Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Newlywed Moment wherein I Learn Valuable Lessons About Life

"For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness."

That Ralph Waldo Emerson really knew what he was talking about. I stumbled upon this quote today and subsequently had a revelation of sorts which I will now share with you:

This morning, I got mad at my husband. I think it was the first time in our 7 month marriage that I've ever been really upset with him. At the very least, I know it was the first time that I've ever wanted to behave in a way that would hurt him so that I could 'get back at him'. The thing was, though, that it didn't start out as anger; it started out as hurt. Man, he hurt my feelings. And then I got embarrassed. And then I cried. And then he didn't apologize. And then he rolled over and fell asleep. And THEN...anger.

Interestingly, for some reason I was really in tune with my emotions during this entire fiasco. I remember very clearly the transition from being hurt to being embarrassed to being angry and, more importantly, I remember consciously deciding that I was going to say angry until he woke up so that I could 'show him'.

An inner battle began to rage as I went back and forth in my mind with myself about this decision:

The rational/reasonable part of my brain which ironically sounds a lot like my father:
This is ridiculous. He is sleeping. So literally the only person who is being hurt by your anger is you.

The emotional/dramatic part of my brain which is responsible for all of my mistakes, but which also gets kudos for many of my creative endeavors:
You're right. I need to let it go. *pause* No. No! He needs to make a mends for the mistake he made and for making me cry. He made me cry!

The rational part:
But you could be happy right now.

The dramatic part:
That's ridiculous. I'm not happy. He made me be not happy. I'm going to make him be not happy until he fixes things and makes me happy again.

The rational part:
You're not even comfortable on the couch.

The dramatic part:
What care I for such trifles as comfort?! (Told you she's dramatic) I'm taking a stand! I'm making a point! I want him to feel sad when he wakes up and I'm not there! *evil laugh* *bitter sigh*

The rational part:
Suit yourself.

So I stayed angry. To my credit, I didn't say anything mean to him when he got up and came over to talk things out. I didn't try to punish him or anything, I just talked to him and told him what had happened and why my soul had been crushed by his actions. (okay, I'm not gonna lie to you people, I rule at guilt-trips. Curse my dark gifts!) But I decided to stay angry because I wanted him to come over and find out what was wrong. I think part of the reason I chose to stay mad was because I just didn't know how else to be taken care of by him in the way I needed to be taken care of. *light bulb* Maybe I should talk to him about that, actually. Because honestly, I still don't know a more effective way to begin those kinds of conversations besides pouting until he asks what's wrong. But there has to be a better way. Hm. More pondering to come. But I digress.

The point is, that was one of the many times in my life when I made a conscious decision to choose a certain mood. I became very aware that I was choosing it and that it wasn't making me happy, but I decided to choose it anyway.

So then this evening, I stumbled upon the quote I referenced at the beginning of this entry and that's when it hit me: how sad is it that I gave up those few hours of happiness this morning? There aren't very many hours to live on this earth and I consciously chose to give away a couple of those precious hours to anger. What a dumb choice. There I lay, stewing in my own bitterness, just so that I could stay angry so that he and I could figure things out later. Miserable.

So. Lessons learned:
1. When that rational part of my brain pipes up, I should listen more frequently.

2. I need to find a different way to communicate what's going on in my mind to my husband other than pouting until he asks what's wrong.

3. I'm going to decide to be forgiving and happy in lieu of being bitter and angry. I'm not going to waste anymore seconds on anger! (okay...maybe sometimes I will...but I'm gonna try really hard not to. Especially not on purpose.) Who's with me???


  1. Here's what you do. I will write it in conversation format, so it is easy to follow.

    Shem: *comes into the room*

    Bean: Hey, babe, can we talk?

    Shem: Yeah, what's up?

    Bean: Well, I'm kind of bummed, and I know you can't solve all of my problems, but it really hurt me when you said/did (insert here).

    Shem: Wow, babe, I'm really sorry about that. Let me make you some chocolate cake.

    Bean: That sounds wonderful.

    Ok, so the last part was silly, but you get the point.

  2. So.... we have parallel relationship problems. I swear I had that exact same conversation in my head the other night before Matt and I went to sleep. haha.