Bound & Free: the marriage thing part 2

 

“What IS it that you want Angie?”

(My brain sometimes freezes when it feels confronted – hazy, foggy, blank. Words are hard to come by.)

“I don’t know if I know Scott. I just know I don’t want to feel this. It feels heavy…

I just want to feel lighter. I want us to be light, and fun, and playful, and laughing. I want to feel free. With you.”

Freedom.

For me, that feels like riding a horse that knows what I want and takes me there fast. The sound of hooves, clicking and clacking on worn dirt and grass. Wearing jeans and a t-shirt, on top of a small mountain, wind blowing my hair back, sun shining. Overlooking a beautiful, sacred, heart-shaped lake with others who appreciate this journey as much as I do. (True story -  happened in Costa Rica with a group from Choose Again.)

There have been times in my relationship where I’ve felt the exact opposite of this. Constrained. Conflicted. Even trapped.

What gives me freedom and power is realizing those feelings have nothing to do with Scott and everything to do with me.

I have the power to course-correct my thinking. 

He isn’t trapping me. He isn’t constraining me. He isn’t bringing me down or holding me back. The marriage isn’t wrapping me up like a mummy.

I am. My thoughts are. My beliefs about myself are what hold me down and hold me back.

That’s the trap.

It has nothing to do with him. Blaming him is just about as effective as blaming…well…anyone or anything.

I can’t blame him for every little tiny petty thing (or really large thing) that happens that I don’t agree with, or he didn’t do, or he did, or makes me feel inferior. He can’t do any of that TO me. He can rip screaming and yelling through the house like a tornado (which he never does, just trying to make a point)…

I have a choice how to respond.

How to feel. I can get scared or angry and bite back with equal venom. Or cower in fear, allowing myself to feel disrespected and invisible. Or I can see it for what it is. And come from a place of love and power -- but I have to be aware and awake to do this.

“Wow. He looks really upset. I wonder how I can support him. Because whatever HE is feeling HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME. Maybe if I try to HELP him instead of destroy him, we can actually learn something and heal the beliefs that are playing out right now."

For him...he has worked on letting go of expectations of me. How he thinks I should be, act, do. Liberating.

We’ve learned to drop expectations. And it’s always a work in progress because we’re human and we make mistakes and slip back into old patterns. We have to have the awareness of what’s happening in the moment, and make the necessary adjustments.

Our relationship runs best by making agreements. Our agreements are binding, in a constructive, move-the-ball-forward way. Both parties agreeing to the commitment set forth in the agreement. Operating based on expectation always leads to disappointment. Because NO ONE can live up to MY WORLDVIEW of expectation I have in MY MIND.

By making agreements, and following through on those agreements, you gain confidence and freedom in the relationship (and everywhere). It builds trust. It creates an adult relationship instead of acting like spoiled children. Makes things lighter.

We’re not bound and tied and dependent on one another. We make agreements. If you see that you can’t keep your agreement, or don’t keep it, you clean it up immediately and completely. No drama. It takes the emotion out of the situation and allows for clear communication.

As an example, Scott asked me to make an agreement. He asked me to write another post by Friday at 5:00 pm. I agreed. So it’s Friday morning. I haven’t started.

Him, just trying to keep me on track:

“What’s in the way of you keeping our agreement for you to write today?”

Me, getting slightly irritated with a hairpin quick-release trigger for frustration:

“Right now. You. Coaching me all the time. And I have to pick up Will at 10:30 after his exam. Take him to get a hair cut at 1:00. Pick up Ellie from school. Figure out and make a salad for dinner tonight at our friends’ house, get ready and be there at 6:00.”

He could see what I was trying to do. I’m just so “b   u   s   y.” Maaaayyybe trying to slide out of this agreement.

Him: “What you need to say is NOTHING is in the way of me keeping my agreement. Get it done.”

Damn.  Busted.  Nowhere for me to hide.

 And when I don’t have to hide… 

I    am    free.

{FYI...this post was finished by 10:00 am on Friday. Had we not had that agreement...who knows when I would have gotten around to it. Cause, you know, life could have "gotten in the way." If I had a nickel...}