Growing up I was never the go with the flow type. I always asked questions. I wanted to know where we were going, why we were going, how long it was going to take to get there, and who would be there and so forth. The fact that my oldest is the same way shouldn’t surprise me, given I was doing the exact same thing 20 years ago. And here I am today, still asking a million questions, only this time, instead of asking my parents I ask my husband.
I think part of why I am this way is because I desperately want to be in control. After experiencing a period of time in my life when things were chaotic and out of control, I desperately wanted a life where things were predictable. If I knew what to expect, I could prepare to brace myself. Even the things that are good, such as surprises, kill me because I hate the unknown. But if life could be summed up in one word that word wouldn’t be predictable. It is far from that. No matter how hard you try to prepare or maintain control, life has a way of showing you, that in the midst of all your preparedness, life is happening and within a moment something can happen that can cause your plans to change. Something can come up and suddenly you are forced to change the direction you were headed. Sometimes you have to go with the flow.
I am learning that this applies to various aspects of my life, one of them being when it comes to my marriage. My most recent lesson was this week as my husband advised me that he wanted me to go with him to an event with his coworkers and he had already made arrangements with his mother to watch the children. Despite my belief that he has been blessed with an amazing group of coworkers my mind flooded with thoughts ranging from how can I leave my babies, I am not going to have time to clean up, your mom is watching the girls and I don’t want her to come over and the house is a mess, have you seen my hair, I have nothing to wear…the things I was stressing out about were all, for the most part, petty but tugging away at me and preventing me from simply saying “ok babe.” Words that I imagine would have been music to my husband’s ears.
It wasn’t until after I had stressed myself out trying to get ready and straighten up and pump breast milk that I remembered the conversation I had with my mom just hours before. I told her how excited my husband had seemed and how I felt like he was up to something. I had a feeling he was taking me on a date. He got up early and put the breast pump together for me before he left for work and he checked in with me to see how things were going. We are going to have a good night he said as he expressed his excitement over us going out. I of course went into some dialogue about the pile of laundry and dishes and work that had not been done and how the dog kept waking up the baby. He, however, remained happy and told me not to worry. It would be fine. The girls would be fine. I would be fine.
I thought about how each time he said he was excited I countered back with something I had to do, or a suggestion that we should stay home. I thought about how sometimes we complain when we feel like our spouses aren’t making enough effort. And when they do, instead of showing excitement or appreciation, we drag our feet or spend all our time sweating the small stuff. I wonder what that did to his spirit when each time he said he was excited I grew quiet or told him how uncomfortable I have been in my own skin lately and that I would rather not go.
As we walked out the door headed to the car I decided it was time to just roll (better late than never right?). No more questions, no more stressing out about leaving my babies, no more obsessing over my clothes or hair. He was excited and that mattered.
I turned out to be right. He surprised me by taking me to a restaurant I had wanted to go to for the longest time. Earlier I had reflected on a time when he had tried to surprise me and I ruined it for him by being so negative. I ruined it because I couldn’t just roll. But on this night, we had a wonderful time and my husband seemed quite proud of his ability to plan a “surprise date” for us given we have only gone on a couple since our littlest arrived in August. I have such a hard time leaving my children, especially the baby, but I know it is important for my husband and I to have time together, just us.
Had I kept complaining or pushed the fact that I didn’t feel like going out I would have missed out on an opportunity for my husband to bless me. Because that is what he did. As much as I want to know everything, sometimes the details don’t matter all that much. Sometimes what is most important is simply the fact that you are with the person you love. Where we were going and what we were doing wasn’t as important as the fact that my husband wanted to have an evening with his wife by his side. An evening where my focus was on him and not on my to-do list, my outfit or our precious children, a night where my numerous questions were replaced with oks and conversation.
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I know I will continue to be challenged with my desire to be “in the know;” however, going forward I will be making more of an effort to say yes and ok. I’m also going to make more of an effort to not focus so much on those minute things that, at the end of the day, are of little to no importance. Because sometimes, you just gotta roll.
BMWK — Do you ever struggle with asking lots of questions or being negative rather than simply rolling? How do you keep from letting the little things that are on your mind get in the way of you enjoying time with your spouse?