There is a lot of mystery in human relationships. I grew up experiencing tension in my house on a regular basis, so as an adult I like to have everything cut and dried when it comes to my relationships. I don't like secrets and mysteries and loaded conversations where an engine is churning underneath the words and I'm working to figure out what is really going on.
Not everyone likes clear and honest communication. I find safety in it, where others find panic and too much vulnerability. I must respect the preferences of others, as they must respect mine, and in that middle place is where the mystery resides. I hate guessing with my friendships - wondering what the other person is thinking and feeling because it isn't clear to me, and I don't feel I can ask as that will make the person uncomfortable and defensive.
I don't know how to work these grey areas out. I know what I want, but I don't know what the other person wants, and asking them seems to go badly. Very slowly I'm learning something about myself as I work through these roadblocks. I'm discovering what I can give up and what I cannot. There is a time to pretend not to notice what's under the surface, and a place to back off so I have space to recover, be myself and find those I can be real with.
Lowering our expectations is a never ending battle. We think we have done the job, and then something else comes at us and we must re-evaluate and see where we have taken a detour and expected too much from someone who isn't able to give what we need. These things take time, and patience, and layers of grace to work our way through them. I'm relieved to know that I can look to other people for the needs I have for friendship, authority figures, mentoring and support. We can build a community of people, over a long period of time, who can meet some of our needs and heal what is broken from our childhoods.
We can also improve ourselves so that our children have less to work through when they become adults. I love that my kids are growing up in a home which is free of the kind of unresolved tension I lived with. Jason and I have many disagreements and arguments, but we talk them through, compromise and find a resolution that brokers peace in our home.
I am more afraid of unresolved conflict than I am of the fight, as I know firsthand how unsettling ongoing tension is for a child. I don't want an elephant standing in the corner of every room of my house. In this way, I am creating a better experience for my kids to grow up in.