Garbage triggers insight

8 Feb

So last night I was cleaning up the kitchen and asked DH very nicely if he would do me a favor–take the trash out before he went to bed. A few seconds went by and he replied, “Why can’t I take it out tomorrow morning?” I had wanted him to take it out last night because I didn’t want the garbage to stink up our apartment. He wanted to wait until the morning because that is what we have been doing and he didn’t want to walk all the way out to the dumpster in the cold.

To his reply I said nothing. Instead, I went into the bedroom and while I was changing into my PJs, I realized that instead of silently being angry at him–Why does he need a reason? Isn’t it enough that I asked him to do it?–I should go talk to him about my feelings. So I went and told him how I felt and we discussed it for a while. He wanted a reason for taking the trash out at night; I didn’t really have one besides “Because I asked you to.” It was a mature discussion. No angry words were said, no doors slammed, but I still walked away sad, lonely, and feeling misunderstood.

I thought about just going to sleep to spite Travis even though I wanted to read for a while. But I got my Bible out anyway–God shouldn’t be pushed aside just because I was being moody. But I couldn’t concentrate on what I was reading. All I could think about was how I felt so frustrated and how part of me wanted Travis to come to bed and the other part didn’t. And then it came to me: my feeling not understood by Travis was causing me to push him away, both emotionally and physically. I was equating feeling loved with being understood.

As I remembered back to different fights we had had over the past couple months, my theory seemed to make more and more sense. That’s why I was always over-explaining my emotions, responses, and wanting Travis to know WHY things had happened the way they did. During our arguments, even if Travis conceded the point and I “won,” I wasn’t satisfied because I still didn’t feel like he understood me and why I did what I did. I wasn’t justifying anything–just explaining. Ultimately, I just want him to understand me!

So I told him my insight last night and it was a huge stepping stone for our marriage. I learned more about him and his need for logical, rational, step-by-step thinking and he learned more about my whimsical, desire-driven, irrational thinking. But I can’t say how much hope it gives me to know why I have been being so irritable and angry at Travis lately–it has been my response to being hurt emotionally. That doesn’t make it right but it does point the way to the road of recovery.

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