January 31, 2005
Why Can't We Just All Get Along?
What do people in crisis think? I can't remember. When A and I were at our worst, we had arguments, fights even, that others were witness to in some way. I never gave it any thought. How terrible. Thank God we didn't have children then who understood what was going on or were old enough even to know we were fighting.

I wonder why, in the throes of an argument, people tend to lose their sense of reason. I got a phone call Friday from a friend who was irritated that her husband was acting retarded. My reflexive response was "He's a man, of course he's retarded. Have you not learned anything from me?" I proceeded to remind her that men in general just don't function the same way as we women do - their brains work in totally different ways, ways we can't even hope to understand. The faster we realize this, the happier our marriages are - no conflicts because we just know that there is nothing you can do to change this strange and unexplained discrepency in how we process life. It is frustrating for the men, too. We just can't get to a point where we really understand how the thought processes work in the opposite sex. The best we can do is to accept the differences and to forgive each other quickly and easily when we feel slighted or like our feelings have been abused. Offer the olive branch.

I got another call a while later and the other half of the aforementioned couple proceeded to tell me that she was acting like a lunatic. What were either one of these beloved friends thinking? Granted, they were coming to visit me and my family that evening, but did they really think before calling me just how silly their argument was? How I was totally heartbroken to be put in the middle of their argument... Thankfully, I convinced her to extend the olive branch in spite of her "right-ness" and they both apologized. They arrived here a while later and a good night was had by all.

Being the first to offer that branch, or extend your arms for that make-up embrace, is difficult if your marriage is not a happy one. If it has been some time since you have felt deeply connected or in love with your spouse. If one or both of you hold grudges or harbor resentment over past even present failings, it seems impossible to bridge the gap. Pride prevents you from being the first to say you are sorry. But, oh how awesome it feels to resolve a conflict in the moment it is happening - rather than let it fester along with the other moments noone would extend that branch. Isn't the pain of choking your pride down worth the possibility of happiness again?

Now, dear readers, I am merely waxing on about this subject because it is plaguing my mind. You have nothing to fear regarding me and my own marriage currently. We spent a challenging couple years with an amazing therapist who helped us to get past our issues of poor communication. We learned that communication was our key problem and because we didn't understand the other's way of communicating and didn't understand the other's expectations or limitations within the relationship - we were being unfair to each other. I am proud of A that he went to therapy with me. Believe me, it wasn't without a great deal of heartache between the two of us, especially in the beginning. But he went. And together we built a solid foundation of trust and respect and promises to be gentle when we tread too close to our differences. That doesn't mean we haven't had any arguments or even full blown screaming matches (sadly, I am the one who begins the screaming on the incredibly rare occasion it happens) in the past 4 years since the investment in our marriage. It just means we are quick to correct our own behavior and apologize to each other when we go off the deep end of control - which I can say honestly that in the past three years, happens quite rarely - like not at all. Unless you count that time last summer when I was near breakdown and attacked him for things that didn't even make sense to me as I was screaming them. That afternoon, my doctor called in anti-anxiety medication for me to help with my severe post-partum mood swings.

No, my dear readers, I impart this bit of wisdom with you because I've been thinking a lot about this lately. I have dear dear friends who are struggling to find each other again in their marriage and it breaks my heart. I pray each day (many times each day) they are able to perservere and claw their way back to happiness. And what if just one of you were quietly suffering with your own unhappiness? I would want you to know that I understand and I love you and am here to support you through whatever you need.

Until next time, God Bless you and your family.

And don't forget to pray for
Sean, especially, today!
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