Category Archives: CO-DEPENDENCY

Hard’nCrunchy

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!

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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.

Box of chocolate Royalty Free Stock Photos

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!

I Finally Got It!

  • The LESSON – I finally get it!
    Thursday, Aug 8, 2013
    Someplace E/O Santa Rosa, New Mexico
  • This morning, I learned a very crucial lesson: “The mood my wife wakes up in is not the mood she will stay in all day!”

    Yesterday, she made the remark; “It takes a few minutes for some of us to wake up in the morning. We need our first quiet cup of coffee to enjoy the stillness before we’re ready to engage the day and face people.” This morning, she slept in for an hour after the alarm went off. Yesterday she had driven most of the way from California to the middle of New Mexico. (Have I said we Love Road Trips? – and she likes to drive) I woke up before her – as usual. After she woke up, she was quiet for a while. When she’s quiet, I can get worried.

    The lesson was learned by remembering how much I used to “wrap myself in the blanket of her morning mood“. In the past, when my wife would get out of bed, grab a cup o’coffee ‘n sit down in her spot on the couch before “waking up”, I would sense her “mood” and take on the mental responsibility of cheering her up. Or, as the raging co-dependent I tend to be at times, I would think: “Uh Oh, what have I done now?”

    The answers: “Not necessarily my job!” “Nothing.” and “Just give her time to wake up.”

    As I am discovering “The Real Me” and learning to walk in the strength of that, I find I am very much a morning person. I love to rise in the stillness of a quiet morning to ponder and spend time with Him. It has become the most important time of my day. During this time, The Lord has relieved me of many of the regrets of my past, and I find my morning mind is a much more user-friendly place to start my day.
    …Oh, She likes her quiet time, too! Now I get it!

  •        “Lord, why did it take almost 47 years to learn this about her?”
                       Wait, scratch that, It’s really about ME!

“Because, my son, you have begun listening to me with a much more attentive ear – you are learning to be still and hear my quiet whispers. I am able to teach you in so much more depth than I could with the 2×4 I used to have to use on you.”

“Welcome, my child, I like it when you are at my side and we walk through your day hand in hand. Stay here. I have much more to teach you later,”     ….But in the meantime –

                       Enjoy This Day. I have everything under my control.