“Date Night” with My BP Hubby

Something interesting has been happening at home recently. We began a date-night ritual which, for us, consists of a 45 min. – 1 hr. outing. It is not a romantic date. It is just a time for us to go out and take care of a small errand that we don’t find stressful and we catch up with each other at the same time. There are no heavy-duty conversations. So far (we did this 4 times) my BP has not used this time to one-up me, blame me, complain or rant. This, my friends, is a MIRACLE!

After the first week that he offered to go out with me, I thanked him for it. I told him how much I enjoyed the small outing. I mentioned how much I enjoyed it one more time during the week and asked him if he’d have time for me the following week, as well. He said “Let’s make it into a ritual!” I was happy to hear that he enjoyed it as well.

This past week we were not able to go out together on the usual night so we made a rain-date. On the night of our rain-date, we realized that my youngest son would be home alone and very bored. We both felt that it would be the right thing to invite him along with us. My son was glad to come along and get out. We ended up going for pizza and relaxing.

This is also a breakthrough for my BP hubby. He usually tries to get possessive with me. This means that if he has me for himself he gets extremely upset if a child encroaches on his time or space. This has caused him to act in a very insensitive manner towards the children in the past. I believe that there is a time and place for everything and balance and sensitivity are of supreme importance. It was truly a sign of progress that he realized that sometimes it is correct to break from routine EVEN at a time that I was technically “his”.

I hope to keep reporting progress here!

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I Am Doing This For Love

I had two voices speaking within the other day. (I will not admit to talking to myself here.) One of them, which I can identify as “me” said that she doesn’t know what to do about the marriage. Part of the problem is that being straightforward about feelings and attitudes can blow up into a huge fight with a Borderline Personality. It’s not that my husband does not want to please. It’s that he wants to please so badly that he can’t handle the fact that maybe I want him to make a small adjustment somewhere. (This post on Borderline Babbler’s blog really woke me up to the depth of the problem.) The other thing the voice was saying is that she really wants to feel love for her husband but it’s very, very hard – now after all she’s been through.

The second voice had a great idea. Time for a new marriage experiment. I had very much enjoyed the first experiment I did called Praise and Pleasure. It did so much for me and I am happy to admit that praising my husband comes naturally now. In addition, being able to tolerate pleasure and finding new instances of giving myself pleasure has also become more natural and I am really beginning to enjoy life. I signed up for a monthly writing class, a bi-weekly voice class and a weekly yoga class. What fun!

I am ready for a new experiment, said the second voice. And here it is.

The love part in this marriage does not feel natural. I am not overflowing with love. When I do my husband a favor it is either done out of DUTY or out of RESENTMENT. And for sure not out of LOVE. This is the part I want to change. Switch out Duty to Love and the chemistry will change.

My task is to choose ONE thing a day that I will do for my husband OUT OF LOVE. I need to set the intention before I do it and let the love flow. Whether or not it’s “natural” or 100% true, is not important. I am training myself to feel love. I need to say very clearly “I am doing this for love.” Opportunities to do something for my husband out of love need not be an errand or a difficult favor. It can be calling him or answering his call, setting the table for dinner, or looking at him directly when speaking to him as opposed to fiddling around with my phone.

That night, I went to pick up his pants from the tailors. All the way there I said out loud “I am doing this because I love my husband. I am so happy to do this.” Then when he thanked me for it, I said with genuine feeling, “I am so happy that I can do this for you.” Yeah! It felt very good. I hope to find more opportunities to do this.

Note to Self ~ Taking Note of Me

Dear Sarah,

I see you. I just wanted to say. I see you.

Sometimes it seems like I am so busy and disinterested, as if I am this all important executive who does not have time to notice you. Maybe I am very important. But the first person I am important to is YOU. I exist because of you, for your sake and within you. There is no separate reality that I contain or maintain. We are one.

Therefore, even though I often forget to look at you and I often forget to see  your sweet features and daily activities – I want you to know that I am committed to noticing you more. You are my purpose here and you are my celebrity and my fantasy. I only have eyes for you.

When you wake up, I’m excited. When you get dressed in the morning, I’m delighted. When you put one foot in front of the other and step into the lion’s den every day to see how hungry he is (is that a terrible analogy?!?! One day I’ll stop this negativity!!) I am right there with you, rooting for you and painting a picture of wholeness and beauty. I want your day to go swell. I want your life to be peaceful. I am there with you all day long and each time I stop to see you and notice you, I will set the intention to make it a peaceful day.

I love you and I am with you always.

Love, Inner Sarah

Pleasure Feeding Praise

So, I was telling my counselor about my new daily dual practice of giving my Borderline husband one sincere compliment a day and of giving myself one intentional pleasurable experience per day.

She pointed out something very profound about these two practices. She said that the practice of praising and building my spouse is very important and helpful. When he feels good about himself, he can function better in all areas – as a husband, father and person among persons. A problem can arise if I am coming from a place of lack and feel drained. I won’t have the energy to give that sincere praise and point out his positives and I may create a negative cycle of focusing on the negative and feeling down.

When I nurture myself and find ways to fill myself daily with legitimate pleasures that I enjoy – it fills me with positive energy and builds me. I then can give to my husband from a place of abundance and overflow.

I am happy that I have been able to keep things open and flowing between us through this daily practice. One thing at a time. One day at a time.