It was a good thing to go to Edmonton as a family yesterday morning. Jason and I really needed a chance to reconnect and talk, when there had been too much distance between us. A 2 hour car ride was just what the doctor ordered. William played his Leapster, Ava devoured every inch of her American Girl catalogue, and their little voices chattering away was our background for a long discussion.
I love making connections between what's bothering me and something that has gone before in my life. I'm learning that when I'm more upset than the current situation warrants, there is a deeper connection and I must discover it and face it in order to move on from it. I prayed and asked God what the trouble really was, and I got the answer.
When we were first married, I really struggled with my fears whenever we had a fight or disagreement. My parents argued a lot, and eventually divorced, so that panic reaction that things were falling apart was my go-to in times of marital stress. It took us many years to sort this out, recognize it as it was happening, and deal with it.
Our relationship has been very stable in the last few years, with small ups and downs regarding the kids and regular life, but it's been a long time since I experienced that sharp worry that our marriage was failing and I was going to be on my own. When I feel threatened, I pull away and quietly punish the person who I perceive to be hurting me. It's my standard defense mechanism, and it caused a lot of issues between Jason and I for the last couple of weeks.
Something wonderful happens when you isolate the cause of your pain and uncertainty: it all melts away into the background once its been identified. You immediately feel less crazy, and your life makes sense to you again. Counseling has really helped me in great periods of stress because you learn to recognize these "aha!" moments, and now it seems I have the skills to make those connections on my own. It's a really good feeling, because it solves problems in both immediate and long-term ways.
We talked, for the entire drive to West Edmonton Mall, and then we had an incredibly fun day together. We ate lunch at Tony Roma's on Bourbon Street, bringing back lots of good memories for me, and then we walked the mall, looking at pirate ships and ice rinks and wave pools and all of the fun things West Ed has to offer. We finished the afternoon by seeing Shrek Forever After in 3D, which the kids loved, and then came to our hotel for the night.
I worked at being spontaneous, and having fun that wasn't overly planned. I loved it. Jason and I were connected again, because we took the time to work out some of the issues that were forcing us apart. Even the tiniest crack in a marriage can become a large chasm over time, so it is satisfying to patch it up sooner rather than later and enjoy feeling close to each other once again.