This weekend, Andrea (my soon-to-be-ex-wife) made a nice gesture to me. One that was, in fact, very hurtful. I don’t think she intended it to be hurtful. (In spite of the fact that experience has taught me to assume the worst where she’s concerned rather than the best.) I don’t think she understands me enough to realize that it was hurtful.
So, no big deal. I’ve shrugged it off. I’d like to explain to her that it was hurtful and why. That’s what I would want if the roles were reversed. I know now that there’s no point in that.
If the roles were reversed, my experience tells me that she wouldn’t be able to see beyond the hurt, and she would silently resent me for it without my ever knowing.
I also know that, if she were reading this, she would at this point assume that I’m just trying to insult her. Which is not the point at all. The point is that our different natures and expectations led to misunderstandings.
The successful couples aren’t the ones that have no misunderstandings. Every couple is going to have these kind of misunderstandings. The successful couples are the ones that don’t let this kind of little stuff win. They have faith, don’t give up, eventually learn to understand one another better, and come out the other side stronger.
To me, that has always been the whole point of the vows.
At least, that’s what I believe. Make sure that you and your spouse understand that you’re going to run into stuff like this. Promise each other that you won’t let it win. Promise each other that you won’t even think the word “divorce” until you know that you fully understand the issues and that they are worthy of that action. Misunderstandings aren’t worth tearing your kids’ family in two.
When you feel like things aren’t going well, don’t be quiet! You can’t defeat misunderstandings without communication. Don’t think that you can fix it yourself. You can’t fix a relationship without at least enlisting the aid of the other person. More than that, though, don’t hesitate to go to a counselor because they can help you see when problems are really just misunderstandings.