Although I’ve referred to my husband in many blogs, I’ve never actually asked for and received approval to write about him. My husband is one of the funniest people I know and a perfect day for him is when he says something really funny while I’m drinking and I laugh so hard that I spit out my drink. As funny as my husband is, he is also well-skilled at making me so angry that I’ve contemplated killing him. Seriously. Has he ever felt the same about me? He’ll have to write his own blog to answer that question.
Anyway, a few years ago our family of five decided to take a dog approved, hiking, card playing, driving trip to Wisconsin. We rented a house near some hiking trails, loaded up the kids and the dog and looked forward to a few fun days of family time. As soon as we arrived, we decided to do a quick hike nearby while we still had daylight hours. My husband is usually very prepared for hikes. He has food, water, maps, emergency gear, etc. On this particular trip, his much less prepared wife talked him into hopping on a short hiking trail with no map and a few bottles of water.
The hike started out fine. The kids were having a blast and the dog was off her leash, having a great time. Suddenly, however, we realized that we might have taken a wrong turn and found that we were essentially lost in a forest in the middle of Wisconsin with no map and no cell phone service. As often happens in these situations, my husband has one idea and I have the opposite idea. My husband wanted to turn back and retrace our steps. I wanted to risk it and keep walking.
In the meantime, our oldest son thought that he should run ahead and see what was in front of us. My husband thoroughly disagreed with this plan in that a good hiker knows that you should never split up your group. Of course, I agreed with my son and off he went. At the same time, our nearly white, seventy-five pound golden doodle decided to find a tar pit and attempt to swim in it. She wandered out of the pit; half covered in a black, tarry-like substance and clean on top. Did I mention my other two children? One was whining because she was tired and hungry and the other one was walking behind us because he felt the tension rising.
My husband was about ninety feet behind me because he was still trying to talk us into turning around and I was still planning on going forward. As the oldest child ran off, the dog presented her tar-like self, and the other two children stood in between us, my husband yelled, “Why can’t you just do what I want you to do?” The two younger children got very quiet and I stared at my husband with what is commonly known in my family as “Mom’s death stare.” There was silence for about sixty seconds until I threw my head back and laughed hysterically.
I couldn’t help myself. The scene was just too comical and my husband’s words resonated so deeply that I just had to laugh. What spouse doesn’t just want the other to do what they say? I want it all the time. No more honest words have ever been spoken between a couple and the glory of that honesty gave me one of the biggest belly laughs of my life. Luckily, my husband caught the humor, as did my younger children, and the four of us stood there laughing while the dog looked at us as if we had lost our minds.
We ended up going my way on the walk. (My husband would say, “Of course we did. We always do what Lisa wants.”) I wound up hitchhiking a ride to our car (Don’t even ask about my husband’s reaction to that move.) and drove back to pick up my ragged family and filthy dog. The rest of the trip was far more organized, because my husband packed maps, food, water, tons of bug spray, and even a dew rag for him. It was one of our favorite family trips with one of our favorite “we got lost” stories.
Communication Cures Conflict
There are so many days when I think of my husband yelling those words at me and I smile when I think of it. Marriage hasn’t always been easy for us. We both have very strong opinions and personalities. We both are sure that we alone are right and the other is wrong. We’ve battled our way to a happy marriage, but the battles weren’t easy on any of us. Would I do it differently if I had the chance? I’m not sure, because I really like where we ended up.
I’ve learned so many lessons from my married life and my husband. But the greatest lesson is learning that being completely honest about what we want from each other is what has kept us together. We don’t always do what the other wants. My husband would say that I rarely do. But when we know what the other wants, we can address it and either agree or come up with alternatives. We can’t read each other’s minds. It’s easy to assume that we know what the other wants, but we are often wrong.Honesty is the best weapon in the battle for a happy marriage. Click To Tweet
My husband wanted me to listen to him. Who could blame him? Sometimes I want him to go to the grocery store. Who could blame me? Sometimes we will do that for each other and sometimes we won’t, but when we don’t talk about it, a big angry pink elephant filled with resentment grows in our family room. We just don’t have enough room in our house for that elephant and really, elephants don’t belong in the house. However, I do know of a really nice tar pit in Wisconsin that might be perfect for a pink elephant.
Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. PCC
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by Dr. Lisa Kaplin
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About Lisa Kaplin, Psy. D, PCC
Certified Life Coach and Psychologist at Smart Women Inspired Lives.
I’m the proud owner of Smart Women Inspired Lives, where I help overwhelmed and exhausted women move from the feeling of being “stuck” into a life filled with calm, confidence, and joy. In addition to the posts and articles I write, I offer individual and group life coaching sessions, classes and speaking engagement opportunities.
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|Keep Feeling and Keep Breathing|
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