Sunday, January 24, 2010

Time's Orphan

I was just watching an episode of Start Trek: Deep Space Nine with Jacob and it made me blubber a little.

We find ourselves fighting about weird things:

Rebecca: So I was really excited about the way my boss corrected me the other day because that's a good sign for the future.
Jacob: Really? What happened?
Rebecca Well, we were on a conference call and I was getting frustrated with the people on the other end. It showed on my face so he signaled me to back off and then . . .
Jacob: Wait, can you hold on? I've got something in my eye.
Rebecca: waiting quietly
Jacob: OK, it's out. Can you rewind because I didn't hear much?
Rebecca: You alright? Well, we were on a conference call and I was getting frustrated with the people on the other end. It showed on my face so he signaled . . .
Jacob: Wait, who were you talking to?
Rebecca: suddenly annoyed It doesn't matter who we were talking to! The story is about my relationship with my boss!
Jacob: Well, I was just asking because I thought I missed it when I was digging in my eye!
Rebecca: You didn't miss anything! You asked me to rewind and so I rewound! Why would you think I didn't do what you asked?

We also find ourselves talking a lot about big relationship sustainability things like investments and sex and careers. These conversations are really hard. Sometimes we fight. Sometimes I pout even though a little voice inside me exhorts me to stop pouting. Sometimes we walk away angry and come back calmer. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes we feel bad.

We are taking solace in something my friend who has been married twenty years told me after I wrote this: "I think the first year of marriage was the hardest." I'm not sure why that is so comforting but it is for us.

We laugh a lot and cuddle a lot and pinch each other's butts a lot and when I read this article on bonding to him this morning, we agreed that we were already doing a lot of the actions on the list. So, sometimes it is mystifying when we stumble into these other, harder conversations. That's when my friend's words comfort us.

On DS9 today, Myles and Keiko thought they lost their daughter forever in the space-time continuum (we're dorks). Jacob and I both watched with wet eyes and afterwards, we commented that it makes us think about how awful life can be sometimes. There are going to be terrible things that we have to live through. It's goofy and corny but it felt good to say to each other that we'll face the ravages of the space-time continuum together.

So this first year of marriage where the turmoil is generated internally is just something we have to do so that when the turmoil comes at us from outside sources, we'll be tighter to each other so that we won't get torn apart. If most other couples have this same experience, then it's just something we have to do, too. I think we can be OK with that.


Helen said...

I think the first year of marriage generally is quite a challenging one.

I'd highly recommend investing about $10 in this book:

Love Is Never Enough: How Couples Can Overcome Misunderstandings, Resolve Conflicts, and Solve Relationship problems through cognitive therapy

There isn't anything weird about cognitive therapy. This is a wonderful book about communication, explaining why it gets messed up, and from there suggesting ways to improve it. The author shows (with examples) how communication problems arise because we react to what we think the other person means rather than what they are actually saying. And when that wasn't what they meant, they get hurt and confused by our reaction and react back, etc etc.

Alternatively you could say that you and Jacob have buttons that you're each pushing without realizing (because the relationship is still relatively new).

Anyway I read the book and so did my husband when we were having difficulty communicating and we both found it helpful.

I loved that for me it was just right - it wasn't a sappy Christian marriage book describing wives that weren't me. Also it didn't talk down to me so I didn't feel patronized, yet it was easy to follow. And it was interesting because it was relevant and the author wrote it well.

Jo said...

Um, just yes. :)