Learning to Love my Husband is Unexpectedly Hard.
I cannot say I missed my husband when I was away.
There was nothing missing. I was with my mother – where I wanted to be. My needs were met. It wasn’t a sacrifice to leave home for 3 weeks, it was a choice. I enjoyed being where I was.
When time came to return home, I was also ready and happy to do that.
The physical space between me and my husband actually allowed me to connect to a deeper underlying feeling of appreciation that I’ve been cultivating toward him.
After years of projecting, blaming, complaining, and needing him to change, I choose to focus on all the ways his presence in my life is an asset and a blessing.
It’s unexpectedly hard.
It’s so easy to get lost in the noise of daily transactions, the million little annoyances – like when I’m too hot and he’s too cold in our bedroom and we are fighting for control of the thermostat, or the mess he leaves on every surface in the kitchen after he cooks, or that he asks me where his socks/gloves/favorite sweater are instead of looking in the closet where they always have been – and the many other ways I wish he were different than who he is. I still too often get hijacked by the nagging wife part of me.
In the moments when I’m irritated it’s hard to remember all the ways that he’s been by my side through the ups and downs of life in the three decades we’ve been together. How it’s never been hard for him over the years to travel to every gymnastics competition with one of our daughters. Or to jump on the plane to fly to another country (or continent!) to help each of our three daughters move to and from schools and apartments over the years. Or how it’s still not hard for him to go out at 10pm to get me chocolate, because I ran out of my supply and it feels like an emergency. And especially all the ways he wasn’t a nagging husband to me, never criticizing or over-focusing on my addictions, or telling me what he wants me to change about me – the way I was doing to him.
Yes, to appreciate the person who’s always there is surprizingly hard. It’s much easier to take him for granted, to focus on the things I don’t like.
What helps to come back to the essence is to take my focus within and ask myself: Who do I want to be in this relationship? How do I want to show up in my marriage? How do I want to treat the person with whom I share my life?
Ultimately – it comes down to self-respect.
Learning to love my husband requires learning to love myself. I’m learning to focus on all the ways I’m already enough, rather than nit-picking the ways where I’m not.
As I learn to love and appreciate my imperfect self, I learn to honor and respect my imperfect human life partner.
I am grateful for the opportunity.
PS: This text and some others I’ve posted on Instagram last week created a splash of emotion and sparked interesting conversations. I’m inspired to offer a Masterclass on Interdependence in Relationships in the next few weeks. Stay tuned for details.