My husband and I are under a lot of stress right now. My husband’s sister (with whom he is very close) is dying, our son wants to drop out of school, our business is failing, we have so many debts it will take a lifetime to pay them off, and we’re working 7 days/week just to keep our heads above water.
To say we’re under a lot of stress would be an understatement.
And sometimes the stress gets the better of us and we fight or withdraw or otherwise disconnect. But more often than not, that’s not what happens. We each want to support and love the other, and we both know that every moment we spend alone together is precious, and we make the most of it.
When we first got married we would not have had a strong enough marriage to weather the current storms, but now things are different. When we have time together, whether a few hours one evening or a half an hour lunch break (which we don’t usually take, but maybe once or twice a week we stop work and eat lunch together) we try to make it special.
In times of stress, it’s even more important than usual to do things for each other that make life sweet, and for us it is even more important than at other times for us to express the Taken In Hand nature of our relationship. My husband is always in control, but sometimes the control is obvious while other times it’s more in the background. Now that we have so many stressors in our life, my husband is being more directly and obviously in control, physically taking me in hand a lot, telling me what to do more, and doing more that could be described as play control too. Having fun and laughing are as important as connecting and relaxing at times when life’s throwing a lot at you. I try to help my husband relax when we get a break, because I’m more able to relax than he is, and he bears the weight of responsibility for our livelihood. I do all I can to ensure that he feels appreciated, worshipped and respected. For him, feeling respected and appreciated are very important.
Most of what we do to make our moments together sweet costs nothing financially because we don’t have money to spend on dinners out, movies, etc. We’ve found that the best things in life really are free. We go for a walk and appreciate the sunrise before work. We play in the kids’ playground when all the kids are gone, pushing each other on the swings. We give each other a back rub or a foot bath or a shoulder massage. We tickle each other until he wrestles me to the ground and takes me, pinning my wrists above my head. We go to the store together and make a date of it, giggling and playing and sometimes buying a special treat like a 67c box of candy. We watch TV together and talk. We read books to each other and talk. We surprise each other. We turn the mundane into an adventure or find a way to laugh together.
I try to do yoga every day, as it distresses me like nothing else. A couple days ago I was doing my yoga and my husband commanded me to strip naked and do it naked in front of him. I did, and boy did we have a good night! My husband has now ordered me to do yoga daily, which excites me even though I do try to do it daily anyway.
My husband and I saw a TV show reporting about a Saudi Arabian Islamic “Dr. Phil” telling husbands how to beat their wives (“the beatings must be light and must not make her face ugly. He must beat her where it will not leave marks.”) and my husband started teasing me about my being a woman and remarked that I need a beating, and commanded me to fetch his belt. I slept particularly well last night. :)
Tonight we’re going out on a date night. My husband insisted I take the afternoon off to pamper myself and take the time I like to take (for ever, he says) to get ready. What are we doing for this grand date? We’re going window-shopping in the local mall! I don’t know exactly what will happen but I can guarantee that we’ll be enjoying ourselves a lot more than most couples out for an expensive dinner and a movie. Because we know how precious our time together is, and (most of the time!) we choose to make the most of what we have, instead of feeling miserable and stressed by what we don’t have.