Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Spoon boy: There is no spoon.
Neo: There is no spoon?
Spoon boy: Then you’ll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.
Sometimes you have to throw out the rule book. Let go of how you think things should be. What is normal? What is a functional family? What is a good marriage? Always searching for answers I’ve read all the time on the internet, books, talk shows. Experts self-proclaimed and otherwise say that marriage is hard work. That you have to fight for it. Why? What rule book is that written in? It is a moot point now because there is no rule book. “It’s hard… fight for it.” That all sounds like survivalist talk. If you are a carpenter everything looks like a nail.
Am I taking the easy way out to decide I’m not going to fight for it and then stop? Just let it happen. The quote “is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself” has haunted me for years. Or inspired me might be a better term. Reality is changeable, mutable, subjective. At any given moment there are hundreds of inputs going on around us. Birds singing, cars honking, wind blowing, someone laughs, a couple arguing, billboards, TV, radio, internet. What we see out of all of this is what we are programmed from birth to see. If we grew up in a house where parents point out the dark cloud, our faults, suspicions about the neighbors, this is what our brains learn to recognize. This is what is real.
Psychologist say that the majority of our progress as children is learning how to filter something meaningful out of the chaos. We learn or don’t learn the same things in relationships. The beauty of this is that we can create a whole new marriage just by changing what we “see” or recognize in our spouse. I’m not claiming that this is a magic cure. What you may see is a person you thought you could live with, but you were kidding yourself. Or you are seeing your reflection. Yikes, that’s scary, especially if this person is getting on your very last nerve.
What I see when I look at my husband lately is a complete and total stranger. I thought I knew him, but what did I know? Have I really been listening to him? Is he really listening to me. Have we both been on marital auto-pilot? This is what the husband does, this is what the wife does. This is what 2 people are supposed to do and think and feel when they are married.
Mr Husband and I bought into the battle scenario. When I picture warriors like the Spartans I see fighters trained from birth. They are heavily armored holding weapons and shields. They stand back to back, willing to defend each other to death. But rarely do they turn around and face each other. Their feelings about each other are assumed by not spoken. When a couple come together and they are from 2 different training camps there is trouble.
I’m turning over a new leaf. I’m not going to fight this fight because I don’t believe in it. I am going to be a conscientious objector in the war between couples. What I am going to do is live my life the way I think it should be lived. The hub-man claims to not understand me anyway. What have a I got to lose? My fear, which is a universal one, is will he like me if I let down my “guard” down, my mask. Maybe he won’t, but I am willing to take that risk.
I spend far too much time trying to figure out how tell people who I am. My new motto is now a line from Mary Poppins “I want to make on thing perfectly clear. I never explain myself!”