I have talked before about the ways in which my husband and I show up in and for our relationship. These are the things we do to energetically tend to weeds so the flowers of our relationship can continue to bloom and growth in a healthy way. We have relationship check-ins which is a large block of time is set aside with no predetermined topic so we can discuss the health of out relationship and areas where we have room for growth. We also have the beloved conversation cup which is a place holder for conversations that need to be circled back to when space and time can be made to fully honor them.
All of this is important and valuable, AND it does not prevent impromptu relationship work from popping up on a random Wednesday night.
Case in point; last Wednesday night I asked my husband if he would be okay with moving the bookshelf from the guestroom to the sunroom the following evening after little bubby goes to bed. Friday night is art night for me and my art supplies were currently splayed across my art table, this mess was not going to be conducive to creativity. I knew if he moved the shelf Thursday evening that would give me Friday during the day while bubby naps to getting everything organized and then I would be all set to paint and create Friday night.
He was ALL IN. Love that man. The issue arose after the Yes. There was an old coffee table in the sunroom that we agreed to get rid of when we moved the bookshelf into the room, its time had come. Trash pick up for large items is not until Monday, and with the upcoming Monday being a recognized holiday we were pretty sure they would not be coming for the table. So the question was, where to store the coffee table until it could be disposed of? It took us a few minutes to find common ground and by the time we did my husband was OVER the whole conversation which he made clear when he threw a Whatever at me.
We do not talk to each other this way. It might seem like a small thing but it is a weed in our garden. In that moment my husband was not speaking his truth; I am tired, I feel myself becoming frustrated, I am ready to be done with this conversation for right now, and I want some space.
Had he spoken his truth I would have been very clear on how he is feeling and what his needs are and I could act accordingly. Me acting accordingly would look like this; letting him know I hear him, that we can figure out the rest of the details another time, and letting him know what I would be doing so he could be somewhere else doing something else.
Later when the dust had settled we would have done a little repair work if needed and give hugs, as is our way after a hard conversation.
We got there, all of these things happened in the end, not before taking an sizable detour into shame town USA together though.
It started with me truth speaking and setting a boundary; I am not comfortable with the way that conversation ended, I am open to hearing your truth about what is going on for you right now but please do not speak to me that way in the future.
My husband practiced truth speaking AND went into his male shame place of I-have-to-fix-and-be-the-hero. I lovingly called him on it and made it clear that is not my stuff, it is his, and I am not willing to hold it for him.
This led him to bring up times when I was playing out this shame with him by having this unfair and unrealistic expectations of him which then made me feel invisible. Is he not seeing my growth? Is he not seeing how far I/we have come? Does he honestly think we are still back there?
We were both starting to spiral.
I found myself standing across from him with my arms crossed starting to fume when I did this really amazing thing that so many of us forget we can do, I paused.
I pressed pause on the whole situation. I may have even said PAUSE out loud, I don’t remember.
I sat down. I closed my eyes. I took a few deep breaths and checked in with all parts of me that were showing up in this moment ready for a fight, and then collected them all in my lap and said, Okay children watch this magic I am about to do.
I opened my eyes and said to my husband, Let’s talk about the lies we are telling ourselves right now.
We took turns.
Me: I am telling myself that you do not see me and my growth.
Bubby: I am telling myself that you want me to make you feel better.
Me: I am telling myself that I am the only one carrying this relationship and that you don’t care.
Bubby: I am telling myself that you want me to be perfect and handle everything and that I am not allowed to feel the way I feel.
Then we checked in with each other on each lie;
Is this true?
Is this true?
Is this true?
Is this true?
The answer was always No.
We stepped out of the spiral together.
We practiced truth speaking and agreed there were a few things for the conversation cup that we would need to come back to and do some repair around.
Then we practiced gratitude.
We took turns.
I am grateful for the way you are showing up as my partner and not making me handle everything alone.
I am grateful for the safety and space you have created so I am able to do my soul work and become my biggest self.
I am grateful for the work you are doing with your family around boundaries and truth speaking, I know it is hard.
I am grateful for the way you show up in your feminine energy with me and little bubby. I am grateful you are the example of what “being a man” is for him.
Then we let the dust settle, we spent quiet time alone together in the same room, and at bed time we snuggled before falling asleep.
Our plan that night was to fold laundry and watch TV, that plan went out the window. We recognize that we cannot plan for everything, some storms seemingly form out of thin air. We are ready for every storm that comes our way though, we meet them head on with confidence that what we have built can weather it. This is our truth because we have been intentional in the way we built this relationship together; we have a solid foundation, and strong walls, and no rock will ever break our glass. We take measures everyday to insure the safety of what we are creating and we show up together ready when the winds start to turn.
I am grateful for this man, and this relationship, and this life.