(Two posts in one day – another small miracle! What can I say? A lot of stuff has been going on lately!)
Last weekend when Mr. J was making room for my shit in his bedroom, he started going through his own shit to better configure his closet.
And he came across a letter.
It was a letter from The Ex. Well, not really a letter – it was more like a litany of complaints.
He gave it to me to read. And I was so upset after I finished reading it – it was short, about half a page long – I had to go downstairs to give him a hug.
I only read it once. I didn’t memorize it, nor do I have an eidetic memory.
But reading it once was enough to remember what she wrote to him. In this letter she wrote that she didn’t like how he never talked about how he was feeling. That she felt that she shouldn’t have to write things down for him. (Maybe so he could read it later and process it on his own rather than having you yell at him?) So she did. She wrote that she:
*didn’t like that the house was always a disaster;
*thought that they had no family life;
*didn’t like how much beer he drank;
*didn’t like how much he slept – she thought that if he slept as much as he did then he must be depressed;
And ended it by saying she was “about ready to pack it in”.
I don’t know how long ago she wrote it. It was not dated. Nor was it signed.
But as soon as I read it I wiped a tear from my eye and went downstairs to find Mr J., who was rifling through a box, organizing stuff.
I pulled him into a sweaty hug and said what I always say to him.
“I will always have your back”.
I also said, “I know you sleep a lot because you work shitty shifts. If sleeping means you can stay up until the kids go to bed and still have sex with me, then nap away.”
I also said, “I will help you clean the house so that we both have more time to do things together, and with the kids.”
And ended it with, “I love you so much”.
He hugged me tight, and kissed my neck. He didn’t speak. But what this letter did, for me anyway, was to show me how to do things the right way. If we get to a point where we aren’t communicating and we do have to resort to writing things down, I want to make sure that I do it in a constructive way. I want to write:
“I worry about how much beer you drink. If you are feeling stressed, let’s talk about it. And thank you for doing it when we are alone and not the week we have the kids living with us.”
“I hate that the house is always a disaster. Let’s make a plan to do cleaning every Sunday morning after breakfast. The more we work together, the faster it gets done.”
“I hate that your job wears you out so much that you have to spend so much time sleeping. I know how rough it is on your body and I hate seeing you exhausted. I know you want to be available and energetic to spend time with the kids at night.”
“We have no family life. So maybe we should agree that Friday nights with the kids are movie nights. Let’s all get into our PJs, put down our electronic devices, crawl into the king size bed and all watch a movie together.”
“I love you so much and I will always have your back.”
Maybe it’s just me, but I think that working together to find a solution is better than laying blame and complaining.
And while the letter was likely written in anger and frustration… she did make good on her threat to pack it in.
And it has shown to be a great example of what not to do in order to be respectful to the person you love most in the world.
Am I wrong?