Why He’s So Flexible   Leave a comment

After twenty-eight years of being married, I learned something new about my husband–just when you think nothing else big can possibly be known.  But the revelation wasn’t really about him so much as about me.

My husband is very flexible.  He has always been willing to go along with my wild ideas, or my wishes, or my wanting to invite someone else over, or the camping trip I’d like to take.

I thought this was because–well–he’s flexible.  He’s very easy-going, reliable, calm, dependable.

In short, a rock of peace.

I suppose that is probably the main reason, if there is one only, why I pursued him and ended up choosing him as my spouse, when he indicated his willingness to engage in such an intimate connection.  I have benefitted from his character and the kindness that flows from it for years.  I have known that at some level.  But a few weeks ago, I found out that he is not as flexible as I thought.

I’m glad that the proposed weekend to which I wanted to add an activity was his birthday weekend.  We planned to travel to his mother’s to retrieve our youngest two children from their time at Camp Grandma, and the Saturday of that weekend was his birthday.  Of course his mom did not want to miss an opportunity like that!  She set up a simple party with some family members.

The other variable in play was that I was hoping to also see my brother and his family.  They live within reach in the same general area of the state we were traveling to.  I thought it would be possible to do both.  I started to make plans with my side of the family–all before actually talking with my husband about the weekend.  I just assumed, as I have many times before, that my spouse would want the same thing I did, or at the least, be willing to do what was important to me.  I mean, this is our big opportunity to connect with both sides of the fam, why wouldn’t we do that?

And that would normally have been what happened.

However.

Because it was his birthday on the day we were talking about, and because I had been reading a pretty good book on marriage in the weeks before, this self-absorbed person actually had a rational thought.

I’d probably better ask dear-husband what he is willing to do.  Would he like to extend our travels by some additional hours?

So, I asked him what he really wanted to do.

and I told him that I really wanted to know.

and he told me what he really wanted to do.

He did not feel like adding more driving, more events, and more craziness to his life.

So, we did not try to do it all in one weekend.

We enjoyed our time with our kids and his mom.  We got a great several hours long visit with our nephew and his wife and two boys, who came over for the birthday party, more time than we usually get, and I got to know my niece-in-law quite a bit more.  She’s a real gem.  The next day before we left we enjoyed an incredible meal at the Olive Garden with the family and my brother and sister-in-law, provided by my mother-in-law, and that was a good time also.  It was good to see my husband getting the time with his mother that he wanted and needed.

So, why wasn’t he flexible this time?

It’s not that he’s not flexible.

He’s so flexible, he probably has almost never gotten his way in our marriage.  This time, because I stopped to ask, he got what he wanted and needed.

He has been flexible to help me.  He has lived for 28 years with a person who’s so high-strung and particular that she does not handle situations well at all if they don’t go according to her expectations.  He has been patient and calm and long-suffering because he knew that a) as my oldest puts it, I would have a snit if things did not go as I expected and b) he loved me enough to be willing to do what helped me be okay.

Sure, he could have told me 27 years ago that I was the most ridiculously self-absorbed, inflexible crazy person he had ever met.  Maybe he should have.  He could have told me that I was not being fair and that my almost always having to have my way was unacceptable.  He would have been perfectly correct.

But I don’t know that I would have been able to hear it then.

He has spent the years loving me in myriad ways, making me more lovely.  He has loved me so well that I can now freely chose another way to live.

 

 

 

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