Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Determination and Intimacy

D and I have been through a lot of growing pains this first year of marriage. You who have followed this blog get a glimpse into daily struggles we face. Our anniversary was just over a month ago. Since then, we have had really significant challenges and all of the same frustrations. Two things have made a difference.
One thing that has made a significant difference this month is our determination to not let paralysis rob us of good times. We both get frustrated when things don't go right. Dana likes predictability and I like reliability. Sometimes just the anticipation of something going awry makes us dread going out. Determination to do stuff regardless how we feel has gotten us off our duffs several times already. Just this weekend we were anticipating a day out in the District. Then I broke out with blisters on my hands from some allergy (like poison ivy). D was worried and I was frustrated. So, we (meaning Dana) knew better than for me to push around DC all day. Instead, we rode out to the GW Parkway, parked along the river, and read a bit. D even drove around an extra half hour to get me a cup off coffee.
The other is intimacy. I don't necessarily mean that kind of intimacy --though it doesn't hurt. I mean that deep emotional connection where we know we are safe and accepted. We got distracted by our routines and expectations and really doubted ourselves in meeting each others' needs. Neither of us wants to disappoint the other. But we end up being too hard on ourselves. After a while we were both gun shy around each other. I had to learn to communicate to D that things really are great when I feel so and that good enough really is good enough too. Likewise I had to learn that D doesn't pick up after me or clam up because she's mad, it's just her zone --how she gets things from chaos to comfortable. Learning those quirks and patiently talking, holding, and sometimes just waiting quietly for the dust to settle made it more safe for us to be us and then love each other without fear of having our feelings hurt.


Tonja said...

And that, Mike and Dana, is marriage -- paralysis or not. I think you guys are doing an amazing job. Take one day at a time. I love you both!

~Mariesa said...

Once again, you two will make it into tonight's "Three Things" at the Stokes' house. Also, I cried while reading this, as always. Having been married on the exact same day as you, and also having faced tremendous struggles and challenges throughout our first year, it helps, it is comforting, to know we each also had deeply personal triumphs. You two always remind me that Gary and I aren't the only married couple who works extremely hard at it, but we're also not the only couple who reaps the incredible rewards of that work. Thank you for that touching reminder.

Kristen Maddux said...

This is just great and so true. It's such a challenge to hold our expectations with an open hand.
Thanks for writing, ya'll! You guys are great.