In the early years of our marriage I had the ability to run a gamut of emotions in the first hour of the day; my guy never knew what to expect because I could show signs of bitterness and frustration and enthusiasm and charm without thinking about it. I believed it was my right to do this, to be able to express all my feelings – and I had a lot of them – whenever and however I pleased.
This left my husband with a decision of how to respond to me; he had the choice of matching my crazy or remaining consistent even though I was not. If he mirrored my level of…ahem….enthusiasm, we could quickly find ourselves in a scary place of accusations and ultimatums. But if my guy remained constant and true to himself, he would often be able to bring me back to reality, helping us to remain civil and kind.
Fast forward a few years and I can see the opposite is true as well; my man tends to worry and can get down sometimes without cause. When this happens, I have a choice to make, I can lay down in the pit next to him and mirror the fear and we can quickly find ourselves in a scary place of darkness and isolation. But if I can remain constant and true to myself, I can often bring him back to reality, helping us to remain steady and calm.
This is the beauty of being so different in a relationship. We each provide consistency for the other, rounding off the edges and filling in the holes. But only if we choose to. When you know your spouse will be coming home from a tough day at work, do you steel yourself with possible reactions and counter arguments, or do you prepare yourself to be what the other needs, no matter what? I am not suggesting becoming a doormat, submitting your needs, but I am suggesting a laying down of your rights to poke the bear and make matters worse. If this seems foreign to you, like it was for me for so many years, I want to encourage you to simply experiment with your response and see what can be.