I woke up this morning just feeling so regretful I had told B the things I did last night. When she didn’t understand that part in the movie I basically said “If you don’t know that, how can I trust you understand anything? I know you’re trying to become a spiritual director, but if I were your student I don’t know if I’d really trust what you had to say.”
So yeah, that’s horrible. Way to ruin someone, R. I tried to cushion it by saying “You have incredibly insightful things sometimes but I don’t want people to write you off because you say dumb-sounding stuff. I’d love for you to say you’ll try to work on it, instead of always saying it’s my rOCD. When you told me I missed like 5 things when I was trying to help you in the kitchen, I was concerned and expressed a desire to change. I would like to hear the same from you.”
But still, I said some horrible and unfair things and I felt desperate this morning. I prayed for a long time. “Why is this so hard? Where are you, God? It seems like I’m still at where I’ve always been! Where are you!?”
Today I received 4 unexpected phone calls. I meant not to talk much about B, because I imagine everyone is tired and frustrated from hearing my broken record complaints and anxiety regarding her. But they asked and I was honest.
You know what I realized in the last few minutes of the last conversation? I think they all had one thing in common. They said something to the effect of “Focus on the positives.”
Apparently John Gottman wrote marriage books and says to change a situation like I’m in, get in the habit of writing a bunch of affirmations of what you like about your partner. Things they’ve done that you love. Reasons that you are grateful to have them. I think I’ll do that.
My brother suggested a couple things along those lines too. I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet of how I feel about our dates. I think I probably have almost every date for two years recorded with a few memories and an associated score between -5 and +5. It helps me look at how many good days we’ve had when I’m just feeling like we have nothing but bad days. I’m trending about 1.7.
But my brother suggested stop marking the negative scores. You don’t need any help remembering those. Just focus on the positives.
He also said, maybe you need a physical reminder in your pocket or something that reminds you of your favorite things about B. So that in those moments you’re fighting negative thoughts, you can go to those for help.
So, maybe God did come through. I asked him for help, and it seems caring people who I didn’t even ask for help all called and happened to have the same advice. I’ll receive that.
I think sometimes God likes to give to us from other people, so that not only do we get to enjoy the goodness of God, but we get to embrace little versions of him in the flesh.