Sheila, Retired Laura Doyle Certified Relationship Coach
Our anniversary starts like any other day. As far as I know, we do not have anything special planned.
On this morning, I ask myself, “How do I feel? What do I want?”
I feel full of happy reserves and a yummy lightness in my heart. I have been honoring what makes me happy with lots of delicious self-care and saying no to stressors.
What do I want? I want to celebrate our thirty-two-year anniversary.
I snuggle up to my hubby like an enamored schoolgirl and say, “Happy Anniversary, Baby. I am so happy you are my husband.”
He responds, “You better be. Wow, with all that’s going on, I forgot about it.”
How do I feel now?
Hurt! Disappointed! Angry!
How could he forget our anniversary after 32 years of marriage?
But rather than say that, I decide to use a certain gesture.
No, not that gesture!
Instead of showing how mad I am that he forgot, I use a gesture that saves our anniversary.
1. How I Got Myself Out of Needless Emotional Turmoil
Not too long ago, my mind would have gone to fear about what my husband wasn’t doing instead of shifting to gratitude. My rose-colored glasses were hijacked by my Needless Emotional Turmoil, or NET.
Now I get to swat away the NET with a flourish of the hand.
What used to become a blowup is now an opportunity for peace and understanding. Full of a strong Spouse-Fulfilling Prophecy in my heart that he is powerful at shifting his thoughts to find connection with me, I choose patience and wait for him to process his thinking.
2. Awww, He Said the Sweetest Thing!
I remain silent. Now I instinctively know to give him space while he is thinking. Thank God for the “duct tape” I have been using to get comfortable with silence. Priceless!
He says, “I am happy you are my wife.”
Big win! My shift to gratitude is creating a shift in him too.
I hug and kiss him. And say, “I want to acknowledge our thirty-two-year anniversary.”
No you’s or should’s in sight. I am getting good at expressing my pure desires!
He says, “It’s early. Let’s walk and I will think about it.”
Wow! He used to get so uncomfortable when his plans altered. Because of my reliable efforts not to display any pressure, guilt or resentment, his natural tendency to want to be my hero is trumping his need to protect his plans as if they were gold.
3. This Inspired Him to Be My Hero
I am proud to say my tireless work keeping my side of the street clean has shifted his thinking. He now gets to be safe to think freely.
I jump up with joy to walk with him on this beautiful South Florida day!
As usual, our walk is filled with light sharing. He loves to get political and to share his poker strategies with me. I have learned that this is important for him, so I practice receiving with a lot of “I hear you!”
Receiving graciously has stopped any resentment that I am not getting what I want. I now look forward to mornings with my hubby. Nights are for my rest and self-care while he is free to have fun playing poker.
4. This Was Not What I Wanted to Experience
After our walk, I find him on his phone. The first thing that flies into my mind is Oh, no—he is checking out!
I swat away that NET with a flourish of the hand. I notice that I actually move my hand now as I process this.
I smile and blow him a kiss.
He says, “I was planning to play poker, but now I am looking at the band schedule on the beach.”
“Thank you!” I reply. “I appreciate that you would rearrange your plans for us to have fun. I would love that. What do you think?”
“Farraddays Steakhouse at the Isle Casino in Pompano,” he says.
I used to feel casinos to be a source of pain since he plays a lot of poker there. Recently, however, I have embraced them as destinations for our control-free dates. With lots of receiving, I have discovered they are fun with great entertainment.
We have a lovely dinner at Farraddays. The waitress offers to have the chef make me the special dish I want.
My husband tells me, “See, you’re getting what you desire!”
Win! It feels great to hear him acknowledge how good I’ve gotten at expressing my desires.
After dinner, my husband is thinking out loud about whether we should wait an hour in the casino lobby for the band.
5. To Make Me Happy, He Needed to Know This
With a flourish of the hand, I swat away my discomfort and NET about having to stand around waiting. With my rose-colored glasses on, I see he is thinking of my comfort. Time to bring out a desire!
I say, “I would love to see a good band and have fun.”
He says, “You’re right. Let’s go.”
In the car, he gets on the phone. I swat away the NET with a flourish of the hand.
A-ha moment: The phone, which used to be such a source of disconnection, is now a source of having my desires met!
He says, “Coconut Creek Casino has three bands playing there.” He proceeds as my navigator to tell me which lane to drive in.
I feel some NET. If I were driving by myself I would be fine without instructions. Swat!—with a flourish of the hand.
Would it be worth the loss of intimacy if I told him to stop? No, it would take me out of the fun zone.
So I say “Sure!” with a smile.
The band is the best cover band we’ve ever seen! We have an amazing time.
6. This is How He Responded When I Was Real
At one point I am really getting into the music dancing, and I see my husband laughing at me. NET bubbles up. Do I not look good? I swat it away with a flourish of the hand.
He quips that I’m acting like a sixteen-year-old girl.
How do I feel? Oh no! Do I look silly? Swat with a flourish of the hand.
Immediately, I realize I’m being the real me! I feel sixteen again.
I’m not pretending to act the way I think a fifty-something-year-old woman should be acting! I am my Girl of Fun and Light. And he’s dancing too!
So what started out as a potential disaster, my husband forgetting our anniversary, ends up with him being my hero on our special day.
My plan for next year is to bathe in the joy of knowing that by transforming myself with the Six Intimacy Skills™, I get to swat away the NET and feel more relaxed, dignified and taken care of.
We all deserve to feel cherished and adored!