Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Year To Work On Patience (Amongst Other Things)

It's a new year today and while some good things happened in the last year some not so good things happened as well. Hopefully this year we can have more of the former and less of the latter. There are many things I want to improve on in this coming year. Patience is one of those. In certain areas I have a great deal of patience but in others it disappears quickly. My personality is one that I tend to hold things inside until I no longer can and they explode from me. Christmas day was an example of that. Whatever issues I had were smoldering inside me and I ended up yelling at my son after he intentionally dumped food on himself in an effort to make us feed him instead of using his fork himself. I regretted losing my temper immediately but it was too late. The damage was done.

This led to my wife sending him to his room but the tension between us was clearly there, waiting to be released. Later my wife made the unfortunate decision to move the chili I was cooking to a different burner and as I carried on about it she in turn blew up and the world as we knew it was over. But seriously, when someone is cooking something like chili you don't come along and mess with it, it's just not done. After much time spent in torment we eventually got ourselves together in a sort of detente and welcomed our guests and relaxed for the evening. Of course it all blew over eventually and we were okay although I believe it really would help to talk with a counselor, at the very least it couldn't hurt. Unfortunately none of us are given a blueprint for a happy marriage in advance and we have to learn as we go.

If I have learned one thing in my six plus years of marriage, it is how my wife reacts to stress, especially whenever we are going to have people over. Which is poorly. She wants the house to be perfect and in my opinion it doesn't matter. If you have people over who are really your friends they don't care what the house looks like. That's not why they are there. If the event they are there to comment on the condition of my house then I really don't want to be around that type of person. Besides after they and their kids leave the house is usually trashed anyway. Now the way my wife approaches me when she is stressed out, well if you can imagine hammering a nail into a piece of wood and once it's flush, all the way in, instead of stopping she keeps hammering away even though nothing more can be gained except maybe damaging the wood, the nail or even the hammer. I can only take it for a period of time before, you guessed it, I start speaking my mind. Armed with that knowledge you would think that I'd be able to identify these situations and head them off before they go too far but no, that doesn't normally happen. So this is an area related to patience that I need to improve in.

A few weeks back I had to drive her to Oklahoma City so that she could take her citizenship test (she passed) and just a few blocks from the house I pulled out in front of a car. It looked to me like he was in the other lane but alas it wasn't, he was in my lane and I reacted just how I do not like other people to react in these kinds of situations. Poorly. For the next twenty to thirty minutes she was constantly telling me to slow down, that there was a car ahead, we were going to wreck and so forth. Even though I knew I was risking her getting too upset to do well on her test (and naturally blaming me for failing) I finally told her that she needed to concentrate on her material and I would concentrate on the driving and to just leave me alone. It worked out fine although afterwards we did end up getting food poisoning so I don't know if that was some kind of penance or something.

Well the whole point of this piece is that I know what shortcomings I have and I understand what kind of personal growth needs to happen. Hopefully she does as well, not just for me solely. A lot of good things have happened in our marriage (first and foremost our son) and we've both changed over the years mostly for the better. As long as we can keep learning and adapting as individuals and as a couple I believe we'll be okay. That's all I can hope for. That and that she doesn't touch my chili again.

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.