Finding Common Ground and Balance

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately but not enough doing. I signed up and paid for a writing workshop. Thus far I have missed one of the three sessions. (Sick kids/sick me. More on this later.)

I am trying to be proactive, to actually make myself do something, to make myself happy. You see, it turns out that my husband doesn't think I am happy. He thinks I am unhappy in our marriage. This is not the case.

I will admit that before he left last year, I was unhappy. I knew that things had to change or we would end up divorced. Neither of us were getting along, and we had lost sight of anything resembling cohesion. We felt that we had nothing in common. I was lost in "woe is me" land, and he was lost in WOW. These things, as well as lack of communication and gearing up for dealing with separation, just pushed us further apart. I was clearly not happy with how we dealt with his deployment.

However while he was gone, I was given time to think. I had plenty of time to find myself and my strengths. Sure, I had bad days, and break downs. It occurred to me that I wanted this family, this marriage, to work more than anything.

When he came home, there were changes. Positive changes in him as well as in me. I was able to tell him things that I needed to say while he was gone (by email.) He was able to process them. Since he has been home, I have attempted to keep up with that. I have been trying to tell him how I feel, and what I need. I am trying not to feel sorry for myself, because honestly I have no reason to. I am trying to let him know what bothers me, instead of seething about it. And he? He has quit playing WOW. His priorities have shifted away from his computer, and games, and towards our family. This is welcome. He still needs to have time to himself, decompression time after work, but it no longer comes first, we do. He has been so much more helpful around the house. He has been cleaning out his office. (This is HUGE, he was a collector of old computer stuff, or maybe, he just couldn't seem to part with it because of the money it once cost.) He has changed in so many good ways. I wish that I could really portray this here. I am so excited about our future now, instead of dreading where we are headed I can see light and fun and joy.

Last night we had a great conversation. Instead of being upset and trying to work through some issues while we were mad, we spoke about feelings when we were both calm. We were able to (with a few child interruptions) discuss our feelings and what we want. This was when he told me that he thought/thinks I am not happy. I have never been the one who jumps up and down with joy when he comes home. Sadly, he is not the first male in my life to tell me that this was a problem. Long ago, I had a boyfriend who lived in a different town. When he came to visit, I would open the door to let him in before sitting back down on the couch. I didn't even hug or kiss him. What was wrong with me? I am not nearly that bad now. If I am in the kitchen when he comes home (which is most days as I am making dinner) I try to hug him. Usually he is bombarded by small people and furbabies who want his attention. I have just resigned myself to getting the affection last. Maybe I should run up to him, and jump into his arms? Maybe I should at least make sure I say "Hello" when he walks in the door (although I thought I was good at that.) I am willing to make changes to my behavior for me but also because I want this to work, and I want him to know how much he means to me. I am so glad that he is home, I feel so lucky to have him in my life.

When his priorities shifted away from internet usage, he realized that what he had was an addiction, and he pointed out that, I too suffer from the same thing. I know this, but while he was gone, it was my link to the outside world. I am ready to step back from this.

Dear internet, I will miss our long hours together, but I will be slowly weaning myself from you. I need to do things for myself. Yes, I will still post on this blog. It is something I need. But also? I am attempting to write a story, and I need to put my creative energy into that. Today I made myself spend an hour writing on that before I allowed myself to even check blogs, and I made myself wait until after lunch to write this post.

It is important for me, to get away from staring at this monitor for endless hours. My family (and my house) needs me here in the real world.


Mo said...

Well done Leaner for being prepared to look inside yourself and for being brutally honest with yourself. Not easy, but very brave.

I sometimes find myself getting sucked into the computer too, although recently I have been better and have really had to force myself to go on. It just feels like something else I can't make the time for as much right now which is probably a very good thing.

purplelurple said...

Good for you, and also for both of you for being able to talk without getting mad...Lately with preg hormones G and I end up yelling and crying.
As for when he comes home, try and put aside dinner or whatever and have 5 min. to yourselves even if it is locking yourselves in the bedroom while he is changing from work or whatever. That is what we have come to do so that G feels like he gets some of me before the kids take over or dinner or whatever. If you are making dinner put it on low and walk away for a couple min. to have you guys time.

bodaat said...

You've inspired me to give thought about this too. I feel that I spend too much time on the 'pooter but have done nothing about it. It's a shame. Maybe I'll think and then come back and read your post again.

I think it's a beautiful thing that you are both working so hard on your marriage.

HomeSlice said...

i know about the internet - and yes, it was a great substitute or stop gap during the time will was gone. i commend you both for putting your relationship first. make sure you keep it there. take it from me - it's got to come before everything else, even the kids.

Amie said...

Happy for you!

HomegrownTexan said...

You guys are going to do well because you are both paying attention to your relationship and what you can do to make it better/stronger.

As for the internet, if you use Firefox, you might want to check out the LeechBlock addon (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4476).

You can set it up to limit how much time you use it (or certain sites, it's up to you) during a given time period, or restrict it during certain time periods. It's great if you want to allow yourself some time, but want to limit yourself, too.

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