Saturday, May 14, 2011

How My Husband Threw Out Our TV

I cannot get this post to be what I want. So I'm just going to put it out and hope the idea comes across.
How many times have you thought, "If only my husband would ________ then everything would be great. Mine has changed a lot throughout the years but it all comes down to the simple idea of "I'll be happy when...." That NEVER works.

Make it a Marriage
I remember coming across this Ensign article once when looking for marriage help on lds.org. It's about having a less active spouse. Now, this wasn't the situation I was in, but the message of the article struck me and changed my feelings toward my less than perfect husband (Can we PLEASE not talk about his less than perfect wife!). Read it; apply it to whatever annoys you about your spouse.

“If no success can compensate for failure in the home, I knew that God certainly didn’t want me to be resentful of my husband. Heavenly Father wanted our family’s success and happiness, not our breakup. That realization changed my perspective.”

Sometimes, well, usually, I make it all about me or if I'm really feeling manipulative I make it about the kids too. I forget that we're a marriage, that we're trying to help each other. When I find myself really frustrated with him it helps me to serve him. To do nice things that make his life easier. Like you guys mentioned, they get really stressed. It usually softens him up and I feel better about myself too.

Respect
I've had times in my marriage where I want to make things happen and my husband is just not on board. And there's times where I can barely get out of bed and he wants to make a temple attendance schedule. I have to remember that we aren't always on the same page. We both have highs and lows and I need to respect his the way I want him to respect mine.

“Dave is a grown man, responsible for himself,” she explains. “I’m responsible for me, for teaching my children, and for setting an example. Whether my husband is active or not, he’s been a great father to our children, a well-respected member of our community, and a completely supportive husband."

Focus on the positive! Without being manipulative, tell him how nice it was have us all quietly reading with the tv off. Tell him you noticed your son really responded to him turning off the xbox and playing a game of catch. Tell him he looks good in blue! Just don't tell him every time he wants Sports Center the baby Jesus cries!

Set The Example
My second year of marriage I took a class on consumer health. It changed me. One of the required books was Your Money or Your Life and THAT changed me.

But my husband didn't take the class. Or read the book.

He still wanted the big tv. He wanted every game system. And we had a lot of arguments. Sometimes I nagged and made him feel guilty. Sometimes I joined him and we played games together. Sometimes compromise works. Sometimes it makes you lose the effectiveness of your argument.
A few years ago I started really getting into minimalism and my husband liked the idea, but never did much about it. I kept talking about and saying, "I wish we could just get rid of the tv" and he'd get defensive.

Then I realized I wasn't really practicing what I thought we my own ideals. I still had so much craft stuff and trinkets. So I started really minimizing. Getting rid of things I loved. And I would tell my husband how it felt. How sometimes it was hard but mostly it was liberating. I made it about me and my process and not about how he should do it too.

And suddenly, one day he cleaned out his closet.

And he caught the decluttering bug and one day while looking at our living room he said the tv took up too much room and let's just get rid of it. And the tv stand. Which also meant I had to let go of the stereo. So I did. He still wants a replacement tv some day. We'll deal with at when some day comes.

I reflect on this a lot because if you told me 5 years ago my husband would toss the tv and put his xbox in the shed I would have laughed at you. But I really think that when I stopped nagging and was just happy doing what I thought would make our family happier he was able to understand it better.

I was lucky. My husband decided he liked it too. Eventually. Now, lest you think I believe this to be a panacea, we still have the gun issue in our home. He wants them, I don't. And we can't agree on it. If you have a situation like this (home schooling, maybe?) all I can offer is to have a very honest conversation. I decided to let my husband keep them after ours. It's really hard for me, but the peace is nice. And like I tell my kids, "sometimes it's healthy to not get your way all the time." right?

“I think of the most patient person who ever lived on this earth: the Savior. Who could have been more long-suffering than he with all of us imperfect mortals?"

1 comment:

  1. Hey. This is fantastic. I will have to try this... exampley...not naggingy...thing.


    I think our TV troubles are solved though. Ours just died. I am really mad because I'm having surgery and now what am I gonna do while I recover?! Read?! Oh. I guess that's a good idea. Dang.

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