How grown up you are shows when you are alone.

June 28, 2011

in Be a grownup, Series

Woman looking through a hole © Sergey Nepsha | Dreamstime.comYou’ve no doubt seen various quotes that say who you really are is who you are when no one is looking, or how moral you are is what you do when no one sees you. Along the same line, how grown up you are is most clearly demonstrated when no one else is around.

In marriage, this means (among other things) when your bride is not watching you do what you would do if she was watching. It means doing little acts of service when she won’t see you do it, and may not know you did it. It means not staring at the half naked women you pass on the the street when you are alone. It means talking kindly about your bride when she is not there to hear, and not saying nasty things about her eve when you are sure  it won’t get back to you.

If who you are and how you act when she is around is different than when she is not around, then the “you” she sees is really not you, but a part you play to try to manipulate her.

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8 comments
Just A Thought
Just A Thought

I'm a Homeschool mom of 7, and one of the topics that my SuperHero is explicitly uninterested in is curriculum. There's a "conflict of interests"! He is actually pretty uninterested in the whole thing, so I don't bother him with it at all. We've only been married 9 years, so I won't have many words of wisdom for a couple of 17 years, I do know that we consciously attempt to do "new things" together, to create memories and because experiencing something new is a bonding experience. We have been trying for most of our marriage to "mesh" our interests, become interested in the other's interests and lay down our own that just can't be interesting to the other, as well as find new things that we want to pursue together. We also consciously don't find "other outlets"; such as: I don't go and talk curriculum etc with others since he's not interested. I've deliberately put that down as something that doesn't contribute to our relationship and has the potential to detract from it. I realize that I am speaking from a happy place where we both put these efforts in; I have no clue how this would look/work in a one-sided scenario.

Andrew
Andrew

I agree wholeheartedly with concept of "enduring gracefully" the other person's interests which we don't find as interesting. Finding commonalities and shared interests is also important long term (especially when you hear your partner lamenting: "we have nothing in common"). People change over time and after 17 years of marriage you can find yourself valuing less some of the things that brought two very different people together in the first place. As a work-from-home software guy (with4 kids) I have relatively little outside contact with friends that share interests. Not that I expect my wife to fulfil that role entirely either. The struggle I am having is finding the balance - especially with topics she is explicitly uninterested in or are sore points.

Just A Thought
Just A Thought

Re-commenting because I forgot to click "notify of followups via email"

Just A Thought
Just A Thought

I feel that before I answer any more, I need to confess that I am a woman. I shared what I did out of personal experience through our relationship growth. If you are still interested in my opinion, for the topics that may be boring to one and enthralling to the other, that is where we get to practice love. The bored one tries to at least learn about the topic enough to participate in the conversation to a degree that is satisfying to the enthralled one, thus bonding together over mutuality (for example, my husband is an electrician, I try hard to learn all I can about "home runs", "three-ways", what is done in a "rough-in" versus a "trim-out"... And I am a geek and math nerd. My husband at least smilingly tolerates my raves about numbers and software, and remembers enough of what I say to engage with me and ask how a program is working). The enthralled one remembers that it *is* boring and caps it off after a bit and truly puts it aside to genuinely ask about the other's interest :0) "Grown ups" go first and set the example :0)

Just a thought
Just a thought

@Andrew- may I suggest that the situation you described can go in 2 very different directions, based on how you deal with those trigger topics? if you do not discuss them at all, she may learn to trust that she can approach them in increments that she is able to deal with, with the one person whom she can eventually open her entire being to, without fear that you will keep going past her capability because you have discussed it already with others. She could also feel very respected and tenderly treasured by you limiting yourself and not crossing her boundaries even though you are strong enough to do so (kind of like a gorilla holding a kitten). If you do discuss it with others, she may feel like you are two people, one around her and one away fom her, and you discuss this topic that is so intense for her and she doesn't even get to know what you say about it because you don't wait for her, which could increase her fear of approaching it with you when she does become ready to grow there. She could also feel like there is a section of your life that she does not or cannot partake in, and that can definitely begin to feel like betrayal, or at least that she isn't welcome to your *whole* life. I wonder if this could be an opportunity to apply the principle of not eating meat if it offends your brother? (not discussing it at all if it offends your wife?)

Orin
Orin

A very excellent point the writer makes! I escpecially appreciate the last paragraph. It definately leads to some self-assessment.

Andrew
Andrew

Yes - mostly. Although in some situations parts of the real me need to be toned down or hidden because of the triggers they create for my bride. It may be as simple as a discussion topic that I can have with friends that I can't have with her... yet (sad as that is).

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