How the Simple Act of Sharing My Feelings Saved My Marriage
And why ignoring your feelings is not a strategy for success
When my wife and I moved in together, all that magical, hot date, falling in love stuff had to scooch over and make room for the mundane drudgery of existence.
Where does the toothpaste go? Which wash cycle do you prefer? Is farting upstanding human behavior?
This is where the rubber hits the road y’all.
At this stage of any relationship, you may start to notice some peeves, resentments, and triggers.
Externally, all of these things may look the same, but what makes them unique is your internal reaction to them.
The first one that hit me pretty hard was that my wife likes to wake up, roll out of bed, and make a bee-line for the bathroom.
Usually, she has to pee and her morning breath probably smells like hot garbage.
I imagine she wants to take care of these things before attempting to interact with me. That’s reasonable.
However… what was happening for me is that the first thing I woke up to every morning was the back of her head as the woman I love walked away from me and closed the door behind her.
Then I would lay there for the hollowest five minutes of eternity feeling super abandoned.
Seven days a week.
When it finally dawned on me that I was starting every day with triggering feelings of abandonment, the internalized voices of shame, criticism, and toxic masculinity were like, “C’mon man-baby, get it together. Forget those feelings. Just get out of bed, you cream puff.”
Obviously, none of these were helpful thoughts.
I may have even tried to just “man up” about it, but it was clear that this was only going to 1) push us apart, 2) fuel resentment, and 3) exacerbate the problem by stuffing my feelings of abandonment — effectively abandoning myself in the process.
Funny how “trying to be a man” can be so destructive sometimes.
Anyway, I worked up the courage to tell @rebecca.murauskas that her completely appropriate behavior felt like my heart was being surgically removed every morning.
She had no idea, and why would she?
I asked if she’d be willing to just kiss me on the forehead and say good morning before she jumped out of bed.
She was like, “Of course, my sweet. I never want you to feel abandoned.”
If you’re someone who stuffs feelings to avoid conflict and confrontation, I must tell you that you are not doing yourself or your partner any favors.
In fact, you’re destroying your relationship on the installment plan.
I have learned that the essence of good relationship communication is honesty, vulnerability, and a mutual commitment to win-win solutions.
And, of course, paying attention to your feelings.
Writing to heal myself, others, and the world.