Upside Down

There have been very few times in my life when in the blink of an eye, everything is turned upside down. Black is white, white is black, the world is topsy turvy and I'm left reeling at the strangeness of it all. The day J said, "Our relationship is in crisis," was one of those disorienting moments.

In retrospect, I couldn't have been completely oblivious to the fact that he was unhappy; after all, it was at his request that we started our weekly Friday-Night-Date-Nights. And hadn't he frequently fumed that the children took all my time and energy? That he was jealous of all the love and affection I gave the baby?

Even so, of late I had been under the impression that he wanted to spend less time with me. He'd become increasingly snappish anytime he was home, taking out his suddenly-short temper on the kids and I before retreating to his office or driving off to go train-watching, spending the remainder of the weekends in self-imposed solitary. I'd actually congratulated myself on handling it all so well, allowing myself to become absorbed in reading endless books rather than take offense at his cold shoulder, and concentrating on getting myself mentally healthy so as not to give him another reason to be angry.

And then something came to light that I felt explained all his behavior. So when he first broached the subject of our relationship, I remember thinking, "You're just deflecting." I told him he had to stop relying on me to make him happy, that it was unreasonable to expect me to be the source of all fulfillment in his life.

It took a few days for me to realize that he was serious; That he wasn't just trying to blame me for all his unhappiness and dissatisfaction, but was actually hurt and lonely and dealing with uncomfortable emotions by lashing out at me. And just as that dawning awareness was taking root in my mind, he uttered, "Our relationship is in crisis," and I fully expected the next words out of his mouth to be, "I don't think this is working. I want a divorce."

I was an emotional wreak for several days following as I tried to wrap my mind around this new reality. Luckily, he did not want a divorce. Completely the opposite, in fact. He missed me. He missed us. He wanted to feel like something more than just the parents of our children and partners in paying bills.

So we're figuring it out. For the most part, it's wonderful-- he brings me flowers, we go on long walks, and we've blown more money on babysitters this month than we have in the entire year previous. But sometimes, I look around at my topsy-turvy world and have to spend a day reeling and weepy at how things could be so different from what I thought they were.  That I could be so unaware. That it only took one person for our relationship to be in crisis, but it takes two to fix it.

{image by Turner Duckworth via Print for Love of Wood}


laura said...

i think you're incredibly brave to share your life so matter-of-factly.

too many blogs are full of "picture-perfect" homes and families that are always smiling and having fun!

sometimes life just sucks and it's weirdly refreshing to hear bloggers acknowledge that fact!

hope things get better soon!

Creole Wisdom said...

I have always loved your honesty and realness.

I used to believe as a single woman that I wouldn't be fulfilled until I married and that all married people were happier than single people. I had a wake up call and am no longer on that train to nowhere.

But thank you for being real: about marriage, about how hard it is, about how good it is. Thank you for being honest.

Apis Melliflora said...

I think crisis moments in relationships are like the growing pains of adolescence: painful but necessary, temporary as well. Every couple has lows and highs, seasons--
Sounds like you two are entering a new season.

Crys said...

I second what Apis said. In a way I read this and I feel like this is something I will have to prepare for when we reach the 10 + years mark. Love you guys. Miss you, wish we could spring another trip down there soon.

Miggy said...

I have to say your willingness to share the ups and downs of your relationship is something that can be quite helpful to read. And I really appreciate your last line--that it sometimes only takes one person for the relationship to be in crisis....but two to fix it. And as much as I appreciate sharing this lows, I like how you share your solutions and the up-swings as well.

Marriage is a funny thing...

The Dragonfly said...

There is no such thing as a perfect person or perfect marriage. I am consciously aware of the many flaws I bring to the marriage table. Some of them I try to fix, others just are what they are. As long as I'm always working to make it better for both of us, I feel like it's progress.

Kara said...

Thank you so much for this blog! I just found it through Pinterest and will be an avid and daily reader. My husband and I have an 8 month old and just the other day I looked at him and just started crying. It's so overwhelming to have your entire mind taken over by parenthood. The big picture is glorious .. but it's all the daily baby steps that can just knock you down when you aren't even looking! Thank you for being so truthful and honest ... I love parenting/life blogs but sometimes all you hear about is the "fb status" portions ... the "my life is fabulous all the time". I love to support and hear from other women who struggle with the ups and downs of life. Like I said ... we are all so lucky to have healthy and wonderful families .. but sometimes ... sometimes it's ok to scream :-)

- Kara

LisAway said...

I'm sorry I missed this when you posted it. Marriage is so hard. I am so happy that you are working to fix yours. I hope you are feeling stronger together. I really hope so.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...