So, do you know anyone that, when stressed or trying to work through something, talks it through out loud or “bitches” about whatever it is until you cannot stand it any longer?
I do. Mr. Steel is like that.
Whenever he is frustrated or trying to work through something, usually our budget, he will talk it out…out loud. He is usually a very calm person, taking life in stride, but when it comes to hurdling a problem he MUST talk it out so the whole house can hear him and hear his frustration. This used to really bring my mood down. Why? Because it used to make me feel like he was “bitching” at me and that would trigger something inside of me, something haunting me from my past. I would just sit quietly by until I couldn’t take it any longer, usually an hour or two, and then I would get defensive. I mean, I would get anxious and down right pissy towards him, this would then in turn get the kids anxious and out of sorts too. I finally talked to him about this and he just didn’t seem to get it. He would look at me like I was the crazy one and tell me I was too sensitive. Maybe I was, but that didn’t seem to make it OK…you know?
Well, after about a year of dealing with this, I realized there was a pattern to his “madness”. I had to step back and really pay attention to what was going on and when. I noticed that he only did this when he was really struggling to work through something, a project or, like I said, our budget. I also noticed that once I gave him his space and time it only took him a few hours (at most a couple of days) to work through the issue and find a solution.
Money issues are the killer in any relationship and if you let it, it will destroy even a good relationship. Once again, I sat him down and we had a talk about this. I started off telling him that yes, I may be sensitive but he had to understand why; so this is when I explained my relationship with my ex-husband, more so than I had ever explained to him before. Mr. Steel knew, from the get go, that my ex was an abuser. The thing was, he didn’t fully know to what extent and that was hard for me to get through, but I did it. Thankfully, Mr. Steel listened…truly listened to what I had to say before he spoke.
It took him about an hour of mulling over everything I had told him before he came back in, sat down and told me this:
He told me that he knew he ranted and raved while trying to work through a problem, but he didn’t understand exactly what he was saying or how he was saying it. (See, it’s not always WHAT someone is saying, but mostly HOW they are saying it that gets under our skin.) He and I made a deal from that day on, that when he started to get a bit “out of hand” I was to tell him and even explain if I had to and he promised that he would truly hear me and made appropriate changes.
It took me a bit to get used to speaking up, another issue that stems from my past relationships, but I did it. You know what? It worked! It actually helped us both to communicate better in our marriage. I think it might have actually saved our marriage. We also made a pact to never argue about money, I mean, it’s either there or it’s not so what is to argue about? Arguing won’t make money suddenly appear, right? That too took a huge load off my shoulders, as I used to always think he was bitching about lack of money and somehow that was my cross to bare.
I have learned many things from my wonderful husband, but this was by far the best ever! People think we are crazy because we hardly ever argue and when it comes to money, we NEVER argue. We have had spats, of course, everyone does…and we can frustrate the hell out of one another and again, that comes along with being in a relationship; we just prefer to talk things out like rational adults. (Yes, there have been times that one of us has had to walk away for a time before coming back and being that rational adult…usually it is me.) 🙂
So, the lesson here is this: LISTEN to one another, TALK to one another…if you have to walk away to calm down, then please do so, it really does matter. And, realize what I did…money isn’t the issue, the issue is how you support one another through the highs and the lows. He is right, the money is either going to be there or it’s not…there is no in-between. You cannot change that fact, so why let it weigh you down and wreck havoc in your relationship?
This is just me rambling tonight…but I hope I helped even one of you with my “sage” advice.