Last weekend while playing around with my husband, he did something that drives me nuts… but for the first time ever, I just laughed. “He’s a nut.”
Acceptance! The word popped into my head and I couldn’t help but wonder: are the five stages of grief applicable to good things, too?
Marriage has been rough but wonderful. I’ve been reading this book where the author waxes rather judgmentally about how so many of her friends seemed to believe that you “got” marriage when you realized how hard it is. I don’t agree. I think you “get” marriage when you recognize it for what it is: a formal relationship between two people with expectations and difficulties and benefits, often in the same minute. And I do believe it’s hard, especially for women like me who grew up believing they could — and should — be independent and successful and not need a husband to fulfill them.
Needing, then, feels like failing. Paradoxically, Needing is what people do when they have relationships in their lives. Needing is human. As much as any other thing I know is right for me, I often love and hate Needing equally.
I think I’m at stage five of the grief cycle, a rather odd thought to have when talking about the best relationship I’ve been in. Yet, I suddenly have a different perspective on some of the difficulties I’ve had being married: my old single self died, to be replaced by this new married self.
First there was Denial. Surely he can’t be like that. There’s no way it can be this hard. I must have misunderstood him/ he must have misunderstood me/ if only we have more understanding we’ll find we agree. I don’t have to be any different than I was as a single person.
Then Anger. Ooh, boy, was there ANGER. If my NQBC blog was still up, I’d point you to entire months as proof. How dare he take me for granted! I’ll show him who he’s messing with! There is no way I’m putting up with that!
Bargaining. Maybe if I ask with just the right tone of voice and the perfect set of words, he’ll _____. “If you agree to _____, I’ll agree to ______.” “God, I promise I’ll never again ____ if you can just help me never have to deal with this again.”
Depression. Per Wikipedia, “This process allows the dying person to disconnect oneself from things of love and affection.” I’ll never remarry so I’m stuck. And I screwed up that relationship with that other guy already, so I’m definitely out of second chances. I’ll just get used to not getting what I need, have good friendships, and face the fact that this is how we are. Remember how awesome I was when I was single? *sigh*
Finally, FINALLY, Acceptance, but unlike I thought it would be. Fine, I accept my lot in life and will just deal, I thought I’d think. Instead, though: This is who he is; this is who I am; we are this way. We don’t have to be this way, but we might be, and that’s okay. I’m not here to raise him, nor he me, and if we never change, we’ll be okay. He can be silly and not deal with grown-up things, and I can be joyless and easily frustrated, and we’ll still be fine. We don’t have to be, but we can. I’m different than I was, and that’s okay. I’m different every year as I learn and grow, and being married is a big learning and growth experience.
Acceptance feels more like freedom.
Anyone else feeling like any of this?