This is what hubby came home to. I was using the vacuum and it sucked up the rope attached to the flash light, and the end of the rope became lodged. When he walked into the room, I was holding the hose exactly like this. Or what if I told you that hubby tends to misplace things?
What are your first thoughts when I told you this story? Think about it as if this happened between you and your spouse, how would you or your spouse react? Would you be angry? Annoyed? Scared? Would you yell? Would you tell your spouse that they are stupid? Would you laugh kindly?
I am by no means an expert on marriage. I have only been married for 5 years, but through observing both successful and unsuccessful marriages, I have learned a few things.
Kindness goes a very long way. Even if your spouse isn’t being kind to you, if you make it a point to remain kind, it can make a difference. It’s difficult to be mean to someone that is always being kind. In unsuccessful marriages, I’ve noticed that one person starts being mean and over time, the other person shuts down and before you know it, they no longer remember what it is like to have a regular, nice conversation. Every and any future conversation holds a certain tone, with one person having a mean voice and the other becoming defensive. It makes people around them uncomfortable.
Communication is definitely up there in importance, but I would have to say that kindness tops the list. If you know how to be kind to one another every day, communication flows much more easily because you like each other and thus you trust each other. You know that the other person will not judge you.
I am not certain why some couples go from being happy, to suddenly being unkind. The woman I have in mind always preaches about showing appreciation, however, she is most unkind and unaffectionate towards her husband. I am actually not surprised because her definition of love and appreciation have nothing to do with affection. For her, those things mean telling the truth, but her truths are not of the kind type. They are hurtful, but in her mind, it is out of love that she tells them because, “who else will tell you the truth?” I absolutely disagree with her because when all the truths are negative, it only drives people away.
This woman has been like this for over 40 years, so the difficulty she faces is that any sudden change in behaviour for the good, comes across as non-genuine and temporary. And it is always temporary. So it is not surprising that her husband rarely talks to her. He could just attempt to show her kindness anyway, but I can understand how tiring it must be to always be criticized. It’s a complicated situation. I only hope that they are able to find some common ground, however small, before it is too late.
I have seen my friend’s parents. After 30+ years of marriage still find time to snuggle on the sofa. They laugh at each other’s jokes and still say those 3 little words. They give me hope that marriages do not have turn loveless and stale, and simply be out of convenience.
What happened when hubby saw me standing there with a flash light dangling from the end of the vacuum nozzle and a chopstick in the other hand trying to dislodge it? He laughed and asked me how that possibly happened. I started laughing at how ridiculous the entire thing was and explained how it got sucked up, but that I thought once I turned it off, I could just slide it out. It was just a piece of rope after all. Together, we worked to release it, taking apart the nozzle casing. It slid right out. I looked at hubby and thanked him, and asked him if he was mad (knowing he wasn’t), and he said he wasn’t mad, but asked that I didn’t vacuum up the flash light again, please. I took the picture with his phone. No doubt he will pull up that picture sometime in the future, and we will laugh at the situation all over again. As for hubby not being able to find something in the house? I will not rest until I find it. I will dramatically roll my eyes at him, but I don’t judge him. He may misplace things, but it is because he has so much other stuff stored up in his brain that little things sometimes get forgotten.
This is kindness. This is affection. This is communication. This is what an ever-lasting marriage is made of. Rather than getting annoyed with your spouse, see the humour in the situation. Rather than noticing faults in your spouse, recognize their strengths. Instead of being quick to complain, consider changing your attitude and realize that perhaps you may be taking some things for granted. Of course, if you make a change, but over time the behaviour is not reciprocated, it might be time to see a specialist (if you want to make your marriage work), or to accept that you are better off without each other.
Kindness is the key, at least from my experience.