It may seem odd to find advice on reconnecting with your spouse on a website dedicated to divorce, but here I am, right in the thick of things. My marital future is not yet determined. So I hover in Separation Land, halfway between divorce and reconciliation.
Over the weekend Husband #2 and I met up for another clandestine adventure.
I guess we can officially call it clandestine…after all, we’re meeting in secret to date each other. There’s covert sex but more importantly, there’s a lot of goodwill-building taking place as well.
As I mentioned in my previous post, we’re not in marriage counseling and we’re not involved in deep relationship talks, so what am I doing to open the door to the possibility of fixing my relationship?
Here’s where I pull in my first source of inspiration, Michele Weiner-Davis and her book A Woman’s Guide to Changing Her Man Without His Even Knowing It.
The premise of the book is that you can change your relationship and your husband by changing your own actions and expectations. Just like basic physics, Force A influences Object B. If Force A changes, the influence on Object B will also change. For me, that translated into looking for exceptions.
“Exceptions” are those problem-free times all couples experience but never really notice. Let’s face it, it may sound like it but Husband #2 and I don’t always fight. And we definitely didn’t fight all of the time. If that were true, we would have never gotten past the first date.
It certainly felt like Husband #2 and I fought constantly. But in reality, this all or nothing thinking wasn’t true. We had long stretches of time where we got along swimmingly…serenely…peacefully. Even joyfully! I decided to look for those moments again, even in our limited together time.
It is difficult given the rarity of our visits together and the 750 miles between us. Which makes me more dilligent and aware when noticing the quiet times. And when I see these happy exceptions I call them out.
Like this past weekend, we met up in a neutral location for our second visit together. The weather was frigid and sleet was coating the sidewalks as we strolled down the slippery ice-covered streets of a small town historic district on our way to our romantic dinner. We were arm in arm, holding on to each other to keep from falling down, and laughing. I pulled him closer, and told him this is what I thought getting old was all about…keeping each other from slipping and breaking a hip!
The New Me focuses on the exceptions rather than the negatives.
And an amazing thing has happened. Once I notice one exception, there seems to be a dozen of them lined up behind the first one, just waving their hands in the air and yelling, “Notice me! Notice me!”
So after hugging him close on that cold walk, I thanked him for picking out a bottle of wine for back at our cottage. I pointed out how much I loved the way he held me. And the next morning he shared his pancakes with me. I mentioned how smart he was and he carried my luggage out to the car. And most importantly, I talked about supporting him in his journey of self-discovery…to which he opened up about his aging parents and his feelings of regret about missing valuable time with them.
It’s in these exceptional moments that I spot the man who asked me to marry him so long ago and the man who I pictured spending my life with.