How A Good Husband Should Be
In many of my earlier relationships, I thought the other person should be just slightly different, do things just a wee bit better, and then I could be happy. This is pretty normal, and if you are human, you've probably had similar thoughts.
When my oldest child was nine, he’d have these explosive outbursts and was dismissive of the requests we made of him, rolling his eyes or sarcastically saying things like, “Yeah, like I’m going to do THAT!” I thought he was becoming a bit overly entitled. I thought he shouldn't be this way. So I sought some parenting support.
The counselor directed us towards the 123 Magic technique by Thomas W. Phelan, who said, in one of his videos, something that really shifted my perspective.
To paraphrase, he said, most of us expect our children to just be like little mini adults when actually they’re more like little wild animals. Parenting a little adult looks very different than parenting a little wild animal.
This woke me up from the trance I was in (which wasn’t working for me at all) of thinking my son should be behaving differently than he was.
Because when I was thinking, “This isn’t how he’s supposed to be!” or “Something’s going wrong”, I felt not only at odds with my son but at odds with reality.
It was like fighting the fact that the sky is blue. Can you imagine getting angry because the sky is the color that it is?
But this is exactly what we do with the people we love.
We get mad that they throw tantrums.
We get angry that they get defensive.
We get irate when they don’t support us the way they “should”.
We get irritated when they take something we say personally.
We get grouchy when they are so concerned with their work that they’re not paying us the attention we want.
But it’s not them that’s causing the problem.
It's that we have these ideas about how they SHOULD be —and reality just isn’t playing by our rules.
When I finally saw that I was expecting my child to be a mature version of himself he wasn’t yet—That he COULDN’T be yet (obviously, since he wasn’t)—I felt much more calm and peaceful. That freed me up to not only communicate and guide him much more effectively, but also to do what I most wanted to do in the world: Love him no matter what.
Which is the same thing I now do with my husband:
Notice my rules, “shoulds”, and expectations.
Notice the pain it causes me when he doesn’t meet them.
Then choose to accept reality or stay upset.
Notice it’s MY CHOICE, and that I am in control of how I feel.
This allows me to stop making him responsible for my feelings, and frees me up to love him EVEN WHEN he isn’t following my rules of how a good lover should be. Which ultimately has me feeling truly blessed to have so much love in my life.
So, your turn:
What are the rules you have (that you maybe haven’t even noticed) that lead to you feeling upset with your partner?
Write them down.
Then ask yourself, "what happens inside me when my partner doesn’t follow these rules?"
And finally ask, "does it serve me to keep these rules?"
Once you see all this, you’ve started the process of getting free from all the suffering these rules cause you, and back to a place where you can love and be loved so much easier.
I'd love to hear what came up for you. What surprised you? Let me know in the comments here.