3 days ago
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
I realized something this morning which I will call "The Secret to a Good Marriage." Anybody who's married knows you can't boil a marriage down to one point but this point, I think, might go a long way... If there's something you feel you are not getting from your partner, it's a good bet he/she feels the same way. That's not infallible of course--men and women do have different needs sometimes--but when it comes to getting time, support, encouragement, space, we really both have these needs. If I am not giving those things to him, how will he know to give those things to me?
I've been sad lately because I want more encouragement. It seems like JT can barely drum up enough interest to grunt, "Cool," when I tell him I scored a $200 freelance writing job (for a library science publication) and that I've made a promise to myself to try to write one short story a week for the next year. The other day, I set up a Tumblr website for it too--please feel free to visit and show me some love: 52storiesin52weeks.tumblr.com. I don't have much up on it yet but I'll post my first story middle of next week. Anyway, I was proud of myself for setting writing goals and so far meeting them, and I wanted some encouragement. Instead he kept me up all night with his worries about money, and said he wants me to get a second part-time job.
So I spent all day yesterday applying to other part-time jobs that might allow me to continue to work at my present job, as well as applying to full-time jobs. I was sad I didn't get any writing done. I wanted him to give me some time to write when he got home. But he says I am being selfish. From one point of view, he is probably right. I'm asking for support or sympathy when he's overdue for a medal. Still, calling my writing selfish is a low blow. That one comment will give me enough fodder for years of writer's block.
We argued about this for fifteen minutes, and while I was trying and failing to convey what it is I want from him, I left the baby in her room. I come back and she got into a container of petroleum jelly. It says to contact poison control. JT was LIVID. He said I was a stupid mother. Yeah, I probably deserved that too. JY was fine, Poison Control says there's no danger. She went to sleep and I spent the night on the couch.
It still hurts, but I've been thinking: maybe there's something I should learn from all this... It wasn't until a few minutes ago that I realized, if I don't want him to be so insensitive about my feelings and goals, I should take his feelings and goals into greater consideration.
Let's face it: every day that I congratulate myself for getting up at 6 am and writing for two hours, is a day that JT had to get up at 4:30 to drive 50 miles to his job in the jail. He got an offer for that full time jailer job, but it didn't give him much cause for elation because it won't pay anywhere near what we were hoping for. He's sad about that, and worried about money. He's still working in a hospital one day a week and is just exhausted.
I have to do something about our financial situation and I have to help him so that he is not working so hard. I am not going to get the "attagirl" or emotional support I am craving if I do not learn how to give that support to him. You have to give in order to receive. While I was complaining about writing, he brought up a good point, that he hasn't had time to practice his guitar in ages. I need to make this a priority. I need to get out his guitar and carve out some time where he will get to sit and play and I will take care of JY--I need to encourage him to do it because he is a good musician who needs more encouragement.
Last night I was feeling sorry for myself that I am a blocked writer, and that my husband contributes to my block by telling me I am selfish. But what have I done to help him unblock? What have I done to make his life easier? I am going to do something about this. I thought this was the year I would work on myself and my writing, since school is finally over and I have my master's. But perhaps instead I should take this year to work on my marriage, make my husband happy because he deserves that.