The Unbroken Woman blog is hosting The Respect Dare. Starting July 10, participants will be using Nina Roesner’s The Respect Dare: 40 Days to a Deeper Connection with God and Your Husband as a guide, posting about their journey. And I will be doing it with you!
Today was a real struggle. My husband has been experiencing mood swings related to medication changes. He has become quick to anger with me, with the kids, with strangers.
You probably know the phrase, “If Mama aint’ happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Well, its corollary is, “If Papa’s grouchy, everybody’s grouchy.” Sigh.
This is not him. I know this is temporary. I know it is related to his medication. I know he doesn’t have complete control over this. But I am not handling it well at all–and no matter how I respond (or don’t respond), his mood is just as difficult to deal with. After about an hour and a half of his escalating mood this morning, I’d had it. I snapped. I yelled back. I called him a horrible name. In front of the kids. I feel rotten, and I don’t know how I’m supposed to respond when he is like this. I don’t know what is Godly or loving, and honestly, I wasn’t feeling like being either of those things, anyway.
It felt like the entire morning challenged me. We lost track of time and missed church. I was worried about my husband. I worried about how his words would affect his relationships with the kids. I worried about whether his blood pressure was endangering him..
I got as far as reading today’s Respect Dare, although I thought it would have been easier to just announce that I was quitting. Since it was about chores and housework (which I can’t stand), it didn’t help my mood. I wrote in my journal, but it was superficial. I wasn’t really paying attention to what I was doing, although my journal has one tidbit that I need to explore a bit further:
My house will never be in order. The one time it was (when our previous house was on the market), I felt constantly tense. I don’t know how to be comfortable without chaos. Ding ding ding…..is that a metaphor for my mental life, too?
My husband’s mood settled down well. He came home from some errands and apologized for his behavior. I apologized for calling him the name I did. He accepted my apology and said that the word I used was a true reflection of how he was acting. In his interactions with others when he was out in the afternoon, he paid attention to his own behavior and was able to recognize for himself that he was out of character. We talked about the points to address when he calls the doctor this week.
I think I might be developing some good habits from the Respect Dare, despite the fact that I lost my cool with him this morning. As he was talking about his interactions with people outside the house today, I actually listened without thinking about what I wanted to say. I realized that I wasn’t even needing to take deep breaths to control my response. I listened, and I asked questions. Then I asked him how I could help him. It felt, well, healthy.
It has occurred to me that the healthier and kinder habits of interaction I hoped to develop in this process are starting to form within me. That is a good thing. But as far as today’s Dare, I confess I didn’t even try to do it.
It was a rough day. But late in the afternoon, my husband was standing in the kitchen. He opened his arms, and I stepped in. I nestled my head onto his shoulder. He wrapped his arms around me and just held me. And he didn’t let go. Neither did I.
Read these other bloggers to learn about their experiences with the Respect Dare:
The Respect Dare Blog (author Nina Roesner)
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