Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Resolution -- Patience

Firstly, with all the responses, you should know that yesterday was quite traumatic for me. It bothers me deeply when something shakes me at such a deep level as throwing everything else [such as my marriage, my identity as a husband and a father, and my home] off balance. I didn't like getting angry, and I didn't like fighting with my wife. I have a strong shalom bayis mentality, and so it is rare that I'll do something that will shake my wife's confidence in me like losing my cool.

It should be known that from the few e-mails I received last night, friends told me that I made my wife sound as if she did absolutely nothing all day, every day. In a way, that is true, but not that she sits in front of the TV wasting time -- we don't even have a TV in our home. Rather, she spends her day playing with the baby, changing diapers, feeding the baby food, and doing a small chunk of housework, sometimes more than a few. My critique of her is and has always been that she spends way too much time doing things that questionably don't need to be done (such as spending several hours making a cake,) and almost zero time on things that are important. It's a time management issue along with a procrastination to do what needs to be done, and that is why it gets so frustrating when she says that she spent all day doing who-knows-what, and I look around and nothing is done. Maybe I'm just the idiot husband who is jealous that my wife doesn't have to work and that I come home each night and see that she has read half a novel [and she's a slow reader] when she claims she had no time to do anything around the house.

Anyway, this blog should not be about my wife. She's a loving woman and I care about her immensely. She has a good heart, and she means well. We both have faults (G-d knows I have mine) and so if I should expect her to tolerate my many many shortcomings, she should expect the same thing from me.

That being said, last night after being tired of being upset, I decided to "make nice" to her. I came in and I dropped all feelings of anger at the door. It's hard for me to express this, but I don't believe I was angry, but rather, I was merely upset that I had to fake anger to get through to her. Either way, whatever it was, I dropped it at the door, and I sucked it up. We spoke, and she told me that she didn't think that I handled the whole situation properly, and that I should have just told her again what I needed (even for the millionth time) without getting annoyed or visually upset. Being that she is a loving woman who does love me and wants to do good by me, she said eventually would have caught on and would have gotten to it. Instead, she did the laundry and made me not out of love, but feeling restricted and being told what to do, a hot button for her because nobody tells her what to do -- not even me.

So now things seem to be back to normal. I will work harder on picking up the slack rather than getting upset for things that aren't done. She probably is working overtime and over-hard, and I know our lovable son is a handful because he is always going somewhere he shouldn't, or picking up something he shouldn't, or standing on top of something he shouldn't be, demanding love and attention and giving the same in return.


Ahuva said...

Would it help if she kept a log of the things she did each day? It's possible that she's doing lots of things that you don't know about.

shoshi said...

Dear Zoe (that's a woman's name - are you a woman?)

I am very happy that you took the decision not to let yourself be upset by those things. Congratulations.

Why don't you write the posts from your wife's perspective:

yesterday, he came home (got up) and had such an angry look on his face. I was so tired and had such stomach aches, but I still had to get up. Than I saw the way he was looking and I thought: he will start complaining again. But what can I do? I needed a hug so badly, but I guess he will never understand me...

As soon as you start writing from her perspective, you will need information on how she feels. So you will ask her. So she will tell you. So you will understand her. So she will feel that you understand her. So she will feel supported.

In short, it could set into motion a "virtuous cycle" that could get you out of the downward spiral of arguing - being angry - being afraid, etc.

In theory, this idea is good, but in practice it means more work to keep the log. But perhaps if you ask her and seem really interested in what she did (without any anger, without her feeling that you want to check on her), she will tell you. If you give her compliments (without any intention behing it, just nice, loving complimnets), she will feel encouraged...

Zoe Strickman said...

Humm... I suck at being a husband! No, I don't think I support her the way I should. I've gotta work on that.

Ahuva said...

Zoe, everyone has room to improve at being a spouse. Shoshi has some good suggestions.

Shoshi, the reason I mentioned a list is because it's a tool I use when I start feeling bad about myself because it seems like nothing is getting done. It doesn't take all that much time to sit down every now and then, write the time on a list of paper and list what you did (maybe just jotting down 1-2 words for each task that will jog her memory later). Having a to-do list and checking each item off (adding new things that came up during the day) accomplishes the same thing, although that takes more preparation.

It's not something I do all the time, but it's a good way to remind myself that I am really accomplishing things when my self-esteem needs a bit of a pick-up or I'm feeling stressed.

The key, like Shoshi said, is to do things in an encouraging and positive way. A supportive husband is much more likely to have a wife who wants to do things that will make him happy. And making a cake was a nice, thoughtful gesture even if you thought it took up too much of her time. It's good to stop when you're upset and try to look at things from her side too.

rescue37 said...

Sounds like you're off to a good start on attitude adjustment. (get the Rabbi Reisman tapes)
To gain some perspective, if your off this weekend, take the kid for the 2 days without the help of your wife and give her a 2 day vacation while you take care of EVERYTHING, and you'll see that you have an easier day in the office.
As my mife always asks me, why is it when she wathces the kids she;s taking care of the kids, while if I watch the kids I'm babysitting.
Trust me, 60 hour weeks easier than taking care of the house and kids.

Anonymous said...

i don't think your cut out for marriage

rescue37 said...

I disagee. I just sounds like he needs to work on it and get this silly notion out of his head that marriage is a two way street. Marriage is a one way street and your responsibility is to make sure it is clear for the other party. All the obligations are yours, period. The other party should feel the same way, and hopefully you end up with a happy medium of things getting done. If the other party does not fulfill thier part, then remember it is still your obligation, period. I find it hard to beleive that a second party would do nothing at all and let one person take all the responsibility. But it is not a 50-50 split, it could even be 90-10, but who says the 10 percent is easier than the 90? It all comes down to loosing the words ME and I from your vocabulary. The only questions asked should be, What can I do for YOU. No one says it's easy and no one says you will always be succesfull, but that is the goal to aspire too.

Zoe Strickman said...

Anonymous, you should know that I was slightly hurt by your comment... I wish you explained yourself though.