In order for you to understand where this is going, I’m going to show you what my week’s schedule has/will look(ed) like.
- Sunday: Time with Little of Big Brothers Big Sisters. (Mall/Trying on hats. Fun!)
- Monday: School. Jog, Cook,Clean,etc. Homework.
- Tuesday: Jog. Work 1-9:30. Should be doing homework but am instead blogging about how I should be doing homework.
- Wednesday:School. Radio show. Homework . Jog,Cook,Clean,etc.
- Thursday: Work,Jog,Homework,etc. Start my second radio show/podcast as a news girl. (nervous!)
- Friday:School. Bowling league. Going out?
- Saturday: Work 1-9:30. Homework.
This is very similar to every week for me. In between all of this is friends,social events, and other life happenings. Husband has started to feel neglected. I love being busy but still sometimes feel grouchy and tired and I know I take my stress out on him. We’ve recently discovered the weight of marriage. It’s full of compromise and understanding and learning how not to get the last word in. This is scary for me.
As a kid and as a young teenager, I was constantly grounded. Constantly and for weeks at a time. You’d think I would eventually learn my lesson, as I was usually in trouble for the same thing everytime. I was never a bad kid but developed pride issues at a very young age. I had to be the last one to speak. My parents and I would be arguing, and one of them would tell me, “That’s it Christina. One more word. Say one more word and you’re grounded for a week.” Every single time I knew what was coming. And every single time I would have to say that last word. It felt so darn satisfying at the time. A week later as I sat in my bed, listening to my friend’s play outside, I wondered why it was so important that I had to get that stupid word out.
Now here I am, years later, still having to get the last word in. The really bad thing about this is my husband is just as stubborn and ALSO feels the need to speak last. I find it funny that I am the oldest sibling in my family and he is the youngest. It’s truly like we’re fighting a sibling battle at times. Sometimes we’ll even make it into a joke when we’re play-fighting. He’ll say “Okay.” and then I’ll say “Okay” and we’ll both end up whispering so it’s barely audible in order to win our game.
But there are times when it’s not as fun. I’ve learned in adulthood,as I’ve made the same mistake I did in childhood time and again, that having the last word is not just a matter of pride. It’s an unnwillingness to close your mouth and open your heart to what someone else may be feeling. It’s a refusal to care. In having the last word, everything anyone else may be saying or trying to get through is spoken but not heard. Being so focused on being right, on saying why you’re right, blocks us out to why anyone else may have a valid point. It’s basically saying, “You are not as important as what I need to say right now.” Having the last word is a war all in itself. The scariest part is that when two people are arguing but only hearing themselves…It’s a war no one will ever win.
Last night the husband and I stayed up until 3 am, at first arguing for hours. I think around 1:30 something finally sunk in and we stopped. We stopped and we actually heard the other. I heard him tell me that he feels I don’t have time for him, that his world revolves around me but that he feels he comes last. I listened when he told me that he feels I don’t see all he does for me, that I care so much about everything else and everyone else that I forget about him. And then he listened. He listened to me when I told him that though I do have a lot going on, I still try to make time for him. To cook and clean and take care of the house. To come home to him every night. That in doing all that I do, it’s not just for me but for both of our futures. I admitted to him that I was completely overwhelmed but I was doing the best that I could. We stopped symbolically saying “Na-na-na-na, I’m not listening!” with our hands over our ears. We took in what the other was saying and were not in a battle to simply be the right one with the last word. We took turns telling our sides. We both said “You’re right.” more than once.
I think I’ll always find myself wanting to feel the satisfaction of the last word. I’m stubborn and prideful and it’s genuinely hard for me to bite my tongue. I’ve come to learn though, that there are things much more satisfying that speaking last. I’ve seen one too many relationships–marriages,friendships, families,–torn apart by the need to talk instead of listen. To get a point across instead of hearing someone else’s point. And I know there’s a point where it’s too late. A point where someone feels the need to say awful,disgusting things just so they can feel that they were finally heard. The point where so many horrible things have been said that both parties have turned cold. A wall that goes up so high that there’s no going back. I don’t want to turn cold. I don’t want to turn anyone I love cold. I don’t want walls involved in any relationship I have. I want it to be different with me and Robby. With my friends and family. As much as I love running my mouth, there are things more important. The feeling of saying “You’re right, I’m wrong” is way underrated. It brings out so many things that are so easily forgotten and so underused. Understanding. Empathy. Having healthy,meaningful relationships. Being a grown up. Cuddling. Kisses. Working it out. Love. Yep. Love is more than important than me getting the last word in. I admit it. And maybe if I can admit it, somebody else can too. I can’t help but think that this world would be a much happier place if we’d all lay our verbal armor down and just listen. If we were willing to just shut-up and hear somebody else out. I know that won’t ever happen. But tonight,I’m kissing my husband and going to sleep with his arms around me. I’m admitting that sometimes I am wrong, and he is right. And that’s good enough for me.