Justin and I had one of those weekends where we kept discussing different aspects of our marriage. It felt like every time we turned around, we were talking about something different. We don’t have these marathon discussions often. Usually, we let a fight build up, boil over for about twenty minutes, and go back to happy. Now, I don’t mean to imply that these talks were fights. They weren’t at all. We just worked our way through how our lives have changed in the past year, kind of redefining our roles.
A major part of all of these talks came down to what it always does. I need more help, and Justin doesn’t feel like I appreciate what he does around the house. It’s the classic marriage war. We’ve all had the discussion (or fight on some of our less-than-stellar days) a hundred times. You want your husband to help while you try to cook, clean, feed the child, wash the child, put the child to bed. He wants to sit on the couch in his underwear and watch Sports Center. And he wants you to fall to your knees in gratitude when he puts away his own laundry. Hypothetically speaking, of course.
I know that Justin hears me when we talk, and he really does want to help. He just, like any man, gets bogged down in life and can’t multi-task. We talked about how I would like to take time to just “be”, too. And how I could do it that much faster if he helped me. I wasn’t sure how well Justin had “heard” me this time or how much it stuck. However, I can say that I am confident he heard me, at least for a little while.
Justin got home before I did this afternoon, and I called him to help me with a little game of “Pick a Baby”. On Mondays, I bring Robbie’s best buddy home from day care with us, and it’s a feat to get them both into my house. There was no grumbling or, “Give me a minute”. He came right down. In his bare feet. Now that’s service! We got into the house, and Justin disappeared into the kitchen. He came back out with a bouquet of flowers from my favorite florist around the corner. Robbie and I go visit her a few times a week. It is a gorgeous arrangement – perfect for fall. And Justin knows that fresh flowers are my favorite thing. I don’t think he could have let me know that he heard me any better.
But he did. After giving me the flowers, Justin asked what he could do to help around the house. I said I thought we could get Robbie ready for bed after my run and then spend twenty minutes cleaning the house together. I came home from the run (2.5 miles in 28:05; that’s an 11:15 mile!) to find the boys sitting at the table with Robbie was eating dinner. We fixed dinner together and ate as a family. Then, we divided the chores and, at 8:15, were both ready to relax. It’s so nice to know that I’m ready for bed and have a few hours to savor.
Sometimes these marathon conversations aren’t fun to go through. There are tears (at least on my end) and often hurt feelings. But, they end the miscommunication that we so often fall into as we rush from place to place and chore to chore. And they give us the opportunity to appreciate the other person in the end.