Over the last few weeks, my husband has: Failed to help me put a bookshelf together; not said thank you when I baked him his favourite cookies, generally been silent and moody, not said thank you when I made his favourite meal, not wanted to celebrate with me when I finally got my book off to the typesetter, and refused to open a bottle of wine on the basis that it was 'only Tuesday'. Seriously.
None of these are the end of the world, and I'm sure there's a list twice as long of things I do that annoy him. (She never gets up in the morning! Why does she always yell at the children? Is she seriously buying more stuff online?) But he always thinks everything between us is fine, whereas when I'm having trouble communicating with him, I start to panic and I'm all WHY DON'T YOU LOVE ME ANY MORE? (Because I'm trying to eat my dinner and you keep asking me questions, Claudia, is the honest answer to that one, I think).
It's hard. I find it hard. I love him so much, and I know he loves me, but sometimes we're not in sync and it's hard.
Here's what I think: if you have a generally happy marriage, most of the hard stuff you face in life is faced together. For richer for poorer, in sickness and in health. Etcetera. You're working hard but you're working together. But then when you have a hard time in your marriage, when you feel like you're 'working on it', it feels like you're doing that work alone. If you were working together on your marriage, it probably wouldn't feel like there was a problem, right? So you're working on your own on trying to improve a relationship, and thinking about your relationship when you feel lonely inside it just exacerbates those feelings of loneliness.
It's hard. It's normal. It's hard.
I don't know about you, but when this kind of thing happens I get involved in displacement activities. I develop short-term obsessions with things that really don't matter. I'm setting up a work space at home (FINALLY, and yes AFTER the book is basically finished, but obviously I'm very happy to have it - I'm calling it my Lady Room and I'll tell you more about it another day) and I need a few office supplies. I discovered poppin and was all set to order a matching set of desk accessories (in aqua, which would look bee-yoo-ti-full with my new dark
|This hole punch is beautiful, but it is also £130 and plated with gold. This hole punch did not solve my problems.|
|The clear acrylic casing? The gold underneath? COME TO MAMA.|
|This stapler is in MOMA. Not buying this stapler would be like saying I'm too good for MOMA. That would be terribly arrogant, don't you think?|
|What's not fun about this?|
|It's a stapler, but it's made of wood. Do I really need to explain any further?|
|This is the aqua stapler that started this whole debacle. I still love you, aqua stapler.|
And I found myself thinking: hey, why don't I just decide that now, I collect staplers? After all, if I just bought, say, three staplers, that would be buying too many staplers. But five or six staplers would be a hobby. Right?
Want to know the stupidest thing? I barely even staple. If you asked me where my current stapler was, I would not be able to tell you.
Something tells me it's not really about the stapler.
It's hard work, sometimes, this life. It's hard work, staying stapled together with another human being who is sometimes thinking about other things than what will make ME happy.
It's hard work. It's worth it. It's hard.