3:30am is a cruel and heartless wake-up time.
Even more so if the person being woken up went to sleep just 3 hours prior.
Making it worse is knowing that said person was awake so late because marital conflict had delayed other things that had to then be finished at midnight.
Tying it all up with an ugly bow is the fact that both parties are waking up at this horrid hour because of a planned vacation together.
Two days ago, my husband and I told a couple that our lives were open books – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Well, here’s some ugly, people!
It had been a crazy day, one of those where nothing ever adds up or gets finished, or turns out quite the way it was supposed to. Sam’s was packed, Hy-vee was worse, school didn’t flow like it was supposed to. The “clean areas” didn’t stay clean, the laundry took too long to dry, and I wasn’t very patient as I watched my “to do” list grow instead of shrink.
A new microwave arrived to take the place of a broken one. Yay!
It was too large for the space. Of course it was…
The impromptu “re-shaping” of our cabinet space took 6 trips to Home Depot, 5 saw blades, a huge racket, the utter entrancement of our children, sawdust that flew everywhere in the kitchen (which then required a wet vac and a mopping job), and pretty much the rest of our limited supply of patience. Although, I must say that the microwave looks pretty cool, now. 🙂
All of this came to a head when I asked a question that he didn’t hear then I made assumptions that he didn’t intend. This rolled into hurtful comments and misunderstanding and major miscommunication on both sides.
In 12 years of marriage, we’ve learned a *lot* about communication and resolving conflict. This argument that 5 years ago would have lasted for days and included late night loud voices and buckets of tears lasted only a couple of hours. During which we both recognized and realized when to draw back and allow space. I’ve learned that no matter what is said, I have the freedom, after the fire has died down and we are both more rational, to go back and talk things through that upset me. He’s learned that I’m quietly holding my thoughts inside not be disrespectful to him, but because I’m trying not to add more fuel to the flame. We are a work in progress until we take our last breath, but over time, I’ve come to grips with a few truths about miscommunication.
1) Miscommunication Comes Standard
Much to my chagrin I came face to face with this not-so-pretty reality a few years ago when we were in marriage counseling. We were head over heels stuck in the mire of misunderstanding and fighting over the ridiculous and I *l-o-n-g-e-d* for that sweet day when we wouldn’t have conflict anymore.
Then our counselor stuck it to me, “You will always have miscommunication (Say What?!!), but you can learn to become better in dealing with it.” (ohhh, this will take longer than I thought…)
2) Miscommunication Doesn’t Equal Jerk
What happens when we feel misheard, misunderstood, and like the other partner just isn’t getting it? We blame them, of course.
They’re an idiot.
They are the jerk.
This whole thing is their problem anyways. But really it isn’t.
Miscommunication is more about our misperceptions than anything the other person could conjure up. When Chris and I were just learning how to better handle our conflicts, one of the biggest keys was realizing that we simply had to “give” the fact that the other person was still a rational, sensible human being, just like us. We had to value the other person and assume that they weren’t crazy idiots. (easier said than done, I know)
3) Miscommunication Doesn’t Spell Divorce
Have we ever wished for divorce in the heat of the moment? Yes, we have.
Have we ever said threatening comments in attempt to get a response? Yes, we have.
We’ve learned not to, but we did.
Does the majority of our conflict (and probably yours too) stem from misunderstanding that can actually be resolved with mutual respect and understanding? Yes, it does.
The strength of a marriage isn’t in the number of fights, but in how you determine to walk through them. Research repeatedly proves that couples who can stick it out during the rough times and learn from their miscommunication, will see their marriage become healthier and stronger within 5 years.
5 years, people!
Five years, though seemingly long at the time, is certainly worth the investment of a rich, sweet marriage that can grow from the apparent ashes of conflict. Believe me, I’ve walked through those ashes, my husband and I both have. Even though we still argue (obviously), the depth of intimacy within our relationship that continues to flourish is well worth every moment!
Conflict isn’t pretty and no one wants it be part of their relationship, but when you determine to walk through it, valuing the other person as a priceless treasure, granting freedom for their voice to be heard, and looking with eyes that see the bigger picture of the whole of our relationship rather than the transient moment, conflict can build you both into something more lasting and beautiful than either of you could have imagined.
And that’s coming from someone who has walked the ugly, even just last night, to come to a place where we can send sweet, flirty texts to each other today in lieu of our fun getaway we planned together. It doesn’t come easy, as nothing worth fighting for does, but Chris and I will both attest to the fact that it is
So Worth It!