It’s just you and me down this long highway

This was drafted earlier this week, if the timeline seems a bit wonky.

I seem to be doing a lot of things rather badly lately, so I’m sitting here trying to work it out with words, because that’s something that usually helps, an area where I have hope that I won’t completely foul things up.

Last week was just a crummy week, for all kinds of reasons. My car was on the fritz and I wasn’t sleeping well and I felt like I was doing a crappy job at work and we had a lot of people coming in wanting to check out this website that we are pretty sure is a scam (which left us unsure of the best way to help them – we don’t want to help anyone get scammed) and I was just tired all the time and Mike’s sister was coming to visit (a case where you want the house to be spotless, because you want your husband’s family to think you are taking good care of him). And there were some other things going on personally, as well. Mike had a bunch of work (go bug him to tell you about the test he got 103 on) and so I didn’t want to burden him about all of that – he knew I was having a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad week, but not the extent of it.

Not until today, at least, when I had my specialty – the scene where Kari-breaks-down-and-claims-to-be-a-complete-failure-much-to-the-surprise-and-horror-of-Mike. Complete with waterworks. I won’t claim that it was a perfect conversation, because it took a while for us to be on the same page, but in situations like that, I’m always pleasantly surprised by how similarly Mike and I see things. I just needed to make sure that we were still working together as a team and Mike needed to let me know some ways that he needed more support. (“What should our team name be?” “Team Liger.” *highfive*)

The idea of the two of us as a team has been on my mind a lot lately. We have talked recently about a couple of difficulties we’ve been facing in relationships (not with each other), and come away with ideas on how to tackle those things together, how to work better in tandem. Often I find myself waiting passively for Mike to act, because I think that’s what a wife “should” do. Lately we have talked more about having a plan before awkward relationship situations, so that both of us know what is expected of us. Mike might need more support and more vocalization from me, while I might need for him to set limits and be more vocal about what we will and will not tolerate when it comes to other people’s coarse joking. If we are better about negotiating these expectations beforehand, both of us can deal with the situations better when they arise. When discussing this, Mike said he wasn’t sure that implementation would be any easier with or without a plan, and I can see that. But I told him that having a plan would set me free from stress in a lot of ways. Like, we have decided that we will not tolerate these three things, but these three things we will let slide. So, if something is said in the second group, we let it slide, not because we are passive or afraid to speak or because we are letting others control the conversation, but because that is what we have agreed to do. That makes me feel a lot less powerless, less controlled by external factors.

Some of that seems like common sense, but there was a situation over the weekend where I was afraid to act because I feared certain consequences. Mike, on the other hand, did not expect those same consequences, so he didn’t feel trapped like I did. Both of us were assuming the other felt the same way, when that simply wasn’t the case. Just being able to discuss it and realize that we had different feelings/expectations feels like a huge victory.

I don’t know what it is, but lately we seem to have gotten in a really good groove of working together and communicating. I feel more like a team than ever before – not that we weren’t trying before, but I think becoming “one flesh” takes more than just a marriage ceremony. It takes time and patience and forgiveness and smoothing out the rough edges. But we are getting there. Sometimes I can’t see it, but today I can.

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