Like most kids, I grew up watching Disney movies. Like most parents, I still watch Disney movies with my kids. I’ve got to hand it to Disney…they’ve definitely perfected the art of story telling, and the characters just keep getting better and better. I won’t lie, I still enjoy them…even if they sometimes send subconscious bad messages.
A current favourite of mine (and Archer’s) is Frozen. We just can’t get enough of it. Aside from being a very good, adventurous, humorous movie, it’s got some powerful messages behind it, messages that I approve of (and that I don’t think will have kids needing therapy down the road).
One of the messages that hit me like a ton of bricks, right in the speak-box, is this one:
We’re not saying you can change him, ‘cuz people don’t really change
We’re only saying that love’s a force that’s powerful and strange
People make bad choices if they’re mad, or scared, or stressed
Throw a little love their way (throw a little love their way) and you’ll bring out their best
True love brings out their best!
I have extremely high expectations. I always have. I get set in my ways about how certain things should be, and when they aren’t the way I think they should be, I project my displeasure. I nag. I complain. I cannot chill the hell out about things that stress me out, and the stress and anxiety…my projected displeasure about it…is affecting our marriage.
I have been called intense, dramatic, and crazy before. I am sensitive, intense, and I suppose that means I’m a little dramatic and crazy too. I’ve always “felt” big, even before being diagnosed with depression and anxiety.
When I read this blog post about wives and respect a few days ago, I felt like the author was talking directly to me. In the not so distant past, I have been guilty of thinking that my husband had to earn my respect, I have been so terrible with nagging and belittling him when he did something that displeased me. I was doing it without any awareness at all. When I married Matt, I promised to love and respect him. And although my love has never wavered (even if I’ve withheld expressing it), my respect has.
After having a pointless argument with Matt this morning, we both needed space from one another, so I went to visit my dad. He took me out for breakfast, and when I filled him in on why I was upset, he gave me some sage advice.
“Everybody has worries. It wouldn’t matter if you were rich and healthy, you’d still have worries. You can’t change the worries, or stop them. It’s how you deal with them that matters. If you let all the things that worry you ruin your happiness with what you do have, then you won’t get ahead. You guys can’t lose sight of your dreams, or let the little things pile up and stand in your way.”
I’m not the best wife. I’ve improved in a lot of ways in the past few years, but I still have a long way to go. I’m not as patient or supportive or respectful as I should, as I need to be. I actually hold a lot of resentment in my heart, but it only arises when I’m pissed off about something else. Resentment that is foolish and out of place, resentment like “he didn’t do this the way I wanted or the way it should have been done and that makes me angry several days later.” The harsh reality is, I don’t really have any right to be resentful. I haven’t been holding up my end of the bargain by simply giving him my respect. I haven’t been uplifting, encouraging or supportive.
I’m actively working on changing that, and while I’ve gotten a lot better than a few months ago, I still have a long way to go. I still have days where I nag, where I say hurtful things to be spiteful because I’m stressed out and anxious. It’s not fair, and it’s not right. It’s not right that I don’t “throw a little love his way” when he makes a decision that I feel is “bad”. I just judge, and tell him how he should have done [it] this way.
I’ve learned a lot about myself over the past year, and my eyes have opened up a lot. Where before I’d just see myself as right and him as wrong, I now see that little grey area, that I’m not as innocent as I liked to think. There are three sides to every story. His side, her side, and the truth. Human emotions are complicated, messy and strange, and although I am [nearly] 25 years old, I’m still learning who I am. I can tell you who I don’t want to be…and that’s a wife who’s husband feels disrespected and emasculated. My vow is to not be that person, not ever again.
It’s funny that it took a random blog post by someone else, a Disney movie, and my dad to get me to really see what I’ve been doing wrong, but I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn and grow into the person I want to be.
People can’t really change, but our behaviours can. I look toward my new found friend, Byron, for inspiration in doing just that. I’m changing my behaviour so I am a kinder, more patient, respectful and loving person.