Last Saturday morning I was faced again with the marriage lesson I’m still learning – I’d been awake since 5:30 am and here it was 8:30 am and my husband decides to FINALLY come downstairs and join the rest of us.
While he had slept until 8 and gone straight to shower, I had been up with our two girls, taken the dog out (twice), fed the cats, gotten everyone breakfast, unpacked the dishwasher, dressed the kiddos and was waiting patiently for my turn to hopefully pee in silence and get a 5 minute shower.
Saturday is about the only day I have even the faintest hope for that.
Bryan came downstairs with a smile on his face…you know, the kind you have when you sleep until 8. Oh, wait, you don’t know that smile?
Me either, my friend. Me either…
But anyway, he was happy and in a good mood…and as he walked into the kitchen and asked how I was, I snapped at him. He asked if he could start a load of clothes and I rolled my eyes and muttered under my breath…”You’re 2 hours too late.”
He asked what we would be doing today and I snapped again that I didn’t know…why didn’t he plan something.
Was my reaction understandable? Yes – I mean I HAD been up for 3 hours when he finally made an entrance (and I had also been the one to get up in the middle of the night with the girls).
This is also how it goes most days of the week. I get up extra early to get ready before the girls wake while Bryan gets ready for work. If anyone wakes, I’m the one who takes care of them and either gets them back to sleep or takes care of them.
So YES, me being snarky was an UNDERSTANDABLE reaction.
But was my reaction OKAY? Okay in the sense that this isn’t a run-in with some rude lady at the grocery store…or even my good friend.
This is the man I promised to love and cherish in sickness and in health. To stand by in the good and the bad times. And from my attitude, you would have thought him sleeping a few extra hours was one of those “bad times.” And we all know it wasn’t…
Nonetheless, I went upstairs, pouted around a little more about how unfair the morning had been, had a few more “Woe is me” moments and finally thought – this is stupid. I am totally ruining the weekend over something dumb.
So I went downstairs…and did the unthinkable. The unimaginable.
I looked Bryan in the eyes and…
Told Him How I Felt.
Like really felt – I didn’t just roll my eyes. Or mutter a few unnice things under my breath. I didn’t make him guess how I felt. And I didn’t get angry with him for not knowing how I felt to begin with.
And you know what – it worked.
He realized that sometimes I need to be the one who gets to sleep in because I haven’t in 7 years. And I realized he didn’t do it intentionally – he just kind of defaulted to a precedence that had been set (one that I had contributed to, mind you).
You can say whatever you want, but that old saying “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” is true. We operate differently. What makes my husband feel loved and appreciated is different from what makes me feel that same way. I want validation and appreciation…he wants physical touch, in any form he can get.
My husband can remember very specific coding with product numbers from his job, but has never quite mastered my Social Security Number.
My husband will skip buying me a birthday present but wouldn’t dream of not having my car washed and vacuumed every week.
So we are different. Our morals and values and the way we feel about our girls is the same. But in many fundamental ways, we are different.
And it’s sad that it’s taken me 12 years of marriage to really see this…
But it’s clear to me that this realization is one of the hardest things I’m learning in marriage. That we are different and that if this marriage is going to be successful in the long run, I’m going to have to give in to that fact and change MY behavior.
Because I can’t change someone else and in the end, I think he’s worth the extra effort.
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