Having this particular topic upon which to write just at this time is
amazing synchronicity for me, as I am smack-dab in the middle of working out
my feelings about it. As of about an hour ago, I agreed to fly 3,000 miles
east with my husband at the end of November to visit his relatives. They and
I have a 25 year history of discord, so I relish making the trip about as
much as root canal surgery. Because of that, I have been asking him to forgo
Despite my continuous pleading and reasoning, he has repeatedly concluded
that he needs to go. At first, he simply stated that he would go alone. I
found that unacceptable, and so I undertook my campaign to have him stay
home. He gentled his attitude then, and asked me politely to co-operate with
him going. The respectfulness of his request softened me, but I was still
too much against it to agree.
Today, as we once more discussed him going, I again expressed my reluctance.
This time, he went even further and asked me to go with him.
As I considered my answer, I remembered how I felt 25 years ago when he
expressed his deep feelings for me. I felt deeply honoured that he felt that
way about me, but reluctant to embrace it. However, my Inner Voice told me
that he was the one for me if I wanted to marry. As I did want to marry very
much, I accepted on faith and trust that it would work out somehow.
Our marriage was difficult in numerous ways for a long time, and we
struggled for many years. It turns out, the problems were largely rooted in
many dysfunctional ideas that I brought to the marriage. Looking back on it,
I can see how they also were largely the source of the resistance I felt to
marrying him. Thanks to reading the Mars and Venus books by John Gray, I
came to understand some of the basics about what it takes to be happy as a
wife. Since then, I have come to appreciate my husband who has proved to be
a much better match than I ever imagined possible.
Improving my health, by giving up sugar and becoming vegan, also was
something I resisted strongly for a long time. That, too, has proved to be
the very thing I most needed to do.
These thoughts flitted through my mind as I sat with the phone in my hand
today, looking for an answer to his request that I accompany him east.
Noting the similarity between this present situation and those important
ones in my history, after a long moment of thought and speaking from the
greatest reluctance, I agreed to go. I am hoping and trusting that agreeing
to this trip will work out to my advantage--at least as much as those
previous and difficult choices.
As I reaped the benefits of my marriage and dietary choices, I discovered
that knowledge is a powerful tool. I have found that there are skills that
can be learned that make getting to one's goals both enjoyable and health
In the early years of our marriage, I was doing my best to understand how to
be happy as a wife. However, it was only when our marriage seemed about to
go up in smoke that I reached out far enough for what turned out to be what
I really needed to know. It was similar for me with eating a healthy vegan
diet. I waited until my health was scraping the bottom of the barrel before
I was willing to change my diet. My studies and experience with it have
taught me to eat a low-fat version high in fruit and vegetables, to avoid
gluten grains, to keep the protein content low, and to take B12 and ground
Something is telling me that there may be important things I need to know
about how to thrive as a daughter- and sister-in-law too. As I consider
this, it occurs to me that part of the problem, maybe the whole problem, has
been in my expectations of my relationship with them. Early on, I felt a
need to be as important to my husband's relatives as he was to them. In all
honesty, I think I actually wanted to be MORE important to them than he was.
I wanted them to embrace me, right from the beginning, with love and
affection. More than that even, I wanted them to treat me the way I wanted
to be treated--and I wanted it NOW. I saw them as my chance to have the
loving family I felt I had missed with my own family of origin. When these
extraordinarily high expectations did not materialize, the resulting
alienation I felt, the disappointment and hurt, tainted my interactions with
them. I alternated between groveling for their respect (didn't work!) and
resenting that I wasn't getting it.
Possibly, I can apply lessons I have learned while traveling with my husband
on business on numerous occasions. In those circumstances, not unlike being
with his relatives, he is the one they know, the one they are pleased to see
initially and primarily. I have found it easy enough in those circumstances
to simply go along for the ride. I have enjoyed seeing the esteem in which
his associates hold him, enjoyed the holiday and meeting new people, and let
the rest go. Having only minimal expectations of his business associates for
myself personally, it has been easy for them to surprise and please me with
small gestures of attention or warmth. As a result, over time some of his
business acquaintances and I have become quite fond of each other, which
greatly adds to my enjoyment of the business trips. I suspect that acting as
if my husband's relatives are like his business associates may help me find
a comfortable way for me to relate to them.
I hope so.
a b l e o f c
o n t e n t s -
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