The transition to the US was incredibly painful for me so I haven’t been able to be the person I see myself as in my marriage. I am the happy go lucky, easy one. He is the thoughtful and fastidious planner.
But because I wasn’t happy, I was negative and began to interpret his fastidiousness as critical. Where my happier self could just let things roll right off my back, I took John’s criticisms personally. But when I got angry we chose not to feed the beast. Instead we took a pause until we were clear enough to discuss our needs and our intensions.
We only ever want to support each other and this feeling like we weren’t, had to be due to a miscommunication.
Being in a new city, without much community is lonely. What we discovered is that I need intimate relationships. Developing the closeness that I crave takes years and starting over… UGH. This was a major source of my pain and without my usual long work hours to keep me feeling valuable I was left feeling inadequate.
We talked about this and I explained to him that because we moved for his job, I needed him to be happy enough for the both of us until I got my swagger back. “Give me 90 days,” I said. John is a bit of a work-a-holic and so I explained to him that I needed him to be more attentive. He understood and made an effort.
John now gives me more compliments, and builds me up more than usual. He has always been an incredibly thoughtful man but not really super expressive. In my time of need he has taken it up a notch and I think it makes him feel good too. John is proud of how happy he can make his wife.
Admitting that I was the cause of a lot of our fighting was embarrassing. But because I did, I was able to clarify and communicate my needs. I am grateful I have a husband who is receptive. But I also think that the humility and confidence with which I chose to communicate made his being receptive easier.
Now I’m two months in and my independent life in Denver is coming together. So I don’t mind if John comes home tired and is a bit less attentive from time to time. I have more of a life and I don’t need him filling the void.
People often talk about how difficult marriage is… but I don’t agree. Life can be difficult but being with a loving partner makes it easier. Just communicate and put peace way above winning any argument. “Right” and “wrong” don’t matter. Connection does.