Escaping From Mind Prison

You-become-a-prisoner-in-your-own-mind

Do you ever experience mind prison? Where you continuously think a horrible thought (or several horrible thoughts) that you couldn’t really say out loud so it just continues to ruminate in your mind? I’ve been experiencing that a lot lately.

And because you can’t say it out loud, it keeps going around and around in your mind until you feel crazy and feel like you have to scream it out loud!

Well, that was me last week. I was creating my husband to be a complete monster in my mind with no redeeming qualities. Even when I tried to think of something good, it led to being negative. I felt like crying constantly. I would even be with my family, and feel my eyes welling up because I had these horrible feelings inside.

So, I had supper with my mom and I mentioned how I hate being married to my husband and that I think I chose the wrong guy. She assured me that everyone feels that way, and in fact, “Did I not tell you that all growing up?”

Which yes, she did tell me all the time, which is probably why I was so terrified to get married. It also made me think, maybe my mom is doing it wrong and now I am doing it wrong. Maybe it wasn’t supposed to be this difficult. At any rate, she told me I couldn’t change it now so I have to get through it.

She asked me what is wrong with my husband and proceeded to yell, “EVERYTHING!” and she didn’t really believe me and asked for specifics. I began to tell her and she agreed with me! Not encouraging. She tried to make me feel better by saying, “Who is more difficult than your father?” and “It took 25 years, but now we are very happy”…like, okay great, let me just be in misery for 25 years. Finally after listing quite a few reasons I couldn’t stand my husband, she said, “Okay, now we need to focus on the positive. What’s something that you love about him? Or, what are good qualities?”

At the time, I barely listed one. Later, I felt better – about my life, my marriage, my husband, just by finally telling someone a few of the awful things that I was thinking and feeling.

I know a lot of people will tell you not to focus on the negative, but sometimes it’s freaking hard not to focus on the negative when you don’t know if you’re right or wrong or sane or insane. It helps to say it out loud to someone you trust will encourage you in the right direction, and start healing and seeing the positive.

Since that conversation, I’ve been able to be thankful for my husband. I ‘m thankful for our life. Yes, I will still think he is annoying and lazy at times, but there are so many good and sweet times that we have together, as well.

All in all, he’s a good guy. He’s sweet to me, he’s loyal to me, he works hard for me, and he is really handsome. Hey look, I can say a few nice things!

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Learning to Live Together

Ok – before I get into today’s post, let me give you an update on this loving/encouraging wife challenge. I’ll admit, the first few days I TOTALLY forgot that I was supposed to be loving. Seriously, it’s sad, but I fell back into being naggy, critical, short-fused….definitely not loving. It was hard – and is hard – being sweet and loving when my mind was focused on the negatives of my husband. Even though I was thinking how annoying my husband was being, I remembered OH YEAH – Gotta be an encouraging wife! In order to be sweet and loving, I had to focus on the good things. MIND BLOWN!!…I know it’s simple, but it has helped just altering my mindset. I’ll give more of an update a few days from now.


So on Sundays, I go to my grandparents house. I have done this my whole life, and I’m very close with my grandparents. Growing up, I remember my grandparents being SO sweet together, and I also remember them arguing as the “typical old married couple” does.

I think sometimes we think that married couples don’t fight. Rephrase: I think sometimes we think HAPPY married couple don’t fight.

Our society tends to show married couples as unhappy and always bickering. Something I’m beginning to understand – fighting, arguing, bickering is a part of even a happy marriage.

This most recent Sunday, I was at my grandparents house and I could tell they were getting a little agitated with each other on small things. When I was younger, this would happen and I would think it was funny because they would get annoyed about little things that each other did. Now that I am married, I recognize myself in this little bickering.

After a couple of mini-annoyances throughout the day, my grandpa finally said during one of them (this annoyance was over a slightly over-filled coffee cup :), “I think we need to take a class on how to live together.”

Haha! This is genius. I’m so glad I heard him say this to show that even happy marriages go through these struggles. Can you imagine? My grandparents have been married almost 60 years. SIXTY YEARS! And they are saying they need a class? If they need a class, I certainly need a year long retreat for my marriage.

I have always looked up to my grandparents, and still do. Their marriage underwent, in my opinion, the most stressful beginning years. They got pregnant in high school – grandma dropped out – they got married – grandpa went into the service – and they ended up having six children (5 unplanned, right in a row!).

That is a ROUGH start, if you ask me. That generation didn’t believe in divorce, they found ways to make it work, and be happy. And if you asked my grandparents, I know they would say that they are happy. They still laugh together, they still touch, they still flirt – they’re married, in love…and it’s okay to fight!

When my husband and I fight, sometimes we think, “UGH! How is this fighting always happening?! They are so annoying, I must have chosen the wrong person to marry!” I’m learning how to get those thoughts to go away. Although I think it’s normal, I think the “wrong person” thought can be avoided.

I want to avoid that thought. I want my marriage to thrive. I DON’T want to hate my marriage.

I want to be a loving, sweet, encouraging wife.

Real Sex Appeal

Yesterday I witnessed something magical. It was inspiring, but I’m not sure how inspiring if I’m not willing to do it. Let me explain…

I met a dating couple. There was something different about them, very different, then what I am accustomed to seeing. I met her, I was confused. I mean this in a factual way, not judging, but she was not drop dead gorgeous, sexy, or cute…or so I thought. The guy was a good looking guy’s guy, who was extremely nice and down to earth. I expected his girlfriend to be somewhat of a girly girl, maybe wearing a dress and smelling nice.

Instead, when I greeted her I was confused. She wore laid back clothing that a boy could have worn, with tennis shoes and a very short non-styled hair style (much like a man’s cut). My mind began questioning their relationship – what was it like? Why her?

Sure, that maybe sounds awful and judgmental. I’m being honest. It’s not every day I see this type of couple, and perhaps I need to keep my eyes open for more because I can see the magic now.  Back to the story…

I watched them interact and I instantly knew why he chose her. Heck, I was about to choose her after being with them! She (let’s call her Amy) truly loved and respected him (let’s call him John). It oozed from her, in the sweetest most desirable way. Amy wasn’t a needy girl. You could tell she had her own opinions, and John loved her for that, too.

The way she spoke to John was something all women could emulate and have their men bowing at their feet. Seriously. She was sweet, turning to him in the most subtle way: leaning on him, putting her arm around him, resting her hand on his knee, laying her head on his shoulder with a little kiss to his neck. It was not needy. I know you’re probably imagining that needy girl that constantly needs to be touched and paid attention to by her man. This was not the case here. She wasn’t saying, “Pay attention to me!!!!” with her actions. She was saying, “I support you, I’m here with you.”

In making decisions about finding a house, John held Amy’s opinion highly. He wouldn’t do anything, truly, without her consent. The best part was when she gave her opinion, she thought of his feelings almost more than her own. And again, John would ask, “tell me what you really think?” Then finally, he asked, “Would you live here?”

Her response, in the most sincere way, “I would live anywhere with you.”

She said it with zero hesitations, and without a cheesy connotation. She was genuine. You should have seen his smile.

I also noticed that she never said anything negative to John, or about John. If her feeling towards something was negative, she would say, “It’s very nice, I only  wonder if in the future…” And if John said or did something a little silly, instead of saying, “Obviously not!” she would look at him, smile, and say so genuinely, “You are so cute.”

Now, remember  how she wasn’t the cutest girl? By the end of the time I spent with them I began thinking she was gorgeous and had more sex appeal than Megan Fox. I’m sure this is exactly how John viewed her too! He was mesmerized by her. Her power over John was so great, and yet she used it to love him even more and never hurt him.

So, I thought I’d challenge myself to do the same for my husband. To love him and honor him, give him sweet gestures, give my opinion in only loving ways. Our relationship was about to be revolutionized!

Then I got home.He was being his annoying self again, and I thought why would I ever be so nice to him? Okay, that’s horrible, but those are my very real and very human thoughts.

Most of the time I think my husband is 100% a narcissist. It’s hard for me to respect him. He makes vulgar jokes only and often. It’s hard for me to be nice to him. He acts like an imbecile and makes me do all the housework and pay the bills. It’s hard for me to love him. He stares at other women. It’s hard for me to think of him more than an asshole.

Feel familiar? Am I the only one with these thoughts? Did I choose wrongly in my husband choice, or I am I turning him into the man I don’t want him to be?

I don’t know the answers to these questions. I’d love to know, so I’m going to explore this way of acting and appeasing my husband. Will his actions change? I pray they do, because I’m over feeling hurt and feeling like I live with the worst person ever for me. I may feel like a stereotypical 1950s housewife, but I have always looked up to them. I can still give my opinion, just not yell and scream it. Should be do-able…

So, let’s start with one week of this loving wife challenge and see what the outcome is after that time.

Loving Wife Challenge

–  Only encouraging interactions

  • Only  positive facial expressions
  • Only positive comments
  • Have supper ready, or a plan for supper (how my husband feels loved)
  • Gentle, loving gestures
  • Cuddle him when I can
  • Encourage him
  • Listen to him
  • Pray for him

Making Marriage Work

krista-ryan

If you read my last blog post, you know that I was kind of a B-word to my husband. That’s embarrassing to admit, but I was. It’s funny, because at the time, I seriously thought he was the jerk. In my mind, my husband was a huge jerk and lacked so much. Now I’m finding that he’s actually pretty great when my mind is looking for the good things he does.

I knew this was possibly a case of “mind over matter” sort of situation, so I googled. Yes, I am a googler. I google everything. It helps me, okay. Haha. I would google “I hate my husband” or “Hate my marriage as a newlywed” or “How to fix marriage” and on and on. I was searching for ANYTHING that would help, any insight, any stories. The kicker is, as negative as that all sounds, I was looking for something that would help – not something to justify my feelings. So, what did I find?

I found  A LOT of forums with women bashing their husbands and commiserating in their displeasing marriages. I would read them and think to myself, “Wow, I wouldn’t want to be married to any of these people! They probably have nice husbands.” Guess what? I was one of those women, and I did (do) have a nice husband.

Aside from the forums filled with complaints, I found one blog about a woman’s experience getting married, hating it, and then getting a divorce. Also not helpful for what I needed. I believed in marriage. I believed in the vows I took. I believed in making it work – I just didn’t really know how.

Finally, I did find a few Christian websites that encouraged making it work. I’m a Christian, and grew up in the faith, so I am familiar with their advice advocating prayer, putting Jesus first, and so on. I want to make it clear: I am not discouraging that, or saying it’s not valid. I agree that Jesus should be the center. I agree that prayer should be a foundation in a marriage. With that said, when you’re in a bad place in marriage, that can be so hard to do.  Here was a common scenario for me: I would be mad or rude to my husband. My husband would then be a little distant. I would then demand we should go to church, or pray, or read the Bible. He didn’t really want to do that with me, and I would continue to be mad and rude to him. Whoops! Yeah, that was real life.

If you’re like me, you need some concrete to-do steps to take for creating a better marriage. That’s why I started this blog. To help women who are struggling in marriage, and they still want to make it WORK! Women who don’t want to just “hang in there”, women who actually want to be happy with their men. I share all of this with you, so that you can enjoy your marriage and your man can enjoy YOU! That is what we all want, isn’t it? To make someone happy, and be happy?

You’ve probably heard this a zillion times (especially if you’re a millennial) – society today teaches us to get rid of things if they don’t work, and don’t make us happy. Old? Get a new one. Slow? Get a faster one. Ugly? Get a cuter one. Whatever it is, we’re told to trade in the lesser for the better. Well, I’m challenging you to not give into that mentality. Marriage is too important – to your family, to your friends, to our society, to our history as a people. It’s freaking important!!! it’s important that your marriage succeeds.

If you googled “How to make marriage better” then I hope this blog helps you! Don’t give up. Your marriage can and will improve if you believe it.

 

**Disclaimer: If you are in an abusive relationship of any kind – leave now! You do not need to try to make it better. Get out, be safe, and find a real man that does not feel like he needs to control you. **

He Said the “D” Word…

no-fault-divorce-georgia

This is important for anyone – so read carefully. Leave the “D” word OUT OF MARRIAGE!! You know what I mean… “divorce”. Commit to not saying it, but also, not thinking it. I was given the advice to never say it. However, that did not stop me from thinking it. I thought about it. Unfortunately, I thought about it way more than I would like to admit. As a newlywed, it makes you feel even worse to think about it! You’re supposed to be in wedded bliss, right?

When I would think of divorce, it made me feel numb to whatever chaos was going on in our marriage. It made me feel powerful, like I didn’t need him, so who cares what he thinks. I would fantasize (I know, messed up!) about divorcing him. Now, my husband is a smart guy. He could pick up on this, even if I never said anything about it. He could tell.

I can remember several times in our marriage where I was so mean, so unloving, that I made him cry and he would ask what we should do (I told you, I’m sharing the brutal reality in my marriage). When that happened, I would feel so powerful but then I would realize how mean I was being and apologize. When I think about it now, it almost makes me cry to think of how poorly I treated him many times. Meanwhile, he was respectful of me, loving me, and sad that I was not being loving to him.

Finally, a few months ago, we were on a little vacation with his parents. I was agitated, and he was annoying me. Again, I found myself fantasizing about people in my past and how he fell short somehow. Not helpful. We were sitting on a bench in this adorable little town on the water, and I decided to pick a fight. I told him I didn’t like him, and why I didn’t like him, and why I don’t like being with him, and on, and on.

That was it. I finally hurt him too many times, and said things I could not take back.

After that, he was quiet. He said nothing to me, and hardly anything to his parents for the rest of the trip. I knew it was bad, but I figured we would laugh it off and move on with our lives like we had before. Not this time. We drove home in silence. When we got home, I  went to hang out with my friend because I was upset and didn’t want to be in the house with him.

When I came back home that night, my husband was sitting in a chair and I sat across from him on the couch. I don’t remember what he said exactly, because I was so stunned, broken, and emotionally disrupted. Essentially, he talked to me so calmly, telling me he wanted to get a divorce. He said the “D” word. He told me that he thought about it all day, and it would be easy. He would just take his clothes from his closet, put them in his car, and move back to his parent’s home.

I didn’t believe it. Although, I knew he would never say this lightly. I couldn’t speak. I think a few times I said, “Let’s just calm down. You’re not going to do that.” He kept saying he was. He never threatened. He was calm, and matter of fact. He said he couldn’t live a life being abused and put down all the time. I didn’t blame him. That was a huge wake up call for me, but I didn’t know if I was too late or not.

He got into our bed, just like any other night, but this night felt so different. After the lights were out for about 5 minutes, I asked if we could talk. He said no, nothing I’m going to say will make a difference. I begged him to give me a chance to show I can change. I cried. I bawled. Genuinely. I love my husband, and I did not want to lose him. Every time I thought I was stronger and better without him, I was totally lying to myself.

Thankfully, he agreed to give me a chance. He told me he has always loved me and always will, but he can’t put up with my hurtful words anymore. I was done lying to myself that night. He’s an amazing man. He loves me so well. He deserves an incredible loving wife.

I haven’t been perfect since that night a few months ago, although I think my husband would say he is much happier. I am so much happier, as well. I have let go of even thinking about divorce because I know it’s toxic. Now, I fantasize about him and our marriage in the future, as well as the present. I am so grateful for him and what he does for me.

Two Years Later, I’m in Love!

Today is my two year wedding anniversary with my husband. Two years + one night ago, I was freaking out. I mean, really freaking out. I called my best friend and said, “I need to see you.” We met outside of a restaurant at 10pm, and as soon as I saw her the tears started to stream. I hate to say it, but I felt like my life was ending.

We grabbed a booth as my friend ordered for us, because I obviously couldn’t complete a sentence without the waterworks. I sit there, drinking my water with lemon and staring at the table. Tomorrow was the day. I would be married. I kept telling my friend, the only one I could truly be honest with, “I don’t even like him! I don’t even like him!”  At the time, that’s all I could think…I was in a bit of a panic. I begged her to stop me, “Don’t let me get married tomorrow!”

To this day, I don’t know how she stayed so calm. She told me he wasn’t so bad, he loves me, and I love him too…I was just panicking. However, even she had her doubts I’m sure! Who wouldn’t if your friend begged you to be their accomplice to a runaway bride situation?

Once I settled down (mostly) we went to sleep at my house, in my bed. A single girl, one more night. I remember feeling like I was going to the doctor the next day, (Am I the only one that feels horribly nervous and sick when I have to go to the doctor?) and I could hardly sleep. It’s not that being single was so appealing to me, although I always enjoyed “doing my own thing”.

Finally, the morning came. I was calm, emotionless to a point. In fact, my bridesmaids kept saying, “How are you so calm right now?!?” I didn’t want to get married (or so my panic was telling me the night before), yet I couldn’t turn back now. Turns out, the day was incredible and magical and everything “they” say it contains. I was happy, and everyone was happy for us.

Fast forward two years – here we are, still married! You know how “they” say that the first years are the hardest in marriage? Well, that is certainly true for us. Certainly, certainly true. We went through horrid fights, and even somewhat recently the “D” word came up. I had sleepless nights, thinking of how unhappy I felt in marriage to him. There are so many embarrassing things that I would take back if I could. Since I can’t take them back, I’ll share them for the whole world to read. That makes sense, right? 🙂

I am thrilled to say that I have discovered the {not so secret} secret to loving my husband, and receiving his love. I won’t pretend to be a love guru, but I know that understanding how to love is so important for a marriage to flourish. It has been on my heart for a while to empower other women in their marriages. It is so pertinent to families and society to keep marriages together and thriving.

So, this blog is about my mistakes and my achievement in my own marriage. I hope you can find your own story in what I share, and create a greater connection and love in your own marriage.