Last night Marko and I had the Talk. You know the one - the discussion that has been brewing for a while. The one that starts off heated and defensive, and after two hours of dissecting and discussing, working through the various layers of resentment, hurt, misunderstanding etc, you get to the bottom line. We told each other what we needed, what we felt was lacking, and then we spoke about how we could make it better. A marital performance appraisal of sorts. Two hours later we were both tired, but very pleased that we had open up and talked through the stuff that had our backs up for a while.
Our bottom line is luckily an easy enough one to fix. We just leave it too long to fix when things go off track a bit. The way it usually works is as follows:
- I get busy through the normal stresses of work/kids/life
- I run out of time to do everything that is needed of me
- I need to borrow time from somewhere, I can't take time from the kids or the work (I get no time anyway, so none to take from there) so I borrow time from Marko. Marko's time.
- He doesn't say anything, and gratefully assuming that silence means if not consent, then at least acceptance, I steal a little more of his time
- Marko starts feeling unloved and slightly resentful. He gets quieter
- I get resentful that he is being resentful. Doesn't he understand how tough things are for me? How stretched I am. I pull further away from him
- He gets more resentful
- I get more resentful
- By the time a few weeks have passed, the tension between us unbearable. There are no screaming matches, no heated debates. Only the stony silence, occasionally broken up by the pointed comment or flippant remark.
- This goes on until one of us (me) can't take it anymore and then we eventually we have the Talk.
- We uncover all the layers (you said, I said, you did, I did not) until we realize that it is the same issue that we always have - that although we do love each other very much, we don't spend enough time loving each other in the way we need to be loved. You know that whole "Five love languages" thing? Well, yeah. His are quality time and physical touch, both of which are the bottom of my list of love languages. Mine are words of affirmation and acts of service. Both of which are at the bottom of his list. Which means that if we don't make a conscious effort to love each other in the way the other person needs to be loved, they wont feel loved, no matter how much we think they know it.
Anyway, it was a good, albeit exhausting chat. I really am going to make a determined effort to spend more time loving my husband the way he needs to be loved. And he is going to do the same for me. Things are MUUUUUCH better this morning. We have gone back to affectionately calling each other 'my darling asshole' and blowing kisses at each across the crowded room.
And tomorrow I am going to tell you how posting this note on Facebook sparked a heated debate among my followers about sharing, over-sharing and crossing the line.