I was nice to my husband for a whole week. Now, before you start thinking I am a terrible person and I spend the other 357 days of the year being mean to him check out my original post on this relationship challenge I came up with here !
What did I learn from this whole thing? A lot. More than I expected and I kind of had high expectations for this challenge. The results were much different than I originally thought but also much better.
For an entire week I refrained from saying anything negative, mean, passive aggressive or snotty to my husband. We also happened to take a 2,000 mile round-trip road trip together during the challenge which made it an extra challenge. I am an aggressive person and Sean is very passive. This can lead to frustrations in almost everything we do. If I am driving Sean is usually yelling at me to back off the guy in front of me and I am yelling at him to honk and go around the slower cars when he is driving. We even order food differently . He scans the menu and dilly dallies while ordering his food. I like to get right to the point and give the waiter my order in 5 seconds or less so I have plenty of time to roll my eyes when Sean casually chats them up and asks about the different menu options.
Anyway, all of those little annoying things kind of disappeared on our road trip because I changed my attitude. I realized that a lot of my judgments and criticism is based on faux beliefs that things need to be a certain way. Who made me God in deciding how someone orders their steak? I think I have gone a long time believing that my way was the best way or just being really reactionary in situations. Sometimes I am so to-the-point in because I have anxiety and I want to get things done and find some relief by getting out of there even if it is as simple as ordering food or rushing through a grocery store. Other times, when I am comfortable I want to spend all the time in the world walking around and taking my time. I also expect Sean to sense the difference and be patient when I want him to be and then be rushed when I want him to be. Unfortunately , life doesn’t work like that and I am being really unfair by expecting that of him.
What it all boils down to is MY mindset, my relationship with myself and my decisions. A huge part of that is honestly nourishing your body. Sean and I have noticed that we fight a lot more when we are not eating clean, whole foods. When we eat junk, we feel like junk and we behave like junk. My anxiety, skin, weight, mood, inner-thoughts are all impacted by what I put in my body. If I eat crap food I almost get this overwhelming sense of doom about everything – like something bad is going to happen. Food and lifestyle have a DRAMATIC impact on one’s self and therefore their relationships.
It also helped me to pause. I paused before everything. I paused before getting annoyed (do I really need to be annoyed, do I have a RIGHT to be annoyed?) . I paused before eating something that wasn’t clean (do I REALLY want this? Will I regret it in 4 hours or will it be worth it?). Then eventually, I found myself having to pause less and less. I wasn’t as annoyed , I wasn’t as tempted by food or anger and I was much more easy-going.
Okay, so I learned a lot but did it change anything?
Um…yes! It changed my relationship…with myself. This has been a work in progress for awhile now but this challenge has really reshaped my inner and outer voice. I’m not only more patient and kind with the words I say to others but also the words I say to myself.
And yes, my relationship with Sean has improved. I feel like we have been more open to communicate because even though subjects that would usually cause a fight can be dealt with in a loving way . I have found when I am nicer he is more affectionate and talkative. We had so many good conversations on our trip. I think it is because when I am more kind, I am more safe. He feels safer to discuss, talk and not so worried that something will annoy me. He wasn’t on pins and needles waiting for me to criticize something he did/said. I didn’t realize how much my low-tolerance was really impacting his ego as a man , my husband and as a human.
I’m not saying this is going to be perfect or my/our problem are solved because they aren’t but this was a really good step for me/us.
I highly encourage you to take this challenge and see how it transforms your life!
Again…what do you have to lose?