When I Go Off on a Rant
Why won’t he answer his phone?
I dial again. I’m trying to reach Jeff, my husband. We said we’d meet up at the horse statue, but I already walked past it and I have a better idea now. I need to talk to him to decide a new meeting place to save us some walking time before the ballgame we’re going to.
But Jeff is still not picking up my call.
I call him twice more. Still no answer. Frustrated, I turn around. I give up. I retrace my steps back to the horse statue.
When I finally see Jeff, I’m a little angry. Not only my words, but also my tone reflects this emotion.
If you would just listen for my calls more often, this wasted time (and steps) could have been avoided and we would have already been at the basketball game.
I blather on. Blah, blah, blah.
Jeff takes it in stride, says he’s sorry, and we walk on.
Now my own phone is ringing.
The Butt Dial
The call is from Jeff’s mom, my sweet mother-in-law. She says she saw that I had called her, so she’s returning my call.
I quickly look at my Recent Calls as we talk. Indeed I had accidentally called my mother-in-law just minutes ago from my phone in my pocket. The record shows the call lasted 3 minutes.
It dawns on me what I’ve just done.
While I had been lecturing her son, my phone had been capturing it all in a 3-minute voice message to my mother-in-law’s phone. Even if she couldn’t catch my exact words through my jeans’ pocket, she probably caught my tone. This is not good.
Ugh. I feel horrible.
I briefly explain to her that my call was just a butt dial. And thankfully, she shows no sign of having overheard my 3-minute rant, neither my words nor tone (or else she has already forgiven me). She’s as pleasant and kind as always.
I escaped this time. But Jeff had heard me lecturing him. I knew I had been too harsh. I apologize to him. He quickly forgives me. Now I need to forgive myself.
Love Every Day
If you need more grace, too, in your relationships with others as well as yourself, here’s a book of 365 love practices that I’ve just finished sampling. I’m pledging to start it again on January 1 and read it daily in 2024.
It’s called Love Every Day: 365 Relational Self-Awareness Practices to Help Your Relationship Heal, Grow, and Thrive by Dr. Alexandra H. Solomon, a clinical psychologist.
In Love Every Day, Dr. Solomon gives 365 short practices for developing healthier relationships, including relational self-awareness questions. The daily lessons don’t take long to read, but their impact can last much longer if we’ll put them into use.
Here are some excerpts I’ve already highlighted from Love Every Day.
“Instead of asking, ‘Why didn’t you do X?’ try asking, ‘What kept you from doing X?’”
~ * ~
“You and your partner will stand again and again at decision points that require asking three questions: What do I need? What do you need? What do we need?”
~ * ~
“Our relationships tend to need less problem-solving and advice and more space-holding and empathy.”
~ * ~
“Overreacting may mean that you buried your feelings about earlier slights.”
~ * ~
“Shift your binary stance of ‘You versus Me’ to the relational stance of ‘You and Me versus The Problem’.”
~ * ~
“Just because something is hard does not mean you’re doing it wrong.”
~ * ~
We all mess up time and again with our partners, like I overreacted with Jeff about not answering his phone. These blunders are a given. The real progress comes in the reconnecting work.
So along with the mishaps, may we also continue to empower ourselves with the right tools to love better every day.
My thanks to NetGalley + PESI Publishing
for the review copy of Love Every Day
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