Every time I think I have it all figured out, I get to have a big old humble pie smashed in my face. Then it's back to humility again.
The past week I started bickering with my husband again, and naturally I blamed him. If he would just do everything I told him to do, we'd all be happy! Well, what does Kirk say to do? What do I keep saying I have to do? Control myself, and only myself. But wasn't I already doing that? Wasn't I already doing my very best? It was time to walk a mile in his shoes.
1. I pretended that I didn't have it all figured out, but I was living with someone who was certain he did. I pretended he had read and listened to advice that wasn't mine. I pretended he was constantly trying to teach me. I bristled at the constant better-than-you attitude, I rolled my eyes when he cheerfully reminded me of all his newly acquired wisdom. Even if it were right, there would be times, when I was sick to death of humbly accepting his direction. I wanted to be treated as an equal with ideas and wisdom equally valuable. And then, I knew what I must do.
2. I apologized: I admitted my wrongs, I apologized for my weaknesses, and I let him know that I could see it from his point of view. He was absolutely right. I could use some more growth, and some more practice in humbly setting an example rather than bossing him around.
3. I thanked him: It never hurts to thank someone, even if you feel awkward or silly saying it. I remember getting embarrassed to say thank you. I would turn red and fight the desire to make a joke and hide my true feelings. I used to use this baby voice, or sarcasm to ease tension, because I just didn't have practice being 100% honest. Starting with thanking others, genuinely, and telling them the whole truth of how much they've blessed you is a wonderful, fulfilling way to start. Take it from me, it gets easier each time.
4. I recommitted myself. Humbling one's self gets easier each time as well, which is the beauty of celebrating "progress, not perfection." Letting go of the need to control also gets easier with practice. I had slipped, without realizing it, into a habit of trying to verbally "teach," which came across as "force," my husband to be calm and not controlling. He had been doing great, but the more I tried to "teach" him, the further he backed away from my advice. So once again, I got to have a great lesson in personal relationships. A very valuable lesson I would not have received had I been single and simply been able to walk away.
5. Recognize that his desires are just as important as my own. Do all bloggers have messy houses? There are some days, some weeks, when all I can seem to force my right-brain to do, besides providing basic needs to the kids, is sing, write, read powerful books, have deep conversations with my sisters on the phone, research subjects I feel strongly about, and open my mind to wonderous possibilities in this great, magical world. These things do not a tidy home create. My left-brain husband, who is easily overwhelmed, who thrives on order and structure in all things, and is able to find order within himself when it exists on the outside, needs me to find a way to feed my soul while keeping up with things. There is a way, I've done it before. If I'm working hard and doing my best, he pitches in. He just doesn't want to be doing it all. I get that.
My husband thanked me. He cleaned the house. He expressed more patience and willingness to help and support me, and he was extra patient with the kids. He didn't complain when I invited my sister and her three young kids to come stay with us, and the glow in his face along with the extra long hugs and extra soft kisses-warmed me down to my ankles and brought a little sunshine into our cozy home. He wasn't perfect, and when I found myself starting to nag again, he pointed out that I was doing it again. After my initial defenseiveness, once again it was humble pie time. I reset my control barometer back to myself. I have a feeling I never will perfect this. Still, each piece of pie goes down easier, and comes more quickly, and that is the best we can expect!