Monday, September 10, 2007

Marriage Monday--Emotions

The topic today is emotion...who is the emotional one in your marriage, who holds back, and how do we handle the differences?

So, who is the emotional one in my marriage? I'm like Donkey on Shrek.... "Ooh! Ooh! Pick me! Pick me!" I am all over the chart with this one! I vacillate between burning rage and icy cold indifference. I usually am quick to admit that I have a short fuse, but the truth is that I also hold things in and let them simmer over time sometimes. It just depends on the situation.

For instance, if I have predetermined in my mind the way something is supposed to happen, I lose my cool really quickly if anything deters from The Plan. I don't like change, and if I have already decided how I think something should happen, I irrationally consider that "change" and immediately react with anger. Of course, the upside (is there an upside to anger?) is that I forget why I was mad like 5 minutes after I blow up.

This works out really well for me in my marriage because Trevor has the longest fuse of anyone that I have ever met. He is patient and very slow to anger. I can count on one hand in the 10 years that we have been married the number of times that he has truly been angry with me. I stopped counting the times I was angry after the first month. This is not to say that I don't irritate him or do things that make him mad, but he doesn't show it the way that I do.

Having said that, when he does get mad you better get out of his way. It literally takes years for me to mouth off one time too many, and then he lets me have it. I leave it all hanging out there for anyone to see, and he holds it in until he can't stand it anymore.

But, like I said, I am all over the chart in this area. Although I typically am quick to anger, and then forget why I was mad just as rapidly (a trait that my husband finds most annoying!), I do have the capacity to stew and simmer about something that is bothering me. If I let it get under my skin, I can hold a grudge and be coldly dismissive for a very long time. I think if the truth be told, Trevor would rather have the fiery hot temper in lieu of the cold grudge. At least with the outbursts he knows what he's dealing with right up front, which feeds his analytical, engineer brain. He knows that when he asks me what's wrong and I say "nothing" that he should just back away slowly and prepare for a siege.

The problem with this response is that by the time I feel he has "suffered" enough and I'm getting over it, he is just reaching the end of his fuse with how I am behaving. He's finally had enough, and I don't understand what he's getting so worked up about!

As you can imagine, the wild variances in my temper also translate into other emotions. I'm wildly joyful about the simplest things, and sometimes overly negative about others. The great thing about Trevor is that my wild emotions are tempered by his ability to handle pressure and to go with the flow. After all of these years, he can see the pre-anger signs more often and put out the spark before it turns into a roaring fire. Now that all this is written out for me to see in black and white, I'm starting to think that I might need to seek professional help!

I often need to be reminded by Trevor to think before I speak in anger, and I have been actively working on this area of my life for some time now. I am starting a self-study of James with this particular personality trait of mine in mind!

For more Marriage Monday, go here.


Christine said...

Oh, Xandra, this is me to a tee! And Jason's fuse has shortened in the years we've been married- he doesn't take as much of my "stuff" anymore. Thank goodness I've also mellowed a bit!

Thanks for posting today!

Alana said...

I do this as well. However, I learned recently that my husband is talking back to me, he just keeps it in his head. Not a bad idea, really ;-)

Anonymous said...

I'm beginning to think I'm not so unique after all - everywhere I look there are women just like me. Hmmm! :)

I seriously could post this on my blog and pass it off as my own cos it's me and Ron to a tee! Not that I'd ever plagarise your blog Xandra *wink*

Karen said...

Those poor engineers who marry emotional types like us. Or maybe it's just the Venus/Mars thing. I've always secretly thought that I got the better half of the deal in our marriage. Dan is so level and patient and kind. I've learned a lot from him. While I'm flailing my arms and carrying on, he's just as calm as can be. When it's all said and done, I'm exhausted and he's just calmly shaking his head.