PEANUT BUTTER on KNIVES
I (Nathaniel) am wondering, is there anyone out there that is like I used to be? I mean, I can still be this way so don’t let me mislead you, but seriously let me talk it out with you and see if you can relate to one side or the other and I’ll try to stick to “I” and “Me” statements. I’ll try not get all preachy as if I can correct you, because that is actually at the root of my thoughts today.
In the past, if I read an advice column, a daily Bible reading or something else meaningful and life correcting I could easily leave a sticky note for my wife to correct some behavior she had that I didn’t like, or I could tell her about it with an excitement in my voice as if I’d found the fix that would make us both happy. I am sure it made me feel pretty good to be helpful to her, to fix her and even on top of it all I’d feel really content to know that when she fixed this and read these words I would then also be happier.
How naïve and selfish of me to think such things.
How would my wife in her right mind want to be intimate with a critical and correcting husband? Why would my wife find me sexy if I am constantly correcting and nit-picking at her while never correcting my own faults and weaknesses?
I can look back upon what we have built together with over 600 days of intimacy in a row(yes, you read that right we made it to 600) and see that we could not have made it this far if I hadn’t stopped this behavior, or at least corrected it. I can be honest I’m not perfect and I still begin to do it from time to time, but I realized long ago she’s not going to find me physically attractive if once a day I am criticizing her for leaving peanut butter on knives in the dishwasher or for her overreaction to our boys. How blind was I? The Bible verse about the plank in the eye comes to mind here, do not judge my wife for the spec in her eye while walking around with a plank in my own eye that blinds me to my own faults. I needed to lower myself and elevate her. I was still overreacting to our boys at times myself, but I was being critical of her when she did it and unfortunately not being critical of myself. She was leaving peanut butter on knives, but I was leaving clothes on the bathroom floor. She was leaving dishes piling in the sink, but I was ignoring the full dishwasher and not helping around the house when she was overwhelmed. As if my day job outside the house was somehow more stressful than her stressful home school job with our sometimes rough and tumble boys.
I cannot find happiness in fixing all my wife’s flaws.
How or when did things change? When I quit holding onto my negative attitude. When I started seeing the positives in the wife I love so much, feel so fondly for and when I started wanting to pursue her like I did before we married. I began to be blind, to an extent, to the things that I held over her head. I began emptying out the dishwasher every single morning before work so she’d be able to keep the sink empty during the day. I stopped criticizing her for peanut butter on knives and she stopped complaining about my clothes on the floor. We still joke about this stuff sometimes when we mess it up or leave it for the other. But we are not hurting each other through criticism and belittling on a constant basis as we once did so naturally.
Our joy and positivity started with us starting a sex streak together. In order to feel safe and loving and intimate emotionally and to stay intimate physically we had to both learn to let things go better and work through negative focus faster because there is constantly a million things in a day that can deter from a positive focus on our marriage, each other and even our own personal self worth.
Joy does not have to come through physical intimacy, it really comes through being emotionally connected and genuinely cared for by the one I love the most. The one I dedicated my life to when we said “I do” for better or worse. At times there can be a lot of worse, no doubt about that. But a streak for us is really trying to pursue each other emotionally and mentally on a daily and weekly basis even after the wedding day and honeymoon. It is probably different for everyone and every situation.
This is part of our story and positive streak, for each other and our family.