I was talking to my best friend, Mary, yesterday. She wanted to check in and see how I was doing since we hadn't really been able to touch base since everything happened.
I explained the situation and, as usual, she gave sound logical support. Good thing I fell in with the chick who grew up to be a trained psychologist, huh?
Anyway, in speaking with Mary, I found myself coming to a very clear understanding of how I was handling my husband in this situation. Some folks have suggested I lay off bringing up my emotions to John given the precarious situation we find ourselves in. My mother wondered if I might be pushing too much... some of you wonderful readers suggested via e-mail / commentary that I might want to reign back my expressiveness... even Mary thought it might be a good idea to "get myself sorted out" before attempting to wrangle the Elephant in the Room between John and I.
However, let me assure folks that I haven't really been pressing the issue with John. I've brought it up in tiny bits and pieces. We've spoken about Myla three times. Once when I told him I was sure I was pregnant. Once, a few days later when I told him I was sure I had miscarried. Finally, I spoke of her when I told him I'd named her.
The longest of these conversations was the first. That lasted about 10-15 minutes and it consisted of me explaining the changes in my body that assured me I was pregnant, him going off about a vasectomy and how another baby would be the implosion of his world, me countering with all the wonderful things a baby would bring, and finally his acceptance that he'd be a good father to this one just as he is to Vince.
The second conversation was less than half that time. After a day of the cramping and nausea, I realized what was happening and told him. He said, "I don't want to say I'm happy, because I know you're upset, but I'm honestly relieved."
Even though it hurt to hear him say that, I understood his point of view and didn't hold it against him. However, I couldn't really say much more to him on the subject given how incredibly emotional I was. He left me to my tears and I left him to his video games.
Finally, the night I spoke to him of her name was the shortest of all. Two, maybe three minutes.
Each of these conversations was difficult for me to start, difficult for me to have, and difficult for me to walk away from.
But I realize in my conversation with Mary that I did it both for myself, and for John.
For John? How, you ask?
Remember that 3 Part Series I did involving my mother-in-law? Secrets Aren't Secrets Forever was the title I went with. Brief synopsis, John had ignored his mother's prodding for more grandchildren for YEARS. Finally, she took matters into her own hands and asked me directly. I then handled the conversation John couldn't and eventually explained to John the importance of NOT ignoring situations in the hopes they go away.
The best way of handling problems is to work THROUGH them.
Well, what you readers don't realize is that not even one week later, he did it again.
We were out with one of his clients and his client asked us when we'd be having more children. John PROMPTLY walked away from the table we were at, knowingly leaving me in an emotionally vulnerable position. However, I took that opportunity to model proper behavior for him. I called out to him, "John, wait a minute." He stopped, hung back, and listened to me respond. After we left the client's presence, I explained that it felt terrible for him to leave me stranded in such a way, ESPECIALLY after we had just had a conversation about how to handle these questions since they're so hurtful to me. He acknowledged I was right and resolved to use my response as a guide for next time.
"Next time" occurred about two weeks ago. He proudly came home and said, "Another client asked about me having more kids and I actually answered him. I handled it!" Then he proceeded to tell me the conversation which, to me, proved he COULD learn if someone was willing to patiently teach him a strategy outside of "IGNORE."
So as I was talking to Mary, I pointed that out to her. She felt he might've been too stuck in his ways to get past his "Ignore" defense. However, as his wife, I feel it's my job to help him develop beyond such a juvenile response. So I've brought it up in tiny snippets so that if he ever feels ready, the door is open for him to look at this situation from a different perspective - one that isn't drenched in the culture of death.
As I was thinking more on my conversation with Mary, magazine covers kept popping into my head. They looked a little something like this:
Notice that every single one of them has a headline about sex?
We've all seen these magazines. Cosmo isn't the only one guilty of it. However, this particular screen shot served my purposes.
Women are CONSTANTLY bombarded with how to express themselves sexually by getting men hot and bothered, by feeling sexy, themselves, and by being vocal about what she likes and doesn't like in the bedroom so that both partners come away feeling "satisfied."
Barring the stupidity of most Cosmo-type trash, they do have one thing right - women need to express themselves (and their likes and dislikes) if they're going to have a fulfilling sexual relationship with their spouse.
However, if we need to be upfront about our sexual desires, how much more upfront must we be about our emotional and spiritual ones?
Or do those not count?
I say they count just as much (and more) than sexual desires. So if society is telling women they need to coach their men into being better lovers, it should be telling women they need to help men be better listeners, supporters and friends.
In fact, that's what a marriage is. It is a husband and a wife consciously helping one another develop into more mature, loving human beings. It is our JOB to coach one another through times of confusion, discord and strife, even if we're not entirely sure of the way ourselves.
So I'll keep on keepin' on with John, just as I'm sure he'll keep on keepin' on with me. I'll keep chugging along trying to teach him coping mechanisms that exist beyond ignoring issues, and he'll coach me into being a more financially sound adult.
Thus, even in the midst of my own struggle with grief, I find it necessary to push him just far enough to see past his own "comfortable" perspective. I don't push him enough to have him run for the hills, but I push him enough to widen, even a smidgen, his own comfort zone. In doing so, it widens my own comfort zone because I'm forced to confront my own dislike for emotional confrontation. I am forced to make myself vulnerable to him, and even though he's not the most delicate with me right now, I can see that he's making a good effort.
And again, I love him for trying. At the end of the day, that's all I can really ask - that he loves me enough to try.
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