I binged watched Tiny Beautiful Things on Hulu last week, and it made me think about a few things relevant in my life right now. The first being my need to get back to trying to write that third book that has been living in outline form in my iCloud for two years. Writing truly is therapy, so I am not sure why it has been so hard to write. The second was how the main character and her husband needed to reconnect. She described to their therapist feeling “far away” from each other, which can happen in the blink of an eye.
So let’s talk about marriages. This blog is for moms, but most of us are also married, and marriages go through phases. Mine just entered year 20, and it has been the hardest year for us. Harder than when my in laws did not accept me as a possible wife, which meant we had to elope to become an official couple. I honestly thought that was our hardest chapter, but here we are, and I am proud to say that it feels like we are coming out of this hard place still in love and wanting not to be “far away” from one another.
I wrote about saying goodbye to Wild Azalea Lane in my last post. This has been a really big challenge on many levels. It is the only home I have lived in as an adult and the home we raised our family. But this is only one aspect of our hard year. My husband will be starting a new job at the end of the summer, which in some ways seems like the best time to start our new life. Both kids will officially be out of the “nest” and in college, but we lose our college tuition benefit at the time we need it the most. We have had to be creative in how we make this move, and I am proud of the compromise we are working on to make it happen. I could have stayed put for the next 4 college tuition paying years, but a 5 hour one way commute to visit didn’t seem realistic to do as a long term solution.
Here is what I have learned about us over the last 5 months:
When we are stressed, we are not kind to one another.
We both suck with the unknowns of life.
Change is hard.
We are both hot heads.
What we are getting better at after living through the last 5 months:
Give each other space when we are stressed. Hot heads say mean things they don’t mean in the heat of the moment.
Listen to the other person, even if it is not what you want to hear.
Say you are sorry (and mean it).
Try to take the perspective of the other person.
Find ways to not feel “far away” from each other.
That last one (find ways to not feel far away) has a funny story with it. My therapist (yes, this move has required the return to therapy…. and that is ok my friends). She asked what we liked to do as a couple. Before thinking about it too much, I shared we like to watch really bad horror movies together. We use the inverse correlation of a Rotten Tomatoes rating to determine if the movie will be good (i.e., the lower the RT score, the better it will be for us). We laugh at the predictability of which character will die next (the more gory the better). We scream at the TV telling a character not to open the door! Horror movies with sharks are a top favorite. If a jump scare makes you spill your green tea or evening glass of wine, 5 out of 5 score. At first I was embarrassed to share this love of horror movies, but she said as long as it is something you both enjoy, it can be anything.
We are still in the thick of it with our move, and I am sure we will have more moments where we need to stop and remember to be kind to one another. But we are still together and stronger for all that we have come up against the last 5 months.
So fellow moms who are also married, what has been your relationship’s hardest thing, and more importantly, what do you do to not feel “far away” from your significant other?