Posts Tagged ‘resentment’

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Best About Both

August 30, 2011

This post is kind of hard for me to write. I made a promise to myself that this blog would not be where I would vent current personal issues but then if you want to know what it is like being a “SnipeWife” and “How do I do it?” then sometimes I might need to touch upon a relationship issue.

I was recently asked what is the best thing about DH being home. The buffer. He’s my first line of defense. He answers the phone when I don’t want to; he entertains the children the first 30 minutes they’re home from school so I can gradually transition from silence to the busiest portion of our day; he takes turns putting them to bed; he loses his cool with them letting me know it is not just me they drive crazy. He’ll say “no” for me and I don’t have to feel guilty.

He cooks. He cleans. He chauffeurs the children to their various activities and rarely complains about how busy we are.

On the flip side I was asked what is the best thing about when DH is gone. I very quickly and candidly answered, “I don’t have to take his feelings into consideration.” I can just get up and go and the children have to follow along. I can stay in work-out clothes and not wonder at the end of the day if I should have tried to “clean up” for him. After all, all those old relationship books say we wives should greet our husbands at the door in a freshly pressed dress, heels, and a cocktail so he can relax from his long day at work. HA! NOT!

If you were to ask these questions two years ago, the first answer would be the same. I’m not so sure about the second. I think if you asked me in two years I would hope it would be different as well. But I can see how such an answer can be a precursor to things I don’t ever want to deal with and places I don’t ever want to go. I can see how such a simple thought as “I don’t have to consider his feelings” can turn into resentment of the times when you do. Once that resentment takes hold it quickly passes to the other partner and it is a downhill spiral many marriages do not survive once the children are gone or retirement from service happens.

My statement right now does not reflect resentment. It reflects what I’ve been going through the past year, the self-reflection I’ve been doing, the “speed-bump” DH and I are going through regarding communication and the stress of his job. We are on uncharted territory with his new position of authority and even here at home with T1 in middle school and becoming a teenager. And it all comes at a bad time with my personal crisis and mystery pain/illness. I do not resent him or resent that I have check in with him, ask him first, or put my plans on hold for the time being–I do all those things willingly, not because he asks it of me, but because I believe he makes far greater compromises and sacrifices for me and the children.

As I said, two years ago the thought wouldn’t have crossed my mind, and I suspect two years from now it won’t either–as long as I rein it in. I’m struggling with having to consider everyone’s feelings right now–church, extended family, the school, the PTA, the scouts, the soccer teams… DH is just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It has been good to look at these two questions. Taking stock of what I’m feeling right now and being forewarned that this tiny seed could become such a horrible festering wound to our marriage is a good thing. I can do everything I can to acknowledge what I’m feeling right now and know that tomorrow will be full of different feelings and circumstances and there is no reason for either of us to resent the other if we are honest and working together as partners in this marriage.

I hope that young couples living “this life” or even military families can read this honest reflection and take one thing: the moment you start to resent anything about your spouse you are in grave danger of losing everything. Keep it in check and communicate because you may be surprised how the other person is feeling too. Armed with this realization about what I’m feeling, I have to do everything I can to make sure DH understands I do not resent him. If I were oblivious of what I was feeling and why, if I were acting and reacting accordingly then DH could suddenly start resenting the way I was treating him. Without talking to him about it we would suddenly create such a vicious circle.

For only having lived together 8 years of the past 15 1/2 years of marriage we’re not doing too badly. And I praise God for the strength of our marriage, even when it gets rocky.

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It’s My Turn

January 25, 2011

Here’s another glimpse into how I “deal.” Well, for the most part I think I don’t but that’s for another debate.

I am by nature, and a little by circumstance, a person who needs extra sleep. I’ve had this explained to me that on any given moment I make more noradrenaline than the average person. I’m not quite in fight-or-flight all the time, but I am someone you want in an emergency because I function very well under stress. It’s the after part where I get to break down.

In fact, I need down time a great deal. It is part introvert and part the body is exhausted being “on”. If I have to do something unpleasant or stressful (like host a party or teach a class, not that those are necessarily unpleasant) I need to make sure I have time after to be by myself, rest and recover.

I am the sole caregiver for my children for 80 days at a time. I have to get up with them. I have to put them to bed. I have to meet their needs at all times. I also had a difficult time after T2 was born. There was one occasion where I was exhausted (if DH is driving I will fall asleep in the car no matter what). We had to stop at both his parents and at the grocery store. T2 needed a diaper change. At first I had DH agreeable to changing the diaper when we got to his parents. Then I mentioned that on our way home someone needed to run in and get a gallon of milk for T1. DH’s quick response was, “Then you change the diaper.”

Excuse me?

I totally laid into him that his time to “Say No” was every day he was at sea. I was not being selfish by asking him–in fact, I only ask when I am completely spent. When he is at sea and T2 needs a diaper change and I just don’t want to do it, what do I say, “Sorry, hon, I don’t feel like it”? This discussion went all the way into the house with us. I said, “I’m sorry you’re tired too but I just don’t willy-nilly think my parenting is done just because you’re home.”

We had to learn a few things when I got better after T2. We had spent a whole year getting me better (and moving) that we didn’t focus on the fact we now had two children and their social lives were getting busier. I guess it would be kind of similar to suddenly adopting. I would meet DH at the door with the keys and say, “I have class at 10. T1 has dance at 11. Meet us for lunch at noon. Your parents want to have dinner tonight. Welcome home. See you later.” And out the door I’d go.

He started resenting such welcomes. And I don’t blame him. He was exhausted. He had just worked (at the time) 90 days straight. No weekends, no holidays; 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. The best advice we got was to look at both his resentment and mine. Both of us were exhausted; neither had a more valid excuse but we had the luxury that when he caught up and got rested he was more than willing to lend a hand. I just had to give him the time to do so. And I had to give him our calendars so he knew exactly how busy we were and where I could use the help.

But my body wants to shut down when he gets home. I want to crawl into bed and not wake up for a week. I had to learn to fight those urges for about 3 days. Then I could rest. It’s also hard to fight that urge when overseas germs attack my already exhausted body. Without fail I usually get some kind of sickness when he gets home.

I also had to fight the urge to sleep for a week. When the children were in preschool, DH would help and would get them out the door or preschool and I could sleep in. It becomes a hard habit to break when I am once again the sole caregiver. It bit me in the butt a couple of times. So now,  do get up with them and keep the routine, going back to bed after they are out the door. Oh there are a few days when I roll over and say to DH, “Could you?” but it’s not such a bad habit.

Well, DH came home congested. He’s on the mend. I seem to have it now. T1 is a bit congested and ran a low-grade fever. I’m shivering as I type this and my back is killing me. I’m about to start my scout plans for DH to implement tonight because I’m not going anywhere.

So it’s my turn. My body is shutting down. I hope it is not the chest congestion from December that caused me to have a hard time breathing. We will see.

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