Steve’s first wife, Lou, died of breast cancer in 1988. He remarried but divorced 17 years later. I was married for 25 years before divorcing. With 56 years of marital experience under our belts, Steve and I are working hard to do it right this time. Based on how many people have said that they couldn’t live on a boat with their spouse and how good we work together, I think we do married pretty good. But, sometimes, I need a bigger boat.
As a young woman, I was an intense, driven, judgmental, impatient, demanding perfectionist who paid way too much attention to detail. One day, I paid some attention to myself and decided that I didn’t like being an intense, driven, judgmental, impatient, demanding perfectionist. Wanting to be a different person, I read self-help books and went to personal development workshops. I started doing yoga and learned about being in the present moment. Today, I am a recovering perfectionist working toward being a better “ME”, but sometimes I need a bigger boat.
Steve is a self-aware guy. That was one of the things I noticed right off and really liked when we first met. He knows his strengths, his weaknesses, what he likes, what he dislikes. He has strong opinions but typically he’s okay with agreeing to disagree. He doesn’t like to screw up but admits it when he does and learns from his mistake. He apologizes if he thinks he’s wrong. And that’s why sometimes I need a bigger boat.
You see, sometimes Steve gets grumpy and behaves in such a way that I get pissed off. When I tell him that his behavior has upset me, he apologizes for upsetting me which pisses me off even more because that means he is NOT sorry for how he behaved. So I give him the silent treatment and that’s when I need a bigger boat. It’s hard to ignore someone you literally cannot get away from.
Ridiculous? Definitely. This is one thing we need to work harder on. Thankfully, this ridiculousness doesn’t happen very often but last week we were in Raleigh visiting our kids and guess what?
Steve got grumpy and pissed me off so I gave him the silent treatment while pretending not to give him the silent treatment in front of the kids. It was a challenging couple of days but there was an end in sight. For me, a trip to the beach with my daughters, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter and for Steve, a visit with his brother in Chocowinity.
At North Myrtle Beach, the world revolves around the granddaughter until her 7 PM bedtime. Then, it’s three 20-something and one 50-something girls gone wild. We sit around the kitchen table and eat, talk, laugh, play games, confide, listen, commiserate, and reminisce. We watch “I’m a Snake” on You Tube. (How can such a stupid a video be so hilarious?) We drink too much. (Oh. Maybe that’s how.) We stay up way too late and get up early to do it all over again. A grand time is had by all and then? Then, it’s time to go back to Raleigh.
Steve meets me at the door. I’m not mad at him anymore. We’re back to working hard at doing married good. On the drive back to Solomons, I resolve to not let the intense, driven, judgmental, impatient, demanding perfectionist get the better of me the next time Steve gets grumpy. No getting pissed off. No silent treatment. No needing a bigger boat. Yes, the better “ME” will just accept that sometimes Steve gets grumpy. Either that or I will just go back to North Myrtle Beach….