"You're not interested in me, and it sucks. I hate it."
My husband said that to me several nights ago. It caught me off guard. I had no idea he felt that way, and I had no idea that I'd seemed uninterested or that I'd forgotten about important things going on in his life.
Sometimes, I can be self-involved. OK, more than some times. I'm constantly thinking about the things going on in my life and what I have coming up and what I need to do to prepare for future engagements, etc, etc, etc... I'm so caught up in what I have going on, that I apparently forgot to express any interest whatsoever in my husband's life.
It's a failing, and it's definitely something I want to improve immediately. But, the other night, I was so caught off guard and so surprised, that I did the stupid thing and bottled up all of my hurt and all of my emotions surrounding the topic.
In short, I misunderstood what he wanted from me. But, instead of talking to him about it (too easy, right?), I instead shut myself off. For more than 24 hours, I stopped talking as much, I stopped being affectionate, I stopped smiling and laughing. I constantly checked myself and second guessed my words. It sounds overly dramatic, but it was the first time in our relationship when I felt that I couldn't be myself around my husband. The stress and frustration with myself consumed me, and it made me physically ill.
Thankfully, the emotional crisis was short-lived, and I can laugh about it now. But I have not forgotten that I need to make a change, and, today, I have plenty of ideas for how I can show more interest in my husband's life. I feel confident and sure of myself, but a few days ago, I felt so awful that I had disappointed him. I felt like the horrible wife who only thinks about herself and forgets all about her husband's hopes and dreams. But I didn't want to tell him that I felt awful, because that was yet another thing about me. Does that make sense?
I sense that we may not be the only couple that has this problem. Even if we live with the people we love, we still have different jobs, different friends, and different goals for our individual lives. It's rather easy to just focus on our own things, write our own to-do lists, and forget to ask each other what the heck is going on. Except my husband, wonderful man that he is, does not forget to ask about me. I'm not saying he's never forgetful, but he asks for details, and he always shows an interest in my often mundane life.
I am interested in my husband's life, and it took a lot of frustration and hurt for me to realize that I wasn't showing it. But I want to come up with ways that I can inspire my husband. I want to help him pursue his passion, and, least of all, I want to express an interest in his life, even if the things he's excited about are not the things I get excited about.
I wanted to share a partial list of some of the ideas I've found/come up with that will help me express my interest in the future. I am accepting any and all ideas, if you have something to add to this list!
- Don't just ask "how was your day--"ask for details.
- Send him an email in the middle of the day, asking how things are going.
- Ask what he wants to do when he gets home, and then do it with him.
- Try something new in bed.
- Ask him about his "bucket list," and then cross something off with him.
- Give him a book about something in which he's interested.
- Ask him about his dreams, and ask how to help him with them.
- Text him something encouraging.
- Respect him.
- Leave notes around the house.
- Suggest that he pursue a hobby in which he's interested.
- Leave him an honest-to-god voicemail--and not one that says "pick up milk."
- Ask him what's going on at work, then follow up later in the week on his answer.
- Plan a date for something we enjoy doing together.
- Tell him what he's good at.
- Start a "Dream" file with him, and include travel brochures, business ideas, etc...
- Budget for him.
- Tell him in front of everyone how amazing he is.
- Remember his dreams from months/years ago, and ask him if they're still a possibility.
- Ask him what I can do to inspire and empower him.