Saturday, February 13, 2010

Love, Valentine's Day, and keeping things Fresh....a rambling post

Patrick and I have been married for 12 years and together for 16. We have had our share of ups and downs...I would not describe this as a sedate relationship. We have been through the birth of our daughter together, the deaths of 3 of my grandparents, and recently, the untimely loss of his sister, and then his mother. We met in our 20s and now one of us is in our 40s (I'm not quite there yet!). We've done a lot of growing up together, and just plain growing.

In so many ways this is such a beautiful relationship. At the core, I think we want the same things, for the most part anyway. I know we love and respect each other. But we also forget what that looks like on a day to day basis, or, at least, I know I do. And it feels like he does. I think it's so easy to take for granted someone we see daily, to make assumptions about so many things.

In recent weeks and months things have been intense, rough as he learns his new job, and more so, to navigate the corporate world after 12 years of self employment. I feel the brunt on this at times. In the midst of that, I have caught myself in the act of being the proverbial "pot" who called the kettle black. Me! Ouch! Feeling put upon, bearing so much of the weight of supporting him through his stress, listening to what sometimes feels like endless venting. Then he, Patrick, my husband, my love, mentioned recently that I complain an awful lot. Me! Again, Ouch!

To be honest, I didn't feel like I was doing that so very much. My life is so good. Not perfect, but very, very good. I'm down to working very part time (1 day a week, and a bit from home here and there), and I get a lot of respect for my skills at work when I'm there. I get to stay home and homeschool our beautiful, healthy, bright, engaging daughter. We have a great new (to us) house that we're settling into, and although there's much we could do to it, there are no real fires to put out, it's very solid. We're not wealthy, but we have enough, when so many are struggling. We're healthy, and surrounded by loving friends, both near and far.

That's how I really, deep in my heart and soul feel about my life. But I struggle with things. Household management is not my strong point and I haven't really been at it very long, it's getting easier. I'm just starting to make solid connections in this community we moved to 7 years ago. Winter isn't my favorite time of year. There are piles of things I simply can't unpack because we don't have the storage in place (bookshelves, etc...). Nothing earth shattering, nothing I feel strongly about all the time.

But....I can see, from his perspective, how he hears too much about these things from me. I know, because I'm on the other side of it. He travels a lot. We're both tired and stretched too far too often lately. And the time we spend together tends to be colored with complaints. Or was.

A few weeks ago, after I had to honestly admit to myself that life with me isn't always delightful, I had an epiphany of sorts. It's simple, but has turned things very sweet. And it's just this...

My husband doesn't need to hear about every frustrating nuance of my life. To be honest, I don't want to hear it from myself anymore, I'm bored by it all. Not that I want to make light of my struggles, they're real to me. But only, really, as important as I choose to make them, and in the grand scheme of things, not so very. It serves me so much better to take a deep breath and breath it all out...and when that doesn't do it, breath some more and some more. Take out my journal and write it down there. And maybe call a friend if I really need to vent a bit, but not to save it all for the man I married. I'd like him to see other sides of me, the delightful ones seen more by those I spend less time with. Not be less than genuine, but just focus more on what's good, and bring that to the table more. I've also, sometimes, been gently excusing myself when I can't listen to him anymore with an open heart, and learning that this can be a gift to us both.

Since I've been doing that, things are just better. I'm more excited to see him at the end of a day or a week. I feel more warmly toward him, and us as a couple, then I have in a long time.

I don't know what love and passion look like long term, not really. But I imagine it's a slow, steady burn that sometimes ignites into a pretty bright flame....that's my dream of it all, anyway, for this Valentine's Day.