Today's reading from Courage to Change is timely for me.
Last night I got into a minor spat with my husband, that left me with a big homework assignment.
Quite simply I did not treat DH respectfully; my words might have been "no big deal," but my tone communicated I thought he was pretty stupid for wanting to load dirty dishes into a dishwasher full of clean ones. But I did not, in the words of the St. Francis prayer, "seek first to understand." And what is worse, I felt I was "entitled" to hold on to my need to be right!
Like the reading today says, "I knew what I needed, and if those needs weren't met, the problem was with the other person. I was looking for someone who would always be there for me, but would not impose on me very much."
Not only did I want to be "right" about my husband's "wrong", but I wanted him to be able to forgive my addiction to being right, tolerate my lack of lovingkindness and then get me to laugh. I did not think it was "right" for him to sulk on the tailgate, instead!
Only later, as I sorted it out with a friend in the program, did I encounter the guilt underneath my anger. I'd had my awkward reaction, because I felt the job of loading the dishes was mine, and his doing the work instead of me activated my fear of laziness.
I find myself flinching a little at these words too:
"Once again, I'm faced with examining my own attitudes. What do I expect, and is it that expectation realistic? Do I respect other people's individuality--or only the parts that suit my fancy? Do I appreciate what I do receive?"
Today I can see just how unreasonable my expectations were, yesterday. I thought my husband SHOULD find a way to overlook my attitude-- of making him out to be an idiot. And that he SHOULD have apologized for his error and helped us both laugh about our shared idiocy, rather than going off to fume on the tailgate of his truck. But that was not reality yesterday. My DH had his own emotions and frustrations.
Today I can be grateful that we have a good relationship, that he loves me anyway, and that neither of us carry grudges.
If I want laughter, let me look to myself and my Higher Power for help. When I find there is a difference between what I expect and what I need, or if I find myself pointing to someone else as being the problem, "let me look at myself to see what needs changing within."
"The beginning of love is to let those we love, be perfectly themselves and not to twist them to fit our own image." Thomas Merton.