Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Unlimited Supply

Jared and I have learned a lot through our relationship over the last 13 years.  Some lessons have come through reading books, taking classes, and observing others.  And some lessons have come through our own experience.

I want to talk about one of those lessons we learned by experience.

When we started dating, we were both students.  When we got married, we were both full-time employees.  Things changed a lot when we started having children and we decided that I should be a stay-at-home mom ("homemaker" or whatever I'm supposed to call myself).

We had a lot of conversations like this when Jared came home from work in the evening:

Jared:  I had a rough day.
Me:  Yeah?  Did you get to pee by yourself?  Did you get to eat lunch somewhere between the hours of 10am and 3pm?  Because I didn't get to do any of those things.  And I have no fewer than 3 different bodily fluids on my clothing.  Not my fluids.
(Jared often retreated, knowing he couldn't reason with me when I was extremely sleep-deprived, exhausted, and most likely hormonal.)
And the conversations went both ways.  I sometimes spent whole days in my pajamas.  I didn't have to attend meetings.  I didn't carry the burden of providing financially for a growing family.  I didn't have to get up as early, and I could occasionally get a short nap.

These sorts of conversations have the potential to do a lot of damage in a relationship.  And I think these comparisons are quite common.  Luckily, we were able to stop these conversations before they created resentment between us.

The discovery we made that made all the difference was this:  there's an unlimited supply of "this sucks."  One person's bad day does not negate another person's bad day.  They are not mutually exclusive.  Just because one person is tired doesn't mean another person does not also feel tired.

And this same principle applies in a positive light.  There is an unlimited supply of joy, of celebration, of overcoming, of growing.  I have no problem rejoicing with others when they receive answers to prayers, reach goals, and experience joy.  I understand that other people's success does not diminish the potential for mine.

I'm obviously not perfect.  Jealousy knocks at my heart's door.  But I just have to remind myself that my joys/pains and someone else's do not compete in any way.  Jared is allowed to have a bad day on the same day that I'm having a rough time.  I'm elated to hear of a friend's spiritual breakthrough at the same time that God is helping me over a hurdle.

This idea can cover so many things.  Are there people in your life who constantly compare your kids to theirs?  There's an unlimited supply of intelligence, athleticism, social development, good behavior, even physical growth.  One child's progress does not hinder another child's progress.  {I'm still working on gracefully accepting the kid comparisons...just being honest here.}

This has certainly helped Jared and me as we've learned to give each other permission/space/allowance to express our own experiences.  This gets tested most when he's traveling for work.  I have to remind myself that although I'm exhausted and feel overworked (and underappreciated!), I have not claimed all of the struggling there is.  There's an unlimited supply of inconvenience, exhaustion, this-is-not-what-I-want-ness.  It has taken me a long time to figure out how to be sympathetic when I just thought Jared got to see the world, eat delicious food (on the company's tab), sleep through the night, and go days without wiping someone else's behind.  Now I see that he has to adjust to weird time zones, sleep in unfamiliar and sometimes uncomfortable hotels, and endure long business dinners.  It's still hard on me to be a single mom, but that doesn't mean the traveling isn't hard on Jared, too.

Again, I'm not perfect but making good progress.  Now I have the tools I need to push through those tough moments of self-pity.

How could this principle help your relationships?  What unlimited supply do you need to remind yourself of?  I sincerely hope this understanding brings you peace and contentment.    

Jessica

2 comments:

  1. Wow!!! That really hit home for me. Thank you!

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  2. Thank you for sharing this! I really needed it. :)

    ReplyDelete