Tuesday, January 22, 2013

On the Other Side

One of my friends came over yesterday and we spent the afternoon catching up while our husbands tinkered with cars and the kids played. She was a little upset with her husband already so she was talking about what was going on. I generally don't offer advice unless it's requested so I was mainly letting her talk and asking questions here and there to get the full picture so I'd be ready if she did ask what I thought.

I was really struck by the difference between this conversation and one we'd had a few months ago. In the other conversation, she had been bragging about him and everything he does for her and the kids. Her love for him really shined through her words then.

This time, though, I didn't really see that love. She talked about this or that that he had done (or not done in some cases) to irritate her. She talked about not trusting him. She mentioned thinking about leaving him.

I have to admit I understood some of her frustration. After all, I'd be just as ticked at Steve if he came in from work and stayed up all night playing video games rather than spending time with me and our daughter. It wouldn't be a big deal if it was just once in a while, but I'd be upset if it was an every night thing.

I also somewhat understand her trust issues with her husband. In a nutshell, he had promised her he wouldn't do something and then went behind her back to do it anyway. To make things worse, everyone but her knew it. At least she didn't know until I inadvertently let the cat out of the bed by mentioning something about it assuming she did know. While the thing in question is something I consider rather minor, I can understand her thought process. If he can't be honest about something small, you have to wonder if he will be honest about something big.

She was still upset when she left and Steve and I talked a little about it. Since he works with her husband, he's heard some complaints and gripes from the husband's side as well. We both agreed that the best thing my friend and her husband could do would be to quit being passive-aggressive with their frustration and actually sit down and talk about it. Of course it's easy to say that when we're looking at the situation from the outside. When it comes to us, this is something we still struggle with at times.

I felt a little better after talking to Steve. Even though he didn't say it, I knew he would probably talk to her husband. It wouldn't be anything obvious, more like a little advice here and there from someone who's had a few more year's experience with marriage. He's more than a few years older than I am and since some of the couples we're friend with are closer to my age, he sometimes takes on a role of big brother or trusted uncle with the guys. But something still bothered me about the conversation.

It wasn't until later when we laying in bed watching a movie that it hit me. A year ago, that could have been me. Not the specific problems my friend is dealing with, but the general dissatisfaction with your spouse that leads to you bashing them to friends without remembering their good qualities. Forgetting to show that you still love them despite their faults. A year ago, I probably wouldn't have saw anything wrong with it. But these past few months have brought a lot of changes to us and I can't imagine doing that now.

I still get upset with Steve at times and will turn to friends offline or here to vent my frustration. But I try to balance the bad with the good, acknowledging the good he does along with my complaints about whatever bonehead thing he did to upset me. Or at least I hope I come across as doing that. If I don't, please tell me because I don't want to be the type of woman that is always knocking her husband.

I saw this picture on Facebook the other day and it really struck a chord with me so I'm sharing it here.


17 comments:

  1. I'm feeling like this too Dana. I listened to a friend the other night go on and on (prob like I used to) complaining about her husband and it's like a light bulb went off. I don't EVER want to be that person again!!

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    1. Thanks Tricia. It's funny how you can do something yourself, but not realize it until you see someone else doing it.

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  2. Hey Dana, I really hate when friends start going on negatively about their spouse. I try very hard to change the subject but if I can't, I try to stay neutral. I have never understood why you would speak badly about someone you profess to love unless you are actually considering divorce. Absolutely love the card you found on Facebook, it really says it all doesn't it. Thank you.

    Blessings,
    Cat

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    1. Exactly Cat. If you're unhappy enough in your relationship to be cutting your partner down like that, then I start wondering why you're even with them.

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  3. I don't like it either when friends spouse bash. It especially bothers me when I'm with a group and the whole group starts to go at it. I leave, and if I can't, when they come to me, I tell them that yes, my husband may have faults, but then list a lot of great things about him that I wouldn't ever want to be without just to get rid of the two or three things that may bother me from time to time. Though, in the last two months before we started DD, I could seriously see myself sliding towards the same behavior... :( I am so glad we stopped my behaviour before it became an issue. Thank you for sharing the card, showing my husband it. :)

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    1. Thanks Es May. If I'm going to complain about something Steve has done to upset me, I do try to keep it balanced. In my eyes, there's nothing wrong with a little venting as long as you keep it in perspective. Downright man bashing just isn't my thing.

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  4. Hi Dana, I too hate it when friends do this, especially when they ask my opinion obviously hoping I will side with them. I especially hate it when friends 'attack' their spouse in front of company. I have had this happen and it is extremely uncomfortable.

    I love the picture. Says it all really doesn't it.

    Hugs
    Roz

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    1. I try not to take sides Roz. That's part of the reason I'm at odds with my mom right now because she keeps bashing my dad and asking "Am I right?" She's upset with me because I won't take her side and I told her I didn't want to hear it.

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  5. Husband bashing has been all the rage for quite a few years now. Once your eyes are open to it, it's very uncomfortable to be around. That one of many reasons I think I am drawn to Dd couples. They do things differenty, with a level of mutual respect.

    Sara

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    1. Respect is one of the reasons I asked for DD. I saw the path I was heading down and wanted to change things.

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  6. This is one thing I have tried to not do our entire relationship. I made the mistake with other boyfriends, telling my friends or family something they'd done that made me angry, but they don't see your significant other the way you do.
    And especially husbands. I have complained, I know, but I don't think it was in a way that could've been presenting him in a really bad way.

    I overhear other women doing that now and I just wonder how they make it!!

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    1. I think we all complain at one point or another Elle. It's human nature that we're all going to mess up sometimes, often without even intending it. But there's a major difference between a little complaint and outright bashing and it troubles me to see how many do bash their spouses. And it's not just the women either.

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  7. I never really liked the husband bashing thing...though I admit that there were times when I participated. I do still pick on him and he picks on me, but we've been doing that since we were 6 (yes, you read that right, lol). I'm still learning where that line is sometimes though, between us both having fun and someone getting their feelings hurt. As for husband bashing though, no thanks. Btw, I love the saying you shared from facebook. Perfect! :)

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    1. I understand Grace. When I get a good mad on, all thoughts of respect go out the window. But I do try to keep it in perspective. He may did something that upset me, but it doesn't make him a bad person entirely.

      And we pick at each other too.

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  8. This rings a bell with me too Dana. I used to be like this a lot. It now fills me with horror. And you know, I now listen to my friends doing the same thing. I just sit quietly and try not to be drawn in. It's awful. I don't ever want to go back to being like that! I thought I was so great - well I wasn't!

    I now make a big effort to tell Starman how much I appreciate him. Sounds a bit 'finger down the throat' but you try it - if you don't already do it - because it reaps bumper rewards. And I have asked him to do the same to me, so that I know I am appreciated too. Then we are both happy and content with each other. Such a little thing to do. Why do women find it so hard, I wonder.

    So, that is definitely something I have learned since TTWD. Good eh?

    Hugs, Ami

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    1. One of the things that really hit me hard when we first talked about DD was Steve telling me he had sometimes felt unappreciated before. It really bothered me because I know he does a lot. Now I make more of an effort to let him know he is appreciated and he does the same. It is amazing how much of an effect a simple lunchbox note saying "thank you for everything you do" can make.

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  9. I think though we've all had times like this but what is unique about ttwd is it brings to light past mistakes so we dont keep making them and appreciate what we have

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