There are times when my anger is justified. David took six years to marry me, I was not happy about that, and he fought me every step of the way. His fear of marriage put us through years of full on blow outs. David may be quiet but he is stubborn. And when he wants to be, he is immovable, and nothing I say or do will change things.
This ignites a rage in me I have trouble turning off. I don’t do well with authority or hard no’s. One man described me as a, “Formidable opponent.” So when David makes a final decision about something and it’s something I don’t have a say in, well, I get nasty.
This is a facet of myself that I’m not proud of. I don’t want to be reactionary. David rarely pulls out his stubborn side, but of course when he does, it’s over something critical. And I lose my mind. I feel shut down, meaningless, and the fighter in me comes out, because I refuse to be denied the right to speak. I refuse to be undermined. I have value and my words have value, and I will fight for that, I won’t let anyone shut me down, including David.
We spent three long years “working” on this issue. He refused to yield and I refused to give up. He would not marry me (there are a lot of reasons why) and I wasn’t going to give up. I love David wholly and completely. So if that meant I had to, metaphorically, pull out my gloves and duke it out with him, then so be it.
He communicates with subtle hints and clues, quietly dancing around the subject. I get straight to the issue, I’m direct, honest, and I don’t mess around with games. It’s like mixing oil and water.
I’d yell and rant, furious that he’d put us through this. I couldn’t understand him, couldn’t understand what he was ever saying, I knew he loved me, but why wouldn’t he fight for me?
Working on our communication for three years, meant fighting for three years. Crying. Breaking up and getting back together. Driving each other crazy. Accusing each other of things. There were times where we were at each other’s throats. But we were committed and we were going to make our relationship work.
And one day, it clicked. I’m not sure when it happened. I’m not sure how it happened, but one day we realized we weren’t fighting anymore. And our relationship was affectionate, light hearted, and it felt like the beginning all over again, but different, familiar. Comfortable.
I’d learned to be patient and wait for him to find the words he needed to express himself. And he’d learned that he needed to be direct. He’d also learned to incorporate me fully into his feelings and decision making and that it was okay to be vulnerable. We learned how to respect each other’s differences.
I still work on my patience and do my best to be understanding, even when I really don’t want to be. And, at times, he still slips into his old communication habits. Which is generally when I say, “I’m not doing this with you right now. Just tell me what you want. Or what you’re feeling.”
I didn’t understand at the time why we had to struggle so much. It seemed ridiculous, looking back, it makes sense. And it made us a better couple, a stronger couple, and without those hard years we would not have lasted. Sometimes, our flaws, our bad times, make us better. And sometimes you have to fight with everything you have.