What else are Milan and I praying for you?
“Lord, give us each wisdom and insights to love our mates more deeply and with more compassion as we become aware of their wounds”
Milan and I have a saying…. “You should have a Ph. D. in your spouse’s childhood. How can you achieve this? Study your spouse. Ask questions about their growing up years. (Look through the first few chapters of the workbook if you don’t know what to ask). Be a detective and watch what goes on at family gatherings.
For years in our marriage there were several things that really bugged me about my husband, Milan. He always assumed something was wrong, or I was upset and asked me over and over…. “How are you?” It felt like someone was hovering over me constantly taking my emotional temperature. On the few occasions I was upset, he was so rattled, I learned it was better to hide irritation. I was already good at this because these were the unspoken rules in my family growing up. Don’t show emotions. Don’t need.
Then I begin to study Milan’s childhood. I heard memories of a scared little boy always waiting for the next bout of rage. I learned about his need to stay in from playing outside with the other kids in order to monitor the mood of his mom and try and delay the storm. I found out he would stand at his bedroom door and listen at night to see if his parents would fight, or get along. I heard about his constant stomach aches. I discovered his childhood was filled with anxiety and emotions were like a tornado that ripped though the house. I listened to remembrances of stony silence between his parents that would go on for days even weeks. I could go on.
Hearing these memories made my irritations melt into feelings of compassion. No wonder he was always checking my mood. Anger was dangerous. No wonder he was rattled if I was upset. I might distance for days. No wonder he was afraid of emotions…they were not expressed in any healthy way when he was growing up.
How about you? Are you earning your degree? What if your spouse says, “I don’t want to talk about it”…..or “I don’t have any bad memories.” Explain you would like to have more compassion and know your spouse more deeply. Go at a pace your mate can tolerate. Use the questions from the workbook in the back of How We Love. Many couples have told us how the first chapters in the work book opened up their spouses souls one to another.
Milan and Kay
Next week: When You Suffer Because of your Spouse