Does anyone else try and do something nice for their spouse only to then have it all back fire in their face? Then you are left feeling full on resentment when their spouse doesn’t say “thank you” or try and return a similar gesture?
I am the only failure out here who just doesn’t quite get this marriage thing. Am I the only one who has created selfish bad habits and has yet to admit that I am wrong? Well I do know at least some other person who has these same bad habits. Its unfortunate that we also happen to be married.
Why do we keep doing the same thing over and over again after watching it fail and lead to some pretty lame fights for the marriage record books?
Here is what a common fight in our house looks like.
I wake up at 3 am, because our three year old has to go pee. As I am getting snuggled back into my own bed feeling triumphant that my three year old is not also curling up next to me. I hear my sweet sons whimpers as he rustles around in his sheets, clearly having a bad dream. I reluctantly drag my tired body out of bed and go comfort him. All I hear in the dark rooms of our upstairs is my husband’s snoring.
“He needs the sleep” I tell myself. Congratulating and Justifying my actions. I really am making an amazing wife choise. My husband works all day and provides for us so I can live my dream of staying home with our kiddos. It is only fair that I get up. Besides I can nap later when they do.
I must truly be sleep deprived to think my children will let me nap.
7am roles around and my 4 year old bounds into our room announcing the time as if we had hired him for a wake up call. My husband says…. “shhh. Some of us are still sleeping. Go see your mother.”
Cue: Volcano eruption and lightning storm. Throw in a few tornados and maybe King Kong knocking down a few buildings.
“What? Are you kidding me? I have been up all night with these two. I have let you sleep. YOU are tired? How can YOU be tired? ” – I declare, as if sleeplessness can only be possessed by one parent per night, and I have reserved all the rights to that title until the day our last child moves out.
Well, there goes my nice generous considerate offer of letting my beloved hard working husband sleep in with no strings attached.
There are always strings attached.
How come I always need to be thanked and feel as if when I do some amazing gesture, such as getting up at night with my own children, that I need to then be treated like a Queen?
My husband and I took a marriage course with our church a few years ago and it was based on the book study of “Love and Respect”. We both loved the book and how it started so many good conversations between us regarding communication and expectations. We learned to actually listen to each other’s responses and how to spend quality time with each other in the ways that the other person needed. It was actually harder than i thought. We practiced putting the other person’s feelings first. In those moments (like the story up above) when it is hard to love and serve the other person then we are to focus on God and serve God by serving our spouse.
Life with God in the center of it, is work. I find it so easy to resort back to my sulky selfish personality. I feel like my own personal “rest face” is selfishness. It is my go to. There is a fine line between taking care of yourself and caring only for yourself. Finding that Balance is hard. Especially as a full time stay at home mom. I am in control of everyone in my families lives. I make the rules. My reward is feeling like I have earned some quality “Me” time and that my family better give it to me.
Please do not read this the wrong way. I am a firm believer that all moms need quality “Me” time spent doing things they love. Us moms, need this quality time, no matter what it looks like, to become reenergized and better equipped to face our daily lives. Its pretty much an non negotiable in my marriage.
For some of my friends this quality time comes in the form of going on hikes and spending time in nature. Something as simple as a morning walk to watch the sunrise brings them to a whole new level of happiness. For others, this looks like a day at the spa getting pampered or a coffee and gab session with a friend. Whatever your way of becoming refreshed, please do it! For everyone’s sake, take the time.
Where I believe the line gets blurred is when we turn our much needed “Me time” into a way for us to manipulate our complaining. Motherhood is hard. There are stages and ages that are more trying for some than others. There are moments in the day that we dread and there are is so much unknown that we are faced with. Constantly being challenged by our lack of knowledge on a subject (tantrums and lying) and the repetition of the things that annoy us (fighting over toys, screaming, and not cleaning up after themselves, waking up all night long). When we use these hard days as reason to give up or run away or complain is what I believe makes life harder for all involved.
If your spouse came home almost every day complaining about their job and their boss and how much work they had to do and how it never ends and their coworkers seem to have it better and they just want to get away from it all. What would your response be? I would totally tell my sweet husband to quit his Job and find a new one. Obviously it is not the place for him.
This topic is a huge one. This topic of competitive complaining hits us where we are at, almost daily. Trying to one up each other with our hardships and our business. It happens in friendships, it happens in marriages, it even happens between parent and child. The learning curve of how to be a wonderful spouse and parent is huge and I am not sure anyone will ever perfect it. I know I won’t.
I know what I can do tho. I can have open communication with my husband and friends. I know I can ask for help when I am feeling like my “mom tank” is empty. I can be friends with people who lift me up and do not participate in the “complaining olympics”. I can take alone time. Most importantly I can talk to God. He hears us. He knows.
Do not bottle up what you are feeling. Those are real feelings and they are overwhelming and can cause you a lot of hardship if not dealt with. Those feelings are legitimate and worthy of being expressed. Find some safe people to share them with. Seek help from mentors and professionals when necessary. Start a blog. Seriously. That one has been huge for me. I just write down my mess for all to read and I feel free. My children may shut this blog down when they finally know how to read but until then I will keep working out my hearts concerns through broken up thoughts and words.
Knowing yourself is as, if not more, important than knowing your children and spouse. Spend the time to know your triggers and your weaknesses. Also get to know what brings you joy. That one is the ultimate healer. The best thing I ever did was get to know who I am with God by my side leading me. Knowing who He is helped me to know who I am. Knowing what He desires for me helped me to learn how to prioritize things in my life. I am a work in progress. Taking it one day at a time. Everyday learning and everyday failing. The point is, I am learning and not settling on just being a complainer.
p.s I absolutely love my husband. He is amazing and such a perfect match for me. I give God all the Glory for that. God knows me better than I know myself. That is why He brought my hubby into my life. A life that I am so blessed to be living.