For my wife, sometimes the flow of life becomes a flood. She gets overwhelmed and shuts down. Her world becomes infinitesimally small. Moments like that, words may leave my mouth and travel in her direction, but I can be sure that none of them ever arrive. Might as well be talking to the TV.
Over time, though, I have become able to lead her gently from her self-imposed mental imprisonment out into the light.
Yesterday, for example, we were eating ice cream in the October sun. We had not been out for a week. Had I not suggested we leave the house, we would still have been sitting inside these four walls, munching on our afternoon curry, and retiring to our respective screens after the dishes were done.
But we would not have had the fresh air, would not have smelled the oak trees along the river path, or seen the horses out playing in the field.
Partnering means understanding each other’s patterning.
Hers is that she accommodates life to an extent that it becomes unbearable, and then still bears it. Whatever may be the case, it shall remain. And ruin be visited upon the one that doth interfere.
She clings to shitty situations like someone with Stockholm Syndrome. In that way, she is like my mother who eats her bread half-frozen with nothing on top and still claims she loves it. These are just dead spaces inside. Self-neglect as a direct result of the wrong kind of acceptance.
Some time ago I ordered groceries. I would get the delivery costs reimbursed if I ordered coffee cups with it. These cups contained an artisanal Indian coffee that was different from the kind we normally get.
No problem, I thought. I have had some experience with good Indian coffee in the past. Besides, it ticked all my wife’s boxes: 100% Arabica, with cocoa and roasted notes, and above all: not fruity.
What could possibly go wrong?
Until they arrived, that is. The house was too small. How dared I deviate from the standard Starbucks supply? Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
But she tried it anyway. Fully prepared to hate it, it turned out to be far better than her usual coffee. She could not believe it. Her head turned red from embarrassment. The moment had become teachable.
You see, I am an explorer who loves variety. I can show her the way when her world becomes too small. But it takes two to tango.
Her ability to self-reflect, to learn, her courage to look her own patterns in the eye. If none of these were present, nothing I would do would even matter, and our relationship would still be the same hellish place as it was a few years ago.
I am glad we stuck by each other. It’s been 14 years now. For us, love means also that we learn from one another.
It is not just that one is committed to teaching, it is that the other one is also committed to learning.
It works both ways.
One of my patterns is that I easily get discouraged when what I do does not immediately yield results. I need to work through my emotions before I can continue with another task. It’s quite debilitating, to be honest.
What my wife teaches me in these moments is this:
You need to do whatever you need to do in order to make it work, but you don’t need to do anything more than that.
If I have spent a week trying my best to get freelance jobs but none of them came through, she tells me:
“You have done what you needed to do for this. If no reaction comes, it is truly not meant to be, and there is a higher potential waiting for you.”
This is how we support each other.
What about you? Does this resonate with you? Tell me in the comments about how you and your partner are doing this. Are you supporting each other? Do you understand each other’s needs?
It takes time, you know, learning from each other, but it’s so good when you get it. Wish you well.