Hope your school vacation week's going well.
Thank you to your very supportive response to my couple's retreat write-up! Some of you even told me you'd like to check it out for yourself. Here's more info about upcoming weekend workshops from Rich & Antra, right here in Cambridge.
I'm very appreciative of Rich & Antra, because they really brought all four couples closer, and got us to open up to our partners. I have more to share about our experience at the retreat.
One of the first things I shared with my husband is that sometimes I feel lonely in my marriage. Of course, he was very surprised.
"Why? You should know that I'm always here for you. You don't need to feel that way."
Yes, I do know that, and yet it happens. I tried to think a bit about why. Well, after the kids go to bed, we're both tired. My husband would often watch TV in the living room, while I work or read on my laptop in the dining room. It can feel lonely.
Maybe with the new sense of connection we felt at the workshop, we can do better, I thought.
There was a couple of hours' break in the programming, and I suggested maybe we could take a walk together. And one of the ladies there suggested we could try on some snow shoes. Great!
We started walking, me with my snowshoes, then my husband said he's fine not using his snow shoes. I was a bit surprised, as the snow was a bit frozen over but still collapsed easily. Then after a few minutes he said, well it's slippery and icy and he didn't want to fall and hurt his bum knee.
"Okay... " I wasn't ready to give up on the idea of the walk. "Well, you can head on back, and I'll just meet you after a while."
"What? You gonna walk out in the woods by yourself?"
"It's America. And I'm a big girl. " I marched on ahead while my husband headed back.
After a few minutes, I felt both the joy of being among beautiful nature, and the feeling of once again being alone.
Hmm... so much for his always being there for me.
What just happened? I tried to process in my head. I think I had a movie playing in my head about the two of us taking a romantic nature walk together. My husband meanwhile had a different movie playing in his head. I felt disappointed by him not coming with me, but instead of sharing that vulnerability with him, I was stubborn and... well, now I'm alone.
I shared the experience as our retreat continued. Turned out my husband had a pair of snowshoes that weren't working and had rubber bands instead. He gave me the good pair. Awww...
He said, "Well if you had mentioned you thought a walk in the freezing cold is romantic, I would've suggested us walking somewhere safer!"
Great example of couple's communication, eh? ;-)
This is why love is hard. Even when you have the best intention, you can communicate poorly and miss each other. Grr...
I'm still trying to process what happened... Why is it so hard for us to share our vulnerabilities like feeling disappointed. I feel our whole life we've been trained to overcome them, at school, at life, at work, until it becomes natural to us. But in love you have to share vulnerabilities: we have to unlearn some of our defenses.
Or how about even when vulnerabilities are communicated, like my husband mentioning he didn't want to get hurt in the walk, they are not heard? Maybe I was too wrapped up my own disappointments, my "movie", to pay attention to my husband's needs.
I like what our teachers Antra and Richard said, there will be positive and negative moments. If you know the cycle, you'll feel confident that love is always there and look for ways to repair and reconnect. As well as how love takes practice: hopefully we'll get better at sharing and hearing and repairing.
There sure are plenty of opportunities for us to practice! :)