Today has been a shitty day. Nothing awful has happened at all. I have felt grumpy all day for no particularly pressing reason. It is just one of those days that goes by quickly where nothing works out like it should. Just little disappointments one after the other. This is our day off (yes – we are lucky – 3 day weekend – we chose this lifestyle for ourselves) and we quite often walk to town and have a coffee. Habits can wear thin but this is a habit we have both enjoyed for a long time. Living in a small funky alternate town like Bellingen is constantly lovely and there are always people to chat to. Today Michael decided to dig a drain in the backyard. Good on him. Awful job and one that had to be done. He deserves acknowledgement for his hard work. But we hadn’t discussed it and so our morning plans were simply shelved. He did a good thing – it was just the timing of it. Now I won’t go into a detaild recount of the day but suffice to say that it just kept on missing the mark, for both of us actually– if only in small ways.
Have you ever noticed that when you feel grumpy that that is the time you can bring up relationship frustrations? I have just finished telling Michael that I do too much of the talking in our relationship and I would like him to contribute more. Of course I explained this with more detail and in a tone of frustration. I felt quite a strong conviction that this problem needed to be talked about now. Can you guess his reply? He said “I don’t really want to talk about this now because you are obviously in a grumpy mood”. I said to him that although that is true, that that is when frustrations can come to the surface because neither of us wants to disturb the peace at other times. Now the problem is that this is not true for our relationship. We have worked hard at being able to bring up problems at any time but not not when one of us is simply in a bad mood. Because of my dark mood I have forgotten that and have fallen into a bad old habit.
So I think I am going to have to begrudgingly agree that he is right. What I said may still have validity to it. The trouble is that I brought it up with very little tact and no compassion and gentleness – and it is so important to have that when you are wanting to communicate a change you would like in the relationship that you do it gently and tenderly. It is so much better to bring up these changes at other times that when you don’t feel good. Of course it goes without saying that both Michael and I believe it is healthy for each partner to ask for change. If it can be done with kindness then it really helps. It doesn’t make it all easy and we can still feel tense but it is simply less likely to lead to fighting.
So – I started to write this entry as a way to debrief about my frustrations with Michael and I have ended realising that my behaviour is not loving or caring and now I feel remorse and a bit of shame.