I recently was away on a business trip and saw my husband was at the golf course on our family app. I only had about ten minutes to talk and figured he was just practicing hitting balls considering he had played golf all day the previous day. I also knew he wouldn't answer if he couldn't. However, he did answer and I jokingly said, "boy you are taking advantage of all the free time on the golf course." I didn't mean anything negative by it at all. He laughed and asked me if it was an emergency. I replied, "no." and he said in a tone "if you know I'm on the golf course why are you calling now?" Well, "I wanted to talk to you and I don't have much time before my next event and why are you irritated with me?" He simply said, "I'll call you back in just a bit."
I said okay and was mildly bewildered, but decided it wasn't really a big deal. Fast forward and thirty minutes later I still haven't heard from him. At this point, I am fluctuating between ticked off and hurt. Okay, really I'm hurt and the anger is my cover. I've thought about firing off a text about my hurt, but that is only going to make it worse. I'm going to be brutally honest here, in the past I would have lost my temper on the phone and if I hadn't, I definitely would have fired off a nasty text explaining all the ways it was "not okay" to do what he did.
In order to save my marriage, to move from roommates and at times mortal enemies, I've had to learn to calm down and do things differently. I had an expectation that he would be happy to hear from me and then it appeared as if he was anything but... I took this personally and I felt attacked, alone, and distant from him (and I'm not talking about physical distance). I could feel my entire day, (that has been wonderful) being ruined by the second.
This may seem silly as it was truly a small interaction and we are not perfect people. I decided to address it when he finally did call and tell him it hurt me in a calm manner and see what he said. But, as I sat there and self-soothed and calmed all the negative feelings and hurt that came on like a tidal wave, the phone rang. My initial feeling was irritation and I thought, do I even want to answer this? I did and much to my surprise it went like this....
"Hey baby, I need to apologize I was irritated with something I was doing and you called right at that moment, I took it out on you and that was wrong of me." Uh... mic drop.... silence... I don't know how to respond. I simply said, "thank you for saying that because it did hurt my feelings." He said, "I know and it was all on me, so sorry." Okay, that knocked the wind out of my sails and the hurt and anger that was ever so present just moments ago, it vanished.
You may be thinking, oh isn't that nice and it never happens in real life. Yes, it does, it just did, in real life. But, I promise you we have worked on this marriage a lot over the last 21 years (okay mostly the last 2-3 years). It took me changing everything about the way I communicate. He finally caught on and stop withdrawing, knowing that I was becoming a softer place to have hard conversations. We are done living the roommate life, and re-invented this marriage. You can do this, too! (stop the eye roll, you truly can).