Thursday, September 4, 2014

I Fell In Love With My Husband When He Asked Me This Question...

"How was your day?

It's such a simple and seemingly innocuous question, but definitely one that I've learned to dread after becoming a stay-at-home parent. I'm quite certain a number of other SAHMs out there can relate to this feeling, and I think this is even worse for over-analyzers such as myself because really, how does one answer that question truthfully and yet still creatively, day in and day out?

"How was your day?"

"Well, I dusted, vacuumed, did the laundry, ironed some clothes, tried to write an essay, networked on social media, cooked, made snacks, monitored homework time, etc...." --- Repeat for the next 30 days, or until something more exciting happens.

But no matter how averse I am to this question, the fact is, it is this same question that has also probably saved a lot of marriages. For some, it may be the only opening for an opportunity to reconnect after a soul-draining day. And your relationship doesn't even have to be necessarily in trouble. It's just that every marriage could use as many of those moments when we say to ourselves, "I do feel our connection, and I feel less alone."

Image by:  Renate Flynn

The other night, I had one of those moments. My husband and I were in bed, preparing for our nightly pre-bedtime television.  Before tuning in to one of our recorded shows, he asked the dreaded question. This time though, I had a longer than usual response.

It so happened that it was one of my more stressful days as a blogger, and I was feeling overwhelmed with the social media networking demands of my work, as well as with my continued failure at having my writing be noticed by one of the bigger websites I've been sending pitches to.  I went on and on, sharing details of my blogging life to this corporate IT man.

I shared with him my realization that even in my world, just as in his, networking and meeting the right people can spell a universe of difference in getting noticed and succeeding, and that one disadvantage I have is that I've never been able to attend any blog conferences, mainly because of my social anxiety and introversion.  Those conferences also cost money and I'm never too sure if it's money he'd be willing to shell out for me and my writing 'job'. (And yes, I'd have to ask him to finance it since my writing hasn't exactly raked in any significant financial rewards).

At this point, I was already expecting him to have zoned out or just say that the idea is clearly a waste of resources.

But the shock of all shocks happened.

He said, "Maybe next time you should go."

Then I replied, "Well, it's always been so hard for me to consider going to any of those because I really don't know anyone; not in real life at least. And you have to be ready to network heavily if you want to get something out of the whole experience. You know how hard that would be for me to do, so....I'm not sure."

After saying that, I was more than prepared for a lecture on how I should be more bold and get myself out there and quit being an introvert. It has happened on numerous occasions in the past and so I've learned to sufficiently brace myself. (Of course anyone who truly understands introversion would know that such remarks also ultimately lead to full-blown arguments and possibly even sleeping in separate rooms for the night).

But the surprises just kept coming.  

He came back with, "Maybe we'll go with you,...not to the conference of course, but just on the  trip."


It is said that a lot of the times, when we converse, there are actually multiple conversations going on all at once. And the challenge, especially between married couples, is to pay attention to that subtext and try to develop the capacity to decode it as best you can. 

Having that simple conversation with my husband filled me to the brim that night, on so many different levels.  

I felt moved not because of his offer to accompany me should I decide to attend a blog conference in the future. It's because I felt he finally accepted me for who I am, reserved and introverted. No tone of disappointment or frustration. No criticism or a sense of desire to change me.

I felt moved not just because he actually wanted me to go to those conferences, but because it meant he understood its importance to my growth as a writer, and I felt supported.

I felt moved because he listened to every detail I shared with him about the work I do beyond my role as wife and parent.  In doing so, I felt that he validated that aspect of my identity and respected the dreams that I now hold, no matter how different they may be from his own expectations.

I felt seen, heard, treasured. He saw ME, and in his acknowledgment of who I am, our connection deepened.

In my marriage, there have been times when I just wanted to strangle my husband out of frustration, and have wondered if we are right for each other.


And then there are those times when a sense of peace just washes over me, as I hear the voice of certainty assuring me that I did make the right choice, that this is a man who will always do his best to love me and stay committed to our mutual growth.

By no means is our marriage perfect and perpetually blissful.  But the fact that the voice of certainty speaks more loudly to me more often than the voice of doubt (and the urge to strangle), means that we might just make it. I'm certainly not swooning and falling in love every minute of every day. But  I have a strong feeling that having those unexpected moments of real connection will help us more in staying on course than simple romance ever could.










24 comments:

  1. Wisdom here. Support of this kind is vital to a healthy partnership.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Carol! I'm not always so wise so when it happens, I take it! ;-)

      Delete
  2. You obviously married a gem. Ha... Joy, meet Gem. Gem--Joy. Seriously you so eloquently articulated the stuff of a good marriage. And as one introvert to another--let's be roomies at next BlogHer conference!
    Stephanie (Little Miss Menopause)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Steph, you're funny...as always! Gem Manuel....hahahahaha!! But seriously, I would be honored and THRILLED to be roomies with you!! Let's! :-D xoxo Thank you for your comment!

      Delete
  3. I love this blog entry, Joy! It was written from the heart, and I can tell that you're filled to the brim with joy! I am so happy for both of you. Love you all!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for taking the time (and showing the vulnerability) to share this conversation. It's helpful for me to see these little moments for being very significant to the strength of a marriage. It's a message that I needed to here today! All my best to you in your blogging efforts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for that heartfelt comment, Karen. You made my day. xoxo

      Delete
  5. I just love this so much!!!!!!! I'm so glad you are married to someone who cares about your heart and your dreams. I know that for me the support I have gotten for my writing and blogging as meant the world to me. Plus, I would love if I could finally meet you in person!!!!!! xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I better start praying and meditating to summon all the strength, Kathy, so that I'd be ready once another blog conference comes along! xoxox

      Delete
  6. Great post. These moments are what make a marriage last - not the huge romantic gestures, but the smaller times when you do feel that real connection. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've really realized that it's more about the smaller, yet significant, pockets of happiness, Lana. You're absolutely right! Thanks so much!

      Delete
  7. One of those glorious, golden moments that, when stitched into the whole, make such bright threads in the matrimonial cloth. Thank you so much for your insights. And for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I LOVE how you put it Diane! I'm reminded of a line from the movie 'How To Make An American Quilt' : " Young lovers seek perfection. Old lovers learn the art of sewing shreds together and of seeing beauty in a multiplicity of patches." Perfection! Thank you so much!

      Delete
  8. These sentiments are shared by many of us I think. Family support is crucial, as blogging takes so much time. To feel supported is such a wonderful feeling of love. I loved this post. Good luck in every venture - and maybe someday we will all be at a blogging conference :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true, Susan. Blogging gets very busy and if people around us don't understand it, or care to respect what we do, then it would be very difficult to grow in this field. Thank you and good luck to all of us! Hopefully I can muster enough strength for the next blog conference and finally meet you guys! :-))

      Delete
  9. Sometimes the things we take for granted turn into the best moments of our day. A perfect reason to never stop asking that question.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah you are SO RIGHT, Karen! We really have to keep looking, or just keep being open so that we can spot those nurturing moments. :-)

      Delete
  10. And just when I thought we were so alike! I have never even considered going to a blog conference because of my introversion/social anxiety. Go put yourself out there for both of us!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marie, you know what would be awesome? If we BOTH went!! Maybe our introversion will cancel out each other?! :-))) Hope you will consider!

      Delete
  11. It is the small things that matter, right? I like the way my husband looks at me. Can't wait to hear more about the blog conference.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww, that's sweet Muriel! The loving looks are priceless! And yes, if I ever really attend one, I'll make sure to let you PBAU folks know hot it went! We should all go!

      Delete
  12. I fell in love with him too. He's one of the few men who understands a woman's needs, which makes him practically unique. You may find other introverts like you at the conference, and you may be surprised at how easy it is to participate and make friends.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's nice of you to say ,Pennie! Thanks so much. Yes, he tries and I do appreciate him for that. I hope you're right about the conferences. I'm not that gutsy yet, but I'm working on it!

      Delete

Let me know your thoughts!