Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I see this quote often, even more around Valentine's Day. Sure, it's a nice quote and maybe it even applies if you have two people in a relationship where neither person ever opens their mouth. Not what you expected? Let me back the train up a little bit...

I believe it is important to be kind and caring to the person you love. However, let's be realistic. Love is messy. It can be ugly, jealous, temperamental, crazy, unpredictable, soft, gentle, easy can be all those things. Just because your love doesn't fit in the box of the quote above, doesn't mean it's bad love or the wrong love or you are some horrible person.

I have been with Shane since I was 17 years old (I'm now 40) and we've weathered a lot of storms. I wanted to be the easy going wife, the one who didn't bitch at him for every little thing. I wanted to live and let live, not nit pick, not be surly. I wanted harmony and peace. Maybe this deep desire was because I grew up with couples who fought like cats and dogs and I made up my mind that I did not want to have a relationship like that. My downfall? I took it totally the opposite direction. I said nothing (usually) for fear of becoming a  nag. I could justify, in my mind, why I should not say anything about pretty much everything that bothered me. What was the result? A lot of built up hostility, a picture in my mind of why certain things were the way they were because I rarely discussed what my perception was. Now, please know, I was not a miserable person. I have a happy marriage but it's so much happier now that I realized it's okay to speak up. It's okay to say when you're hurting or pissed off. The alternative can cost you everything and I know this much more personally than I care to. You have to learn to communicate and it's scary because nothing puts your heart more "out there" than opening up to someone the things that you feel tear you down.

So, a bit of advice. Find that balance though I know it's hard. Try. If after 3 months of picking up his midnight snack remnants off the floor pisses you off, tell him. If it doesn't really bother you, then don't. Don't let it fester. Some things are worth mentioning, it is all in your approach. The truth is, it may not totally be about the food on the floor, it may be about the fact that you bust your ass keeping things clean and you want the respect of the person you love to not aimlessly trash it. Figure out why you're pissed before you go on a crazy spree! You want more spontaneity? Say so. Are you tired of being the aggressor? Say so. Chances are, the person you hold dearest in your heart has a few things on their mind as well. If you ask the question, be prepared for the answer even if you don't like it. Communication doesn't promise that you will like all that you hear but I promise if you keep an open mind/heart, it will be the best thing for you both. Sure, men are tough and strong on the outside but they are fragile hearts on the inside. Be thoughtful with your words and sharing your feelings BUT you owe it to yourself and your relationship to keep YOUR own heart protected and happy too.

I have loved Shane for as long as I can remember and we still learn new things along the way. I'm not always right and he isn't either. I have to remember that my feelings and wants are important too. I do not always have to put myself last. He is like an adolescent when he's expressing his feelings at times but I don't mind because at least he IS expressing and that act keeps us moving forward. And let me tell you this, after 20 something years together...forward is the direction I want to be going, still together.

Happy Valentine's Day!