It’s amazing to me how many times I’ve asked my husband to pick up his underwear off the floor. Here we are now three months later and I’m going to have to bring it up again. Want to know what really fries my twinkies? It’s when he comes home from soccer sweaty and peels the uniform off and leaves it there with the underwear on top. C’mon, I’ve seen enough poop already today, don’t ya think?
Sometimes the little things that pile up in a relationship can prove disastrous or become a point of negative fixation that doesn’t do anyone any good. I get stuck here sometimes. I could beat my husband up about it by yelling or nagging, but that’s not going to do my karma any good. I could cry about it (and at some point I just might). I could also have a controlled freak-out (which is similar to a “controlled blast”).
Avoiding the problem isn’t gonna get me what I want either, since ignoring it will mean more of the same and make me MORE upset and angry. Remember the “Going on a Bear Hunt” campfire song from your childhood (or maybe your kid has recently reminded you of it)? “You can’t go over it. You can’t go around it. So you gotta go through it.” Guess I need to (calmly) talk to him.
But how to get to calm? Sometimes I’m too infuriated to talk. Here’s how I make it through when I just don’t know where to start. This is what Lola (my BF) would call Jen’s Recipe to Click and Move On:
- A lot of deep breathing is required when I find myself stewing on nit picks. If you are a friend to yoga, meditation, walking, running or whatever it is that you do to help simmer, just do it.
- While you’re stewing, think about the adage “pick your battles.” Is underwear on the floor going to be the flag I’ll be waving in the battle I’m about to launch? Or will I look like the crazy lady if I had a laundry list of all the little criticisms that drive me over the edge? What if your partner was battle-ready with a few grenades to launch too? This isn’t looking good.
- Johnny Mercer had a hit with the song for a reason. Accentuating the positive does have a level of effectiveness. Have you tried lately? I mean giving it an earnest try. Stop looking at all the wrongs and start looking at all the rights. Give praise. Give thanks for the things that work. It takes practice, but it can help. If you were to weigh the amount of positivity occurring in your mind (and coming out of your mouth) against the amount of negativity you cultivate during the course of a day or a week, which would weigh more? Think about that one. Which way do you want the scales to tip if anything were possible?
- I first knew my husband and I were the real deal when we went up to Cottage County in Ontario, Canada. It’s an extraordinarily beautiful, peaceful and quiet place. I took a picture on that vacation of two Muskoka chairs (a.k.a. Adirondack chairs) on the deck overlooking the trees and lake. When I saw that picture I committed that together we would be in those chairs at 40 years old, 50 years old and well into our golden years. So whenever I get bogged down in the icky-picky details, I ask myself if I’ll be able to move past this upset to be able to sit in those chairs together when we’re old and gray. Can I just get over it? Can I roll my eyes and laugh about it? Can I click and move on? Heaven knows there are plenty of things that he has to get over by being my husband. I’m no walk in the park, that’s for sure.
After I mull over these thoughts for a day or two, the conversation is less severe and more light-hearted. Marriage and long-term relationships are a long and winding road. Sometimes we need to find patience and humor to get us through. Cheers to your long journey together and getting through it even when he leaves his underwear skid side up. How do you make it through and not get bogged down in the nit-picks?