Whenever people say things like "oh, everything happens for a reason" or "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" or whatever those adages are, I want to punch them in the teeth.
So I don't think that we got and then let go of Lincoln Jones for a reason, and I do still feel very bad about how things went with him. I will, however, say that he was a catalyst, and that without him, Nick and I would probably still have gone on living with a dynamic that was causing both of us more and more resentment.
I think it was ultimately the right choice not to keep him, but the way the decision was made - by Nick, firmly, without trying to persuade me to agree - sent me into a tremendous crisis.
Had I married my dad? And was I my mom? Was I just a cooperative party in a marriage like that of my parents, where my dad had all the power?
Am I just playing the role of cooperative wife - quirky and artsy and funny and attractive - but not an equal? A wife expected to go along?
Nick is more opinionated in many ways, and a lot of the time, the things he wants either accord with what I want, or it doesn't matter that much to me one way or the other. I'm strong, but he's stronger; I can be mean, but he can be meaner. He bulldozes when the need arises.
So last week I hit this crisis point, where I wondered about...everything. These big decisions and commitments I'd made. This life we'd built. Everything.
Finally, after days of anger - which I didn't initially realize was, in fact, anger - I said to Nick that we so clearly have this huge power disparity in our relationship. It's not equal. It's not anywhere near equal.
And Nick, to his credit, replied that no, it's not 50-50, but life is so much more nuanced than that. Look - we live in DC because I wanted to. He wanted to stay in Virginia. This was a huge decision, dictating so many things in our lives, and he deferred to me.
(At which point I was all, oh, well, yah, that was a big one.)
He tends to make more decisions, and the bigger decisions, and he decides quickly, and is always confident that he's made the right choice.
Whereas I can spent 15 minutes in the soda aisle, trying to figure out what I'd like to drink.
Because people are complex, and because relationships are so layered, there are so many more pieces to this story. And so many more details that I cannot delve into.
But we can admit that there are some fundamental things that each of us would change about the other if we could. But you cannot change the other person. You can only change how you react. And talk about how you feel. It helps to recognize that there's no malice in our actions.
But you don't begin to change yourself until you have a reason to.
We have a lot of work to do on our relationship. And we now both recognize it and are willing to work. This is a significant hurdle to get past.
And it turns out that I am funny and quirky and stuff, but not necessarily all that cooperative. So, you know, not so much in danger of being the wifey.
So, I know that you're going through a lot and that this must be really challenging and difficult, but I just wanted to let you know that it's also kind of inspirational. Like, "BAM, folks. Watch how the grownups do it, with the maturity and the talking and everything."ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, Jess. We had our fair share of stomping and drinking and trading barbs and un-grown-uppy behavior as well.Delete
Funny how an outside force can make you see things like that. I totally understand. We sound very much alike.ReplyDelete
Quick comparison. When we decided to get the puppy, I told my hubby that the dog would be his responsibility. I had enough things to take care of. And I meant it. I can tell that he is continually surprised at NOT being able to pawn things off on me (like he usually does.)
I'm sure you two will work through it. Lots of love and luck!
It is funny, isn't it? And so unexpected, although in retrospect, I feel like it's always something oblique that shoves you into learning about yourself and growing.Delete
Love and luck to you as well! None of it is easy!
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Saturday night my husband and I were driving the hundred miles home from the big city visit. I was thinking about how much I love him. I mean wow did I get lucky when I married him. Mister right! I held his hand and we made conversation. I proceded to tell him about how I tried to spray a wasp that afternoon on our patio. The wasp killer leaked all down my arm. The wasp chased me down, the screen door wouldn't work, I broke a nail AND my glasses...he then proceded to tell me how I could have avoided all that...blah blah blah! OK mister always right! I hate it when he does that! I put my seat back and went to seething...I mean sleep...What was I thinking? When we got home he made amends, made us a drink, built a fire on the patio and held my hand. This happens on a daily basis twenty years later! Let me know if you ever figure it out.ReplyDelete
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Lynn, I love you, and if you'd put the same comment down 10 times I'd just have laughed. I'm so glad you are with Mr. Right, and that you have 20 years of working through the ups and downs, and that you are so generous with sharing your stories. Big hugs to you!Delete
As for the wasp, I'd have freaked out and fled into the house and left it for my husband...THAT'S how I'd have avoided all of it! :)
Marriage is hard but yours is also beautiful. Just keep doing what you're doing. There is equality in that you are both wonderful partners for each other. It's admirable if not necessary to talk it out, even if that means periods of silence and self reflection. I'm sorry this is a difficult time, I'm sending you hugs.ReplyDelete
Big hugs to you, Heather. Thank you for the kind words. I do feel like we're partners, and we keep having tests and growing experiences. I didn't expect marriage to be filled with so much compromise and so much testing. Living with people is hard! Even the ones you love love love!Delete
Going through this myself. Thinking of you. xoxoReplyDelete
Hugs to you, Sarah.Delete
I relate to this so SO MUCH.ReplyDelete
It is really interesting. I've gotten several emails from friends saying they can totally relate. Very strong women, women I wouldn't expect to feel the same way I do. I don't wish struggle on anyone, but it is nice to not be alone.Delete
I just want to say, Amen Sister!! Thank you for writing this, you are amazing!!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much! Whenever I post something like this I fret, because it's so soul-baring. I appreciate your kind words!Delete
Good post, Lisa. The husband and I go through things like this A LOT. I think it has to do with having a dynamic relationship and not being "typical" people. We're going on twenty years now (Holy Shit!!), and the pendulum swings back and forth. As long as there's balance overall, we seem to work thing s out. :)ReplyDelete
Wow - 20 years! Congratulations! Your pendulum analogy is an excellent one. It's never totally equal, but there can be balance nonetheless.Delete
I understand that it is hard that Nick made a unilateral decision. Nick wasn't trying to convince you of his side because he was afraid the dog was an imminent threat to the children, and he never would have forgiven himself if he spent a day trying to convince you that you need to rehome the dog, and the dog attacked one of your children in the interim.ReplyDelete
I don't know anything about your parent's marriage, but I am guessing that your father wasn't making unilateral decisions out of concern for his children's wellbeing and safety. I'm sorry - I know you had a rough past, and that can make it hard for you to move forward, but I really do understand why Nick did what he did, am glad you are feeling better about it.
Well, no. He didn't feel like the dog was an imminent threat, nor that he'd ever attack one of the kids. He didn't look at it then as an emergency, and he still doesn't.Delete
He did fear that there could be a future freakout and if one of the kids were in the way, they could easily be flung aside and hurt - and that we agree is a valid fear. He admits that he could've approached it differently and we could've arrived at the same conclusion together. Which is at the root of the issues we've been dealing with.
So this is going to sound weird, but I know a person named Lincoln Jones and I must've missed the entry where you said he was a dog... I thought Lincoln Jones was going to be an adulterous houseguest or something.ReplyDelete
So, you made me laugh out loud. That would've been a giant bomb to drop - Nick and I haven't been doing well and there's been this affair with Lincoln Jones...Delete
I realized right after we had our first kid that we have my parent's marriage - the opposite of yours, my mom was the Boss. and I've tried to steer away from that ever since, I don't want that either. it's definitely a constant battle to fight those personality tendencies and we have communication breakdowns and then talks about it way less often than we should. hopefully you guys are better at regaining that balance... it sounds like you are.ReplyDelete
I think it is very hard to get away from a dynamic like the one you grew up with. It takes recognizing your dynamic and how you're contributing to it and then deliberately working to change your behavior. Lots of people never do. Good for you.Delete