We both want those things in our relationship. There are also wants that he or I am happy to meet when requested of us, even if we wouldn’t have thought of it on our own. We are happy to do it because the other asked.
For example, for years I would make sure dinner was on the table when Bryant got home from his church responsibilities on Sundays. When we moved to our new home, and our new church congregation, we found that I was all of a sudden more busy on Sundays than he was. And when I would get home from church, I would walk in the door to the children crying. They were hungry. I was hungry. Bry was probably hungry, too. They were all just waiting for me to get home so I could get dinner on the table for them. I felt resentful the first month or two. I was miserable. And I know they were all miserable too. Then I decided it didn’t have to stay that way. I decided to make a request of Bryant. I asked him to pull dinner together on Sundays. And he said he was happy to do that for me, because he loved me, and that is the kind of husband he wanted to be in our marriage. He ordered a bunch of pre-made meals from Omaha Steaks because that’s how he wanted to do it. And our Sundays have since been so pleasant – for me, but also for him.
What if I would have made that request of Bry, and what if Bry had said, “No, I just don’t think that is something I want to do?” Could I have been resentful, then? I guess I could be, if that’s what I wanted. But I don’t have to be resentful. If he isn’t going to do it, then I am going to be making dinner, right? I am not going to let the kids go hungry or myself go hungry. I’m going to make dinner if he isn’t anyway, so I might as well drop the resentment.
And if I really don’t want to be responsible for Sunday dinner, I could look at the other options: hire someone, teach the kids to cook, crockpot, cold cereal, or whatever.
Another example. Every morning I make a hot breakfast for my family. I think it’s a healthy start to our day, and I think it’s an opportunity for us to sit together and discuss things together, and really start our day from a place of love.
Well, this semester, every Tuesday morning, at 6:45am, my two boys leave for piano lessons, so our breakfasts are rushed – both me trying to cook it in time and them trying to eat it in time. Last week I started feeling resentful toward my family: I do all this work so we can have this experience together, and we are not even having anything close to that experience on Tuesday mornings!
But, I had options, if I didn’t want to be resentful. I could suffer through it, and choose to not be resentful. Or I could ask Bryant to help out. But he’s usually feeding the horses in the mornings, so he wouldn’t want to do that. Or I could make Tuesday mornings cereal-mornings. And the kids would be ecstatic. In fact, I bet they’d get ready for piano even faster, if they couldn’t have their cold cereal until they were prepared. We are trying it tomorrow for the first time.
The point is this: when our spouse does not want to fulfill our request, feeling resentful is not our only option. We have options.
“We can (love someone), and we can feel connected to someone without the other person participating at all.”
I want to look more at this idea of marrying someone, not so they can meet you needs, but so that that you have someone to love.
“Two of my students who were having struggles with their husbands and were frustrated and feeling like their marriages could be better, and we did a lot of coaching around it… I think a lot of times we get confused over (the point of marriage) and we come with all of our expectations – we come with all of our needs and all of our desires, and we expect the person in our life to fulfill those things…
And after I coached her, one of the questions that one of the students asked me was, ‘So what’s the point of having a husband then?’. My answer to her was, ‘Just so you have someone to love.'”
Let’s look more at this later.
But one last thought. We love God for OUR sake, not for HIS sake. Could I do the same for others?