May 28, 2007

The View from His Shoes.

Chris has been down and out the last couple of days, and he can't quite place his finger on the why. As a woman, I often have these down times where I have no idea what's going on inside my head and heart, but I just know that I'm sad and no amount of "what's wrongs?" are going to pull the answer out of me. I've never really seen Chris this way before, though. Feeling blue and full of shrugs.

It is so hard as a wife to not let your moods and emotions get tangled up in things that aren't about you in the first place. Like, the first couple of days after the funk set in were horrible because I immediatley took his bummed-outedness as a sign that he didn't want to be around me and that he thought I was a complete dolt and a subpar mommy. This was (obviously) ridiculous and not the case at all, but hey! I went there anyways! My head took the mopes and ran away with them into the extreme left field. (OK... let's say I was standing in the ballpark parking lot by the time I stopped running.)

Consequentially, I have been moping around these parts as well- sustaining the silence and letting my mind wander with thoughts of insecurity and anger.

It only took me three days or so to finally ask him what was wrong, and once I realized his sorrow wasn't a personal attack on me, then I was finally able to GET IT. Maybe he needs some cheering up... some random acts of kindness... some leading questions from the heart. Maybe, just maybe, my immediate defensive strategies aren't helping but are in fact (gasp!) making things worse.

I remember one of our premarital books asking a question along the lines of "Do you let your fiancee's moods dictate your own?"

I searched inward and quietly pondered for a moment and then wrote something to the effect of "Do monkeys fling poo?"

(loosley translated into A RESOUNDING YES.)

That got me thinking... Is it really even possible to keep MY moods entirely seperate from his?

This makes sense in some aspects- like, if he's just being a grumpy face for a silly reason, (usually brought on by hunger in our case), I shouldn't let it ruin my whole day.

But what about when the person you're living with is in a real funk and they can't figure out why? Am I supposed to remain cheerful while he's sad? Something about that just seems harsh, and maybe.. a little Stepford Wife-ish. (*shudder* and then *gag* from memories of HOW TERRIBLE THAT MOVIE WAS.)

I think this question is (like most every question in life) all about finding the balance. Empathy is a lot different than personally taking on someone's troubles as your own.

It means you really feel for them and you offer a shoulder to lean on and you put yourself in their shoes.

It doesn't mean, however, that you then go and put on their whole entire outfit as well.

So, here I am... a wife trying to stand in her husband's shoes without toppling over herself.

And from this precarious position, I'm realizing that this man unflinchingly carries a lot of responsibility on his shoulders.

His shoes be big.


Scott and Lorie said...

I've been there, catching the grumpies and then turning them back on him. Sometimes being the cheerful one does help though, sometimes silence works. Prayer is the key. For his heart, for your words...pray.

sufferingsummer said...

wow, I could have written this myself (although way less eloquently!)
Good to know I'm not alone and to always remember to just ask what's up instead of making assumptions that for me are usually irrational at best.
you are an encouragement.