So our couple, in trouble.
The blanket admiration for each other's strengths, and patience with the other's weaknesses has stalled.
Incidences of accusation, defensiveness and counter accusation are happening more often.
Maybe he withdraws more. Maybe she nags more.
Perhaps you've experienced something like this?
I sure have.
A little example -
DH is a good cook: has always been
I, on the other hand, have always felt inadequate in the kitchen.
When I made dinner, he would lift potlids; smell the food; ask me if I had added salt; ask me if there was enough water in the pot; if I'd remembered to add sugar to the carrots - that kind of thing.
It made me beyond mad - looking back, I find it hard to believe I got that mad
But I realise now that it was because I felt he was attacking my weakness
When I exploded at him, he would look wounded
And say he was 'just trying to help'
I did not believe him
Not for one moment. I was certain he was criticising me.
(which I only discovered when we'd worked out our differences)
He knew I didn't like cooking
He enjoyed it, and liked being with me in the kitchen too.
And he wanted to help.
Oddly, he was taken by surprise and hurt every single time I lashed out at him!
I couldnt understand WHY he didnt stop when he knew what carnage it caused.
I tried to make myself not mind.
It didnt work.
At some point I remembered this idea of choosing to be the one to submit
(Submission can only be offered, as a gift. When there is forcing, it is no longer submission, as one of my commenters observed)
I decided to try it.
The route I found myself taking was breathtakingly simple: I decided to believe DH when he said he just wanted to help me.
That was all.
And it changed everything.
Just a shift in perspective - just a "gear-shift"
Worth it - because this is one of the most precious human relationships we have.
When we relinquish the mad need always to be seen as right, and offer our partners a more friendly face on these matters, they become FAR more likely to give us our way anyhow.
Men respond well to what they experience as respect . . . .
You may ask, why it is the woman who should make the adjustment that will allow the gears to mesh smoothly again?
You know, I'm not sure about that
But I suspect its because we are the ones who think about our marriages: who are the more aware.
But isn't it sufficient that there IS a way for the gears to slide effortlessly into place again
And be glad to leave it like that?
* The post title "Submit, woman" comes from DH's frequent joking command to me.