IN THIS TOGETHER ◽ MARRIAGE
“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” Tale of Two Cities
“If I am out of my mind, it’s alright with me.” Herzog
“I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.” I Capture the Castle
“Marriage in the days of COVID…..”
My future epic bio of surviving 2020 with a fraction of remaining sanity. *I hope*
You guys, I have no idea what to say. That’s why I started with these quotes that I feel in my soul. This is day 732 of quarantine (lockdown days are like dog years!). I’m completely stick-a-fork-in-me done. So while I know many people are using this time to learn a new language or start a new hobby, I don’t have the bandwidth to continue an old hobby, much less learn Hungarian. But, as I’ve mentioned in prior episodes of “Lunacy in the Face of Lockdown” (catchy, right), I have been a bit more introspective lately. I have discovered some things about myself, several being a surprise even to me.
One example is, despite thinking all of my life that I am an extrovert, it has been abundantly clear that I am, in fact, not. During this lovely time in our lives, I have uttered the words, “I hate people,” more times that I can count….although mostly when trying to grocery shop with a mask while people hoard toilet paper and yell at helpless cashiers. My mom told me never to say hate, and she’s basically always right, so I’m leaning more towards complete disgust than hate, but you get the picture.
There are times when being around others gives me energy. But 8 ½ times out of 10, being around big groups, or even small groups for long periods of time, completely drains me. Probably something to do with my Enneagram number or Meyer-Briggs personality type. So as much as I love to be around the people in my life in bite sized chunks of time, I’ve come to realize that because of my helper, fixer, peacemaker type tendencies, along with my people pleasing side, there are many times I find myself more often than not, sacrificing my wellbeing to make someone else happy. Or I end up playing the referee, trying to create peace in relationships where pressure, expectation and hurt have caused a rift.
Some(lots of)times I find myself in these roles in my own home. For whatever reason, I tend to be very sensitive to how others are feeling. If they’re happy, I’m happy. If they’re sick, I comfort. If they’re stressed, I try to ease their worry. If they’re angry, I will move heaven and earth to calm them. But I feel physically ill when my kids or my husband are angry. Doesn’t sound all that bad right? Ask my husband. I’m a disaster. Partially because I try to take on the weight of the world and, let’s face it, I’m just not equipped with strong enough shoulders. Now sad…sad I can handle. Hugs and gallon of ice cream fix a plethora of heartbreak. But angry? Nope, I would rather roll around in an ant bed.
How did I make it to 14 years living side by side with another human? No idea. Seriously. And while I try to be aware of my reaction to the feelings of others, my go-to, auto response isn’t healthy. For me, or my relationships. Because, shockingly (insert sarcastic font here), it’s not good for someone to take on the responsibility for the feelings of other people. And if I don’t intentionally walk away from it, slow my breathing and talk myself down, I start down a dangerous path. I’m often overwhelmed by assuming ownership for every negative reaction.
I hope someday I get to ask God why I’m like this, followed closely by, “Why did you make mosquitos?” but I digress. This is still a work in progress for me. I wish I was coming at this from some place of growth, but I’m still in the messy part. And that’s okay.
It’s okay for us to still be figuring it out.
It’s okay to not have it all together.
It’s okay to eat ice cream in the bathtub.
It’s okay to lose it sometimes and have to say, “I’m sorry. Again.”
This story we’re writing is a journey. We can’t sprint to the finish or we’ll miss all the beauty in between. So keep going, whatever that looks like for you. Even when it’s hard. Even when it feels like you’ve finally got a handle on things. And then again when you realize you have no clue. Because there is something new on the horizon, as long as you remember to hold desperately to the “giver and perfecter of our faith” rooted in hope.
“I’m a beautiful mess of contradiction, a chaotic display of imperfection.”
Sai Marie Johnson
“Sometimes I’m the mess. Sometimes I’m the broom.
On the hardest days, I have to be both.”