09/10/2020 – Today’s Question of the Day
Depends on what the stressful event is because there are exceptions, but his nature is to draw towards me, my nature is to pull back and away. His nature is to draw strength from me, my nature is to preserve my own strength.
I do try to be intentional to let him know what’s going on and why I need my space, so that he doesn’t take it personal and make him insecure, which makes him clingier. But I am not always successful and on top of that as quick as I should be.
My typical response is to look to DW for support. Connection with her (conversation, hugs, prayer, sex, etc) help me stay centered and navigate through the storm.
OTOH, she tends to pull back when stressed. Intend to offer help and seek to help with her burden, but she doesn’t always want my help, and often is short with me (and everyone else) when stressed. Knowing this now helps me accept it and not take it too personally.
It might depend on what the issue is but my gut is that my wife would tend to press in and many times I have to make a conscious decision to press in because of my personality, being male, and for being alone so many years before and certainly after my divorce. The more I press in, the more emotional connection we have, the stronger our marriage is and then, the sex is even better.
I posted a bit of my marriage and family history a week or so ago (the 7, 14, 25 year milestone question) so I won’t repeat it here.
When my trust of DW was compromised she pulled away and stayed there for years…. and years. I was resentful and begrudgingly forgiving (because she never asked me to) which didn’t help.
Our marriage started healing when we began facing the same realities honestly, both with ourselves and with each other.
I praise God that we have been “together” emotionally for the last 10-12 years which I consider to be the best ever. And I believe that even better days are ahead of us.
Both of us intentionally (and naturally) turn toward each other and also to the Lord. We have faced enough things in 3 decades of marriage that we know it is much better to go it together than suffer alone.
Death in the family, change of career, health issues, disappointments, need to move, etc. come to mind.
Here’s a funny (now) but stressful event that just recently happened that showed me that DW and I do indeed turn towards each other and work together as a team:
After picking our 4 year old son up from Pre-K yesterday, in the back seat of the car, I suddenly hear him frantically saying, “I can’t get it out! It’s stuck! Where did it go!?”
We had just arrived home and I ask him what he was looking for. When I turn around, I see him with his finger half way up his nose and I tell him to stop putting his finger in his nose.
He looks at me frantically and repeats, “But it’s stuck! I need to get it out! The rock is stuck!” I ask him what he was talking about and he tells me that there’s a rock in his nose!
At first, I stare at him in disbelief (after all, he has certainly turned into an expert fiction storyteller lately), but I could tell that he was getting pretty upset. After shining a flashlight up the one nostril, I see a rock about 1/4″ in diameter stuck in there pretty deep. Of course, when I ask him how it got in there, he doesn’t know…
After I get him to calm down, we go inside, wash our hands, and I take a closer look. I couldn’t find a way to reach in there with tweezers and grab the rock without pushing it in deeper.
I call DW (who is on her way home form work) to let her know the situation and she gives the pediatrician a call for advice. While she’s talking with the nurse, I manage to teach son how to block one nostril and blowing real hard out through his nose. It took a few tries to get him to remember to keep his mouth closed (LOL), but after getting it coordinated just right, the rock shoots straight out of his nose.
3 years ago, DW and I would have gone into panic mode and turned away from/against each other and chewed each other’s heads off blaming each other for the situation. Last night proved that we have made strides and are able to stay calmer and instead of attacking each other, we attack the problem at hand together instead!
The question is about “going through a stressful event together”, and I am grateful to say that, the more stressful and difficult the situation, the more we tend to draw closer together and are instinctively supportive of each other. It’s the smaller stuff, where one of us finds it stressful but the other doesn’t as much, where conflict might come out because we don’t share the same sense of urgency or concern.
In times past, we would pull away from each and did too much fighting and attacking among ourselves, instead of working through it together. Nowadays, I work on pressing closer to DH. He still tends to pull away emotionally from me, while leaning heavily on me, if that makes sense. He has said before he sure is glad he has someone strong to lean on. I told him I wished I had the same and he agreed, so he has been putting forth effort to be there for me, as well.
I just know that if we could have been on the same page through some of our tough times, it would have gone better.
at the start of my 8 years of unemployment, she simply acted indifferent to me, voiced her concern but her actions were one of busy-ness and tending to kids or conversation with friends. I was left to fend for myself. Aside from driving kids to school and going to gym, I was mostly alone.