Tuesday, April 7, 2015

I'm Interested



"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.

It went on like this for a day or so, and then my husband came in the bedroom as I was going to bed one night and wouldn't leave until I told him what was going on. It took probably an hour, but he ended up staying and comforting me through the ugliest, most hysterical breakdown I've had in recent memory.

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!

  1. Don't just ask "how was your day--"ask for details.
  2. Send him an email in the middle of the day, asking how things are going.
  3. Ask what he wants to do when he gets home, and then do it with him.
  4. Try something new in bed.
  5. Ask him about his "bucket list," and then cross something off with him.
  6. Give him a book about something in which he's interested.
  7. Ask him about his dreams, and ask how to help him with them.
  8. Text him something encouraging.
  9. Respect him.
  10. Leave notes around the house.
  11. Suggest that he pursue a hobby in which he's interested.
  12. Leave him an honest-to-god voicemail--and not one that says "pick up milk."
  13. Ask him what's going on at work, then follow up later in the week on his answer.
  14. Plan a date for something we enjoy doing together.
  15. Tell him what he's good at.
  16. Start a "Dream" file with him, and include travel brochures, business ideas, etc...
  17. Budget for him.
  18. Tell him in front of everyone how amazing he is.
  19. Remember his dreams from months/years ago, and ask him if they're still a possibility.
  20. Ask him what I can do to inspire and empower him.

7 comments:

  1. Autumn, I am so sorry that this happened to you. This feels so bad. And I am fully with you about the being physically ill part as a result of this. When there is something wrong between us here, this happens to me as well. And I do get you on the bottling up part as well. Thank God he can see it and when I cannot, hubby takes the initiative. I am just glad that you cleared this up with your husband’s help and that everything is good again.
    I enjoyed your list and don’t really have other points, but we have a sort of 15 minutes rule here. After long days, so usually it applies when hubby comes home late, he gets the first 15 minutes. I’d give him something to drink and then either I go on and make dinner for him, or sit down and listen, whatever he wants. Sometimes he doesn’t want to talk, just wants some quiet moment, at other times, he can tell and we get right into talking from that.
    We use this to get the head free and really come back home, so if I am late (rare), it applies to me to, and we try to keep these 15 minutes baby-free as well, because once I start talking, much of it will be about Tilda and her day. Sorry, got into rambling on, but add a candle and some soft music and these 15 minutes are awesome and easily turn into more. :)
    I am happy for you having a husband who knows you that well and that he can initiate communication when it is most important.

    hugs

    Nina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Nina. It really sucked, but I knew that we would resolve it sooner or later (I'd rather it have been sooner).

      I love your idea of 15 minutes--that sounds like a really nice way to start after-work time together :)

      Delete
  2. Hey Autumn,
    Not sure how long you have been married, but this seems to happen at some point or another in most relationships. I give you credit for coming up with your list and wanting to do better that is great.

    Number 9 is huge to me and in particular number 18 is awesome in my book. When we get together with friends often times the guys head off to one room and the girls to another and all you hear is complaints coming from the other room. Hearing a positive compliment from your significant other in such a negative setting is awesome.

    Just a quick two to add -
    21. Affection, affection and PDAs.
    22. Dress "for him".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Both terrific ideas, Enzo! We definitely don't have a problem with affection, and I suppose he likes me in almost any outfit (although, some fashion trends baffle him, and, frankly, I can't blame him).

      I hate to hear women sit around and complain about their husbands--I suppose it may be a bonding topic for groups of women who would otherwise have no common interests, but I can't understand how there can seemingly be no other topic of conversation more interesting than husband bashing. It turns into a competition of whose husband is the worst, and then I find myself wondering why they stay married if they're so unhappy--to which they reply, "Well, he's not *that* bad..."

      Delete
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