In regards to today's dare, I have come to the following conclusion. When I set unreal expectations on my wife, and she doesn't feel motivated to attain them, it tells me that I am not being encouraging. Instead I am being discouraging. Almost a dictator. I have had a "my way or the high way" mentality for too long. Instead I should support and encourage her, not make demands that only serve a purpose of pleasing me.
I think, communication and compromise is the best way to deal with these disconnects. I need to stop being selfish and demanding and start being selfless and understanding. That doesn't mean I should cave into her every request and back down from everything I would like to do.
It means I need to do a better job of understanding why she doesn't want to meet an expectation, or why she wants to do something a different way. Through understanding I believe I can better support her wants, needs and wishes and balance them with mine.
I completed the dare fairly early this morning. We had breakfast, we talked and had a pretty normal day. After breakfast, I apologized for having unfair expectations of her. She asked, "What do you mean?" I said that I was sorry for putting myself first and always expecting her to follow. She said, "It wasn't just that. It was like you treated my like a tv." I asked her to explain and she said, "It was like, once you were done playing with the dog, once you were done working, once you were done with your computer, once you were done watching tv... then it was time for me."
That made me sad. She had told me before that one of the reasons she was unhappy was because I had made her feel second rate. Having her explain it this way was upsetting, because it was so true. The conversation turned to her needing to leave because, as she sees it, recently every night ends with her feeling overwhelmed and angry and leaving the room.
I thought on that for a while, then approached her a little later. Maybe this was manipulative, but I pointed out that in the past when we've had arguments, we've often gone to bed angry, woken up angry, gone to work angry and come home angry. Lately, when our conversations haven't ended well, we've been able to move past it and continue talking the next day. I'd like to think it's progress, that although we still come to impasses our communications are improving. I told her that it gives me hope that there is a small part of her that still wants to reconcile and realizes that although things are far from perfect, we are making progress. She said, "I do want to fix things, I just can't do it here, right now."
This evening, I asked what nights she would be home. I know she will be house sitting for her parents later in the week, but I wasn't 100% sure what day she would be moving into her condo. I have a big project at work that is launching this week. It will more than likely require me to put in some long hours this week and work from home the night it launches, so I've been trying to coordinate the launch on a day she won't be home, in an effort to ensure I have time for her when she is home. Making margins I guess.
She said that she was signing the lease on Monday and when she moved out was dependent on whether or not I could help her. I explained to her that, unfortunately my work hours were going to be weird this week. I also said that I'll probably try to reschedule the appointment I had made with the counselor to earlier in the week. That way I can help her and be free to work.
With the mention of counseling her attitude shifted instantly. She said, "Again, I just want to make sure you're not going to go in there and tell him all your problems with me. So they know everything about me. And then I'm just supposed to show up there sometime and talk to them? I don't think so." I told her that's not at all how I picture it.
She reiterated again that I had done things my way and that she didn't want anything to do with counseling so closely tied to our church. I said, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you tonight. I'm doing this for us. Where else was I supposed to go?" She replied, "I don't know. I'm happy you're doing this for yourself, but again, you know how I felt."
I asked, "If I were to get you the phone number or the email address of his wife, would you allow me to give it to you?" Her response, 'No. I can never talk to them." In hindsight, I shouldn't have asked the question while the hurt was so fresh. I feel as though I need to attend a few sessions before approaching her with that. I think she just needs an opportunity to see we're not the talk of the town.
Our conversation ended when I said, "Well, just pray on it." That actually got the biggest rise out of her. She responded very angrily, "What do you think I've been doing?" It made me happy to know she's been praying and that she is still turning to God. But it's honestly the angriest I've seen her yet. For some reason it really struck a nerve.
But for now, there is nothing I can do about her moving out. It hurts. A lot. But it's in God's hands. I just pray that he continues to work in her as he has so much in me. I pray he works through our/my counselor and gives them the support they need to further strengthen my relationship with him.
There is still much manipulation in your days... It seems that you are still trying to get her to do what you want . Counseling etc...
Trust Christ and worry about your journey with Him right now. There is NOTHING you can do to change her mind. You have did things your way all this time. Now it is time to trust Christ. It is hard, very hard. You are now changing everything you ever learned through this world and flesh.
Do your dares. That's it... No more no less.
As for the counseling, leave it go.
Look at the situation differently, look at it as why did it take you so long to change? I am sure your wife has mentioned things to you in the past, but you just were not up to listening. She is in that same spot right now.
Let Christ handle her. While you are growing closer to Him, He will work on her. Remember love Christ first to love her better!
Thanks Sean. I hadn't thought of it that way. She's in the same spot I was when I refused her attempts at change. I better understand where she's coming from when I look at it this way. I didn't come around on her first attempt at changing things, why would I expect her too.
And you're right... Manipulation still occurs. I think I just need to bite my tongue more. A lot of the things I say aren't intended to be manipulative, but you're right they are. I just need to back off, work on growing closer to Christ and allow him to work on her...
It's hard, but I know it's the way it should have been all along...
All our lives we have been manipulative, it has become second nature... This is where leading your heart not following it comes to play