Being married is like dancing around a volatile volcano. For that matter, being married is like being a volatile volcano. Some days it feels so good to let all the debris spill out. But those other days, those days when you know something is coming. When you feel the heat sizzle. When the ground shakes beneath your feet and you loose your balance. Those days you wish volcanoes, or your spouse, didn’t exist.
My poor husband. He had no idea what he signed up for when we first started dating. In fact, he probably still had no clue when we got married a few years later. But four pregnancies in, he knows. He knows I have a bit of a temper. Just a smidge mind you.
Of course, on the flip side I had no idea what I was getting into when I married him. He doesn’t talk about his emotions. Most men don’t. But it goes deeper than that. Unless he is really, really upset he just ignores them. He will scowl and snap, but if asked he will declare he is okay, and definitely not angry. Until one day he snaps.
For the longest time this drove me nuts. I had no idea where I stood with him. If I did something he didn’t like, he wouldn’t tell me, but his actions would. Unfortunately, even though I could tell (basically) how he was feeling, I had no idea WHY and nothing changed.
I’m not saying one spouse/either spouse should give in and not do something just because the other doesn’t like it. I am saying that in order to make a choice one way or the other a person needs all the information.
For instance when Ryan comes home from work I’ll often ‘let’ him take over watching the girls and I’ll sit in front of the computer. This went on for a while. He’d come home, grumpy, and continue being grumpy until everyone went to bed. I had no idea why. I figured he had a rough day at work, or didn’t want to spend his only spare time as a jungle gym. I was angry because he didn’t seem to want to spend time with us, I spent more and more time at the computer while he was home. He got grumpier and grumpier.
Then one day I’d had enough. I exploded! After a lot of yelling, a bit of stomping, some tears, some threats, some alone time to calm down, we actually figured out the root of our troubles. He was upset because he’d come home and want to spend time with his entire family, but I spent my time with the computer. But instead of saying anything, and risking hurting my feelings, he just kept it inside.
It hurt me more that he hadn’t felt able to talk to me about his concerns. It hurt me more because I’d spent weeks believing he just didn’t want to spend time with me, with his family. It also hurt him because he though I didn’t want to spend time with him, when in fact the opposite was true.
Now that I know how he feels I can actually make a choice. And he also knows that some computer time doesn’t mean I don’t want to spend time with him.
We are learning. We are changing. Our mutual volcanoes are dormant. We can dance in relative peace.