To be clear, I think my husband learned a lot about me as well, but below are a few things I learned (and/or accepted) about him/us at our first joint appointment last Thursday. I figured I’d share them here in case anyone else who reads this blog is struggling and might identify with a few of the points and find it helpful. Overall it was a really great therapy session, and we have a follow-up one scheduled in January after the holidays. I’m so thankful that we are both willing to try this together!
- He really does want to try to make this work. Three weeks ago he very calmly told me that he was done and that he wanted a divorce. A lot of other ugly, hurtful things were also said, but it was all said very calmly and in a matter-of-fact way, and that was super scary to me. It was much more impactful than when insults & threats are hurled in loud voices in the heat of the moment, you know? I honestly didn’t know if he (or I) even wanted to try to fix things after that. After this meeting, though, I know that we both are willing to do our best to try to get back to a place where we are happy and fulfilled by our marriage.
- He was pissed that I was so upset when he-who-shall-not-be-named won the election. Not because he wanted him to win, but because he felt like I cared more about the outcome of the election than our marriage. Ouch. That was a perception I had zero idea existed in his mind, and it was a good reminder to me that I need to be as vocally passionate about our marriage as I am about my political beliefs.
- He can’t sleep when I’m out and about with friends. As much as that frustrates me because for-the-love-of-God-just-sleep-and-quit-worrying… it’s his reality, and I need to accept that. He needs to learn that it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t get my “me” time with friends, but I need to quit getting mad at him and trying to change his worrying/sleeping habits as much as he needs to trust that I’m okay when I’m out and about.
- We both feel like failures as parents a huge majority of the time right now, and that is definitely affecting our marriage in both negative & positive ways. We are shorter with each other and quick to anger and frustrated and exhausted…but we can also commiserate about it, and it’s nice to know that we both feel the same way about parenting lately and are on this lifeboat together.
- He feels like our incredibly challenging (almost) 3 year old is the way he is because of how we are with each other in front of him, and that breaks my heart. Stella was calmer and quieter and quick to follow direction at this age (at a time when we were calmer & more loving in our marriage), and Harvey is loud and rough and quick to anger and throws horrid fits. I feel badly that he blames himself (us) so much for our son being so tough right now. There is probably some truth to it, but I also think we have just forgotten some of what Stella was like at this age, and 2-3 year old boys are just damn hard a lot of the time. It was good for me to realize how much guilt he carries because of this, though, and to make an effort to reinforce to him what a good Dad he is and to treat him with more kindness, love, and respect, especially in front of the kids.
- I need to express to him more calmly and routinely what my resentments are. He was truly flabbergasted (ignorant?) when I explained to him how hard the following scenario is for me. I work until 5:25, am home at 5:30 to relieve the Nanny, and am instantly cooking dinner and parenting until the kids go to bed. Then he wants me to go to bed with him immediately to watch a show and fall asleep together as “quality time” together. I get ZERO “me” time all week long in our current scenario, and yet it never occurred to him to ask if I wanted him to be home by 5:30 some random night so that I could meet a friend for a drink after work like he often does.
- It was really nice to spend 1h15 simply talking to each other in a calm, loving manner…and it’s been a long ass time since we have done that. He is currently working on a job that is 1h30 away, so in some ways we are seeing less of each other. However, we have now been talking on the phone most mornings for a few minutes just to touch base since he leaves before I wake up, and that has been SO nice. We definitely need to recommit to making time to really TALK to each other every day without distractions.
We definitely covered a lot more topics than I’ve written about here, but these are the “stand out” topics I wanted to write down so that I could come back to this post some day when we are struggling with them again. Marriage is hard, y’all, but I so want to make this work. <3