Be the Change

I read a quote this week that said (and I summarize) that if you want to improve your marriage, think about what it would be like to be married to you. Find those things about yourself that you wouldn’t like living with and change them.

So I puzzled it out as I took care of four children with the stomach flu, two of whom don’t understand the toilet/vomit connection. There was ample opportunity for puzzling while doing laundry, passing out popsicles, and bathing people.

My conclusion was visceral and immediate: I would totally hate being married to me. I felt a creeping sense of horror when I looked at my foibles from an outside perspective. I would drive myself straight up crazy.

I’m not vilifying myself, honestly. I know I’m not all bad. But when I stepped outside my biased interior view of myself, the unpleasant realities of my personality stood out harshly.

I’m impatient.

I fly off the handle way too much.

I think angry, unkind thoughts.

I whine.

I’m highly emotional.

I’m super judgmental about Pinterest because I hate it.

I complain too much.

When I’m stressed, I get bossy.

I don’t even know how to make homemade rolls. Seriously, what kind of woman am I?

I told Dutch that I would hate me if I were married to me. He laughed and kissed me. When I asked him how he would handle being married to someone like him, he thought about it for a minute and said, “I’d be okay with it.”

“Of course you would,” I wailed. “You and your Dutch-y wife would just veg out together, totally kicked back all the time. It would be a marriage steeped in mellow.”

Not only am I highly upset envisioning being married to someone just like me, I also have developed insane loathing for Dutch’s imaginary spouse who is just like him.

I think I missed the point of the quote about improving marriages. The point isn’t self-loathing (or imaginary other-wife loathing), but to ponder how to change bad behaviors into better ones.

So I’m going to try doing this: take deep breaths, be grateful, stifle mean thoughts with generous ones.

And smile.

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