I am really wondering if I made a mistake in marrying Donald. I thought we were in the working it out stage, but now I am not so sure. Now, there are moments when I hate him, and when that feeling comes over me, I can hardly believe it.
It just seems like the barrage of things gone wrong, things of annoyance and frustration, is unending. I don’t laugh. I don’t cry. I don’t smile. I’m so angry that all I can do is put on a mask and try not to explode.
I knew what I was getting into when I married him, but I still want to make it all his fault. Intellectually, I know it’s not.
If you are married, you have almost certainly been there, wondering if you made a “mistake.” And marrying the wrong person is a mistake of consequences that can seem devastating.
Of course the thing to do is communicate your misgivings, and that doesn’t look like an explosion or a mask. Don’t declare war — or anything else — that’s fueled by anger and blame. Give yourself a timeout — put yourself in a quiet corner or go for a walk.
Take some deep breaths, as many as you need, and ask yourself what the anger is really about. It’s not about your partner. It’s about you. That’s a given.
Then, do your best to talk to your partner without accusation and resentment. Assume responsibility for your own feelings.
If you are disgruntled because he (or she) works too much, maybe you’re looking for more attention in order to feel important and loved. If you honestly communicate that, instead of complaining about how many hours he works or what a stupid mistake you made, you can work toward feeling loved.
If the timeout isn’t enough to help you get to the root of your anger, try to change your perspective. Think of him (or her) as somebody you don’t HAVE TO be married to and, therefore, somebody you don’t HAVE TO fix or separate yourself from.
What ignites your anger more than anything else might be the threat of a mistake (read: embarrassment, humiliation, failure). And he represents that threat by not conforming to the role you have in mind for him, in the picture that you imagine to be happy.
Once we’re married — and often even before we are married — we think we have to make it work. Commitment is sacred…but remember, you didn’t simply commit to hang around. You committed to love.
Love well, and then trust what follows.
When you’re rehearsing how much the wedding cost and how many people watched you say, “I do,” you are distracted. And the mere idea of a public mistake might seem overwhelming. When you feed the overwhelming idea, you also feed your anger.
If you can successfully remove the threat of a mistake from the equation, it just might feel like a little miracle…or a great big miracle, as the case may be. You begin to see your partner through objective eyes. You begin to feel love again.
When you treat your partner with compassion and respect — the way you might treat a stranger or a friend who didn’t threaten your self-worth — you have begun the healing process. And that’s all you need to feel better about yourself.
A mistake — no matter how grave — does not diminish who you are, or who you can become. Mistakes do play a vital role in who you become. They just might be the best learning tool you have, the best learning tool your partner has.
And learning from the little mistakes can help you avoid the big ones.