In August, 2013, my *WW‘n I took a 10 day road trip from California to Oklahoma, Texas and back. (Texas in August – Ugh! What were we thinking?) The primary purpose of the trip was to visit her family and attend her high school reunion. Which one, you ask? I’m not telling! But on October 22nd, we celebrated our 47th wedding anniversary! Ucanfigureitout-it’snothard! *WonderfulWife
We LUV road trips! Next month, I will have been retired for 4 years. In that time, we’ve taken 4 trips, traveling to and through 17 of 18 western states. North Dakota was a 5 hour round trip away, so we didn’t make it there!
On the way home from Texas one afternoon, while driving through the panhandle, through New Mexico and into Arizona, we started discussing some of the “Hard’nCrunchy” stuff of marriage we’ve always had a tendency to avoid. One of the reasons we like road trips is because it gives us time, locked together in the car, to connect in ways regular life doesn’t always provide. Somewhere west of Gallup, New Mexico, she made this statement: “You know, Honey, most of the time, intimacy is “Soft’nGooey” for us. But at other times, it’s “Hard’nCrunchy“. We have to learn to chew on everything that comes in the box.“ I replied: “Life is like a box’o chocolate, you never know what you’re gonna get.” …I’m quite witty like that at times! lol I think I even mimicked the voice of Forrest Gump.
A problem arises in relationships if the tough stuff keeps getting avoided. It piles up. It tends to interfere with the enjoyment of the soft times. Resentments begin to creep in. The lumpy carpet can make us trip at the most inopportune times.
There have been times in the past 47 years that I have created my own “13point list” of ways she needed to treat me differently. (Honestly, I usually did have a mental list – but then, so did she) Somehow, mine always seemed longer. What’s with that??
Let me tell you…
5.1/2 years ago, I began attending Celebrate Recovery. I started going because “I” had gotten lost. As a codependent, compulsive people pleaser, (Hi, my name is JIM, I struggle with C.P.P.) I had allowed other people to tell me who I was supposed to be. You can read more about that here. My wife did not join me at C.R., but was fully supportive of me attending. After several years of doing some hard work, I’ve been amazed that “The more I let God work in me and change my life, the better she gets”. BUT – I have had to learn to leave her and “my list” to Him! I have to walk my own journey. I can’t tell her where she needs to step, I can’t tell her what to work on.
Every time she becomes my focus, I lose my way.
A couple’o months ago, she told me: “Honey, it’s been a long time since I felt like I couldn’t do ANYTHING right for you“. It was a point of growth for us that she was able to express to me the way she was feeling. It was also crucially important that I was able to hear it and pay attention. I realized I had been “taking her inventory” and was trying to fix her. I’ve learned that if I take on the task of “fixing” her, I can’t love her – the way she needs to be loved – until I get her fixed.
My WW‘n I are growing. We are changing. We are learning to walk hand in hand more and more. Our hearts are getting more and more in tune with each other. That’s because we are both tuning into the K.H.I.S. channel. (W.H.I.S. on the east coast) When I listen to God and she listens to God, we can meet in the middle of the triangle.
My responsibility is to support her on this journey, NOT fix her!!
- I am learning to Love her in the ways she needs to be loved. She is learning to treat me with the respect I need. At C.R, I’m discovering who I am and learning to like and respect myself. We’ve learned a lot from Refine Us and other marriage blogs such as The Respect Dare. They are both members of C.M.B.A. – Christian Marriage Bloggers Association. In addition, she now reads The Generous Wife as I read The Generous Husband. These, along with The XY Code have served to stimulate many productive discussions between us.
Since that trip, we’ve become much more intentional about chewing on the hard stuff when we need to. As a result, we are finding the “Soft’nGooey” is much more enjoyable and satisfying; because we don’t have to be as afraid it’s going to turn hard and dark. We’re learning to tackle the “Hard’nCrunchy” when it shows up. We’re learning healthy ways to address the unpleasant times we face. They haven’t gone away, and most likely never will.
Looking back on the past 47 years, we realize that some of the most beneficial moments in our marriage have been the ones that were “Hard’nCrunchy“. As we come to recognize the value of the tough times we gain a different view of our past, and a new excitement and anticipation for that which will come tomorrow.
Oh yeah – that “13point list” I had tucked away in the corner of my mind for so long? Funny thing – I laid it down one day and forgot where I put it. She’s always been the one I ask to find things for me (“Honeywheresmy_______?”) but I think I’ll just leave this one be. As it turns out, lots of those things on the list were just in my head, anyway.
She really IS an amazing WW!
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This is so enlightening. I believe your message works for any relationship – not just for marriages. Thank you for linking me to this post. Your words made me realize that I need to give my troubles up to God, REALLY give it up to God and let him handle things for me. I’m doing that now, really letting go and letting God. Thanks, Jim – you’re a true friend.
I love this. Part of being able to communicate is feeling safe.. sometime though we gotta bite the bullet so things don’t build up.. I’ve shared some of my story with you.. I was able this last week after a bit of a squabble to go to my husband and explain to him that when he reacts to me in the way he did in that moment, it makes me feel insecure and unsafe.. He explained to me that he thought I had make a rude disrepectful comment and it just slipped out of him.. He said sorry, so did I and he said that I do not need to feel unsafe or insecure.. I asked that in the future if he feels I was rude, to please find a soft way to point it out and not react in a tit for tat manner and I will try to do the same.. I don’t want to have these little fights go unresolved.. that was my old pattern and look what it got me! BAD BAD BAD!
I prayed for the right words before I spoke and it was wonderful! I keep praying that I can be better.. more respectful, no matter what he says or does.. I have to obey God’s commands to ME.