I struggle with certain forms of communication with my hubby –namely how to ASK for anything on the honey-do list.
It’s a lose/lose scenario for me.
I know my man works hard. As a pastor he puts in six days a week and on top of that goes to seminary on his day off. When he is home, the kids vie for his attention along with their demanding sports and activities schedule. He doesn’t have much time off and I feel guilty asking for more, but there are just certain things around the house only a MAN can do.
So I wait and wait and wait. Then I try to do it all and burn out. The frustration builds and builds. By the time I get around to asking him for help, it never comes out right.
I can’t even pin-point where I go wrong, but according to my sweetie every time I say, “Hey Tim, can you please clean the garage or put away your clothes that have been sitting out on the dresser for a month?” it comes out whiny, nagging, or a like a guilt-trip.
I hear sunshine, he hears bi—yatch.
I think I’m being diplomatic –cautious even, but it comes across as something completely different. He says it’s my tone.
I tell him my tone is rooted in fear that I will never have a clean garage. My tone is the sound of a mommy martyr who carries the weight of the world. My tone is “do you see me slaving away over here while you kick back and watch football?”
Per our normal routine, I asked the wrong way for him to clean the garage. But this time, I lost it –big time. I threw a tantrum…over the garage.
(Not my finest moment)
I ended up on my bed sobbing like a child who lost her blankie. And then I realized it wasn’t about the garage. It’s never about the “thing” you fight over. It’s always ten layers deep.
This meltdown was about my dad and his waning health and the reality that my time with his is limited. This is about surrender and God and trusting him despite my fear. This fight was about my heart full of aching emotions seeping out.
My husband held me, quieted my tears, and then went downstairs and started cleaning the garage.
And I think this is what marriage is like. We bumble things like “tone” and “communication” but we know innately when the other is hurting. We know when to be an anchor and to hold on tight to our beloved in the midst of a storm.
I love how my husband KNOWS me.
Marriage is like best friends with benefits, only better, because it is true and intimate and mysteriously interconnected. It is a naked and unashamed love. It’s love that sees past the dragons and still climbs into the castle window to rescue the wounded princess.
I will probably always screw up the ASK on the honey-do list, although I imagine if I put on the lingerie he bought me for my birthday I might get a different response?