I was telling my co-workers about how Mike came to help me finish the dishes the other night because he didn’t want my great day to end in grumpiness.
“Wow,” they said in response. That’s good. Almost too good.
And while Mike is pretty amazing in almost every way and we’ve been going strong for 9 years, this relationship, like all relationships, takes work. Every day, it takes work.
We’re still learning what we need to be for each other and as we each continue to grow and change our needs evolve as well.
We are very different people in a lot ways–raised to express emotions differently and react to situations in ways that sometimes seem to be exact opposites of each other, and our overall demeanors, the way we process information, and the way we see the future are sometimes worlds apart.
And that poses a challenge.
The other night Mike was reacting to a situation that wasn’t going the way he wanted it to go. My initial reaction was to encourage him to get his frustration out. To fuel the fire, to get him to yell and release the stress. Which he did a little bit. He verbalized his frustrations and I continued to try to draw more feelings out of him.
But he wanted to just move on and turned our TV show back on.
And then it hit me: instead of trying to flame his anger, he needed me to say “you know, it’s fine the way it is. You don’t need to feel bad about this.”
And as I said something along those lines, I could tell that was in fact exactly what he needed from me.
We don’t always get it right the first time. We’re still learning how to respond to each other and to read each other in different situations.
I don’t imagine that this will ever change. That our relationship will be completely effortless. As we go through life together, we’ll always be working to be attentive to each others needs, which may change over time.
We’re ok with that.