Love and Respect

Hi hi!

I thought that today I would do a Wifey Lola post.  What ever should I blog about that pertains to being a wife?  This is the question I have been asking myself all day.

I keep thinking about a book that I read about a year ago.  Every time I hear that another couple is in a rough patch, I secretly wish I could get away with making just one person in the relationship read this book.

Let me back up.

When Oatmeal and I got married, I thought that we would never have a disagreement.  Ever.  We had barely had an argument.  We had never raised our voices at one another.  We were both completely accepting of the other person’s ideas and opinions.  I had no “pet peeves” regarding Oatmeal, and he also seemed to absolutely love everything about me!

I actually take that back.  We had approximately 1 (one) disagreement prior to our wedding day.  It was about where we should go on our honeymoon.

I wanted to go overseas.  I’d never used a passport in my life.  I just wanted to go anywhere at all, as long as it required flying over an ocean.

He wanted to go to Big Bend.  Which is, well, a park.  Where you sleep in tents.

On our h-o-n-e-y-m-o-o-n.

We discussed (um, argued) about this for a few weeks.  (Have I ever mentioned that I’m somewhat of a brat?)

Guess where we went?

Next stop... not a state park.

Next stop… not a state park.

Italy!

Vatican

Trevi Fountain

Italy

Pizza

I’d like to note that even if we went back to Italy today as paleo eaters, I’d still eat this pizza.

So anyway, you can sort of see who won that whole honeymoon argument.  Oh, how times have changed!  Even though I don’t regret that trip for a minute, I know that if we were to make that decision again it would likely turn out very very different.  We’d probably compromise and go somewhere rustic that involved a spa, but no passport.  And definitely no tents.

Marriage is about compromise, y’all.

Well, go figure, at some point after we returned from that honeymoon, we had an argument.  I don’t remember what it was about.  And it was probably sort of low key.  We don’t go all Jerry Springer on each other when we disagree.  It’s usually just a conversation that dead ends… again, and again, and again.  Both of us make our points and then stare at one another blankly when the other one simply doesn’t understand.  We either get frustrated, or we drop it completely.

Well, at some point in the early months of marriage, it occurred to me that it was quite possible that I was just not effectively getting through to Oatmeal.  I thought that it was possible that I wasn’t adequately explaining my thoughts to him.  Perhaps he was so complicated that I needed to spend more time figuring him out.  (Or maybe the issue was that he wasn’t complicated at all.)  I found that I was having a lot of difficulty getting him to “talk” to me.  Well of course I decided to get to the bottom of this.  I began asking him questions.  Then I asked him follow up questions.  “What are you thinking about?”  “You can’t be thinking about nothing, I can tell you are thinking.”  “You are thinking that you don’t like to talk to me aren’t you?  Did I do something wrong?” “Honey tell me what’s wrong.”  “I love you so much.  Don’t you love me?”

So, as you can see, at some point I’d gotten a wee bit insecure.  And we all know what “insecure” is code for.

Really freaking annoying.

I was asking for tons of reassurance (and by reassurance I mean I was fishing for compliments).  He, of course, wasn’t going for it.  There were lots of blank stares.

At some point, after some random argument (or just me fishing around for sweet nothings and coming up empty) I got all super dramatic and wondered if our marriage was doomed.

Okay, not really.  But I did wonder if I’d ever figure out how to talk to him without being annoying.  At this point I was fishing for so many compliments that I was even starting to get on my own nerves.  Where had the confident Lola gone?  At some point I think we were both really missing her.  But where had my loving Oatmeal gone?  I couldn’t find him, either.  How could we still be newlyweds and yet already have these confidence and communication issues?

I remembered going through marriage counseling together.  When we got engaged and contacted a church, we learned that the church required all engaged couples to complete some pre-marital counseling.  This was not a surprise to me.  What was a surprise was that we had to complete 10 sessions!  TEN!  Well, Oatmeal was probably thinking that this was over the top.  But me?  I was secretly ecstatic!  In fact, I was actually looking forward to it!  Maybe I’d learn something new about him!  Maybe we’d have a really deep conversation that we’d never had before!  Maybe we’d uncover some new and exciting topics that we hadn’t discussed!  Perhaps he’d get so emotional over the love he felt for his bride to be that he’d open up to me even more!  Maybe, just maybe, he’d cry!

Um, maybe not.  I’ve NEVER seen Oatmeal cry.

(Except for that time I asked him how much longer he thought that his favorite horse would live.  He sure teared up then.)

Well, I don’t remember a single thing from any of those 10 counseling sessions.  I don’t even remember if we actually did all 10 0f them.  I think that maybe the pastor ended up giving us a pass on the final two or three.  Maybe not.  Who knows.

I do remember that he recommended a book.  I meant to buy it.  But I didn’t.

Well, fast forward one year.  Suddenly we weren’t a long distance dating couple, or a newly engaged couple, or on our honeymoon anymore.  I was feeling insecure, fishing for a compliment, and getting the blank stare.  And ladies, you know what happens after you get a few blank stares from your husband.  The blank stares are soon to be followed by the frustrated stare.

I think I reached out to our pastor.  I asked for some advice.  And he suggested this book.  Which I bought immediately and read in its entirety within about 48 hours.  (You can click it to view it on Amazon and see some reviews/quotes.)

What was this book, you ask?   Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.  I absolutely loved it.  Here is an image of the cover of the book in case you plan to hit Barnes and Noble tomorrow, or you can just click the link to see it on Amazon.

I have to say that this book has made a huge difference in how I speak to Oatmeal.  It had so many simple concepts that made me completely open my eyes.  I realized that, quite frankly, I was making some pretty dumb mistakes.  Some of the things that I was saying to my husband in an attempt to communicate or “help him understand my needs” were just not simply being seen as such. I was quite shocked to see that some of the things I was saying or doing were exactly the wrong thing to do.

There hasn’t been a day that has gone by since reading the first chapter that I haven’t considered the logic that this book focuses on.

So…. on this Wifey Lola post, I simply leave you with the recommendation to check this book out from your local library or hit up Amazon for a cheap copy.  Just some unsolicited advice – take it or leave it.

I must be a nut, because my sister recently sent me this comic.  The subject said, “Reminded me of you.”  I should have been offended, but it’s so spot on that it’s sad.

diary

Related posts:

About Lola

Leave a Reply