I should have said…

“Are you nervous or excited?” I asked.

Jared looked up from his half of the admissions packet we were filling out for our new marriage counselor.  He shrugged one shoulder and contorted his lips the way he always does when he doesn’t want to talk about something.  If he could have disappeared into the brown paisley couch cushions right then and there, he would have.

“Um, well, you know,” he shrugged again, “probably both.  I guess.”

“In what way?” I probed, because we’re supposed to be working on being more open.  Therefore, I assured myself, I am completely justified in pretending to be oblivious to his discomfort.

Another shrug.

“You know, I mean, it’s good, right?” he looked to  me for confirmation.  “I mean, I want this to, you know, help.”

“Yeah, I know.  Me too.  I kind of feel like we’ve just been waiting for this part to start.”  He nodded.  I pushed.  “So… what are you nervous about?”

“I don’t know,” his shoulders were no longer shrugging, but only because his body was now permanently molded into a hunch.

I leaned back into the matching brown paisley love seat and said nothing.  I waited, trying to let him know with silence that it was OK for him to voice his fears and concerns to me.

That didn’t work.

“What are you afraid will happen?” I asked again, using my most nonchalant and nonjudgmental voice.

“You know,” the hunch shrugged, “what if she says we’re not meant to be?  What if she’s like ‘wow, you two are obviously a bad match, I don’t know how you’ve made it this long!’?”

“I don’t think that’s what she’ll say,” I whispered.

I knew I couldn’t say any more than that.  I knew, after all, where those doubts he was having came from.  I knew it was me that had planted those seeds.  I was the one who had given detailed examples of how mismatched our core personalities were, how hopeless it was for either of us to ever presume that we could make a marriage work when we were obviously so incompatible.

So I said nothing, leaned over and squeezed his hand, and finished filling out my half of the paperwork.

This morning, I’m thinking about all of the things I could have said instead of nothing.

I could have told him that…

We have a foundation.  It’s shaky and splintered and weak with holes that have eroded over the years, but it’s there.  It’s something to build on.

We love each other, personality conflicts be damned.

I should have said…

When I hurt, you hurt.  When you hurt, I want to rip apart the cause of your hurt – even if it means tearing into myself.  I want to wrap my arms around you while unleashing an angry mob on anyone that would dare do you wrong.

When I’m lost, I search for you.  The first anchor I reach for when I need to be retied to the earth is you.  And while I’ve reached for you and come up empty handed in the past, it’s still you that I grasp at when my instincts take over.

I love you.

I love your soft heart.  I love your inability to hold a grudge.  I love that you love music even though you can’t clap to the beat.  I love that you don’t give a crap if you’re off the beat, you sing and clap and tap along anyway.

I love that you’re trying really hard not to make inappropriate jokes when we’re having a serious conversation.  And I love that even though you’re biting your tongue not to say anything, I can tell the moment that joke pops into your head because your eyes twinkle and the corners of your mouth twitch.

I love that you are great at your job.  I love that you are the best at what you do, even if you think that what you do is unimportant and easy.  (I hate that you think that what you do is unimportant and easy, by the way.)

I love that you laugh out loud at funny TV.  I love that you cried at The Notebook and 8 Seconds.  I love that you think The Godfather was one of the greatest movies ever made.  And that you think the same thing about Billy Madison.

I love that you think it’s bullshit when people say Metallica sold out.

I love that you explained to Devin that you had a lot of respect for the missionaries who showed up at our door during dinner, even if you’d rather watch Gone With The Wind again than let them in.

I love that you think your ass looks good in those jeans.

I love that yes, in fact, your ass does look good in those jeans.

I love that you cheer for the Packers and Florida State now, just because you like to get swept up in other people’s excitement.

I love you.

We’ve made it this far despite our personality conflicts and our contrasting backgrounds and our deplorable behavior patterns.  We’ve made it this far on little more than love and will power and shared history.

I should have told you last night that we have a foundation, and that’s a start.  And tonight, we’ll go get ourselves a few new tools so that we can rebuild upon that foundation.

I should have told you last night, and I didn’t.  So I’m reminding you now…

I’m all in.

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  1. avitable says:

    I think with that type of love and that foundation, a few new tools might be all you need to rebuild it better and stronger than ever.

  2. I love that you cheer for the Packers and Florida State now, just because you like to get swept up in other people’s excitement.

    I always thought that your mama didn’t raise no fool but clearly I was wrong.

    The Packers? C’mon now!

    P.S. I’m glad you guys are going together – I haven’t gotten that brave yet.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Sheila (Charm School Reject), don’t be a hater. I cheer for the Bears too.

      BUT NEVER EVER EVER THE VIKINGS.

      • @Miss Britt, This is bipartisanship at it’s best….we may be on opposite sides of the fence but there is one thing we can agree on – the Vikings suck.

        It was a sad, sad day when I found out my cousin’s boyfriend was a Vikings fan. She actually married the idiot. And now he dresses their poor innocent daughters in their gear.

  3. Stacy says:

    As a person in marriage counseling, this post made me smile. I am sending positive thoughts your way :-)

  4. pgoodness says:

    Good for you…saying all of that is difficult, but you’re working so hard. You guys will get through this.

  5. Becky says:

    Hindsight is an evil little bitch. I have faith that the two of you will work through this, and build an even stronger foundation.

  6. Chibi Jeebs says:

    While it’s frustrating to not be able to put it into words in the moment, sometimes being able to sit and think and write it all out is the best way to communicate — better late than never. :)

  7. Finn says:

    What Adam said. You’ll get there.

    In the meantime, Florida State?! No he didn’t! You’re in Gator Country, baby!

  8. Pop and Ice says:

    I love that you’re back together and working on making it work. Marriage can be hard work, but it’s worth it.

  9. Melani says:

    Frickin’ beautiful! This post took my breath away and made me smile and cry at the same time! Thank you.

  10. Maria says:

    This is beautiful.

  11. just me says:

    I love reading your blog

  12. NaysWay says:

    You make me want to reach through the screen and hug you sometimes. You and Jared sound exactly like me and the spouse during our seven year itch. We’re on year nine. You’ll make it.

  13. I can’t ever say what I need to say when I need to say it either. I’m much better with the written communication. You two seem to have a great foundation, and a lot of willingness to work on it. That’s everything.

  14. Morrigansage says:

    I wish both of you the best, and I hope that this sets you back on the right path.

  15. oh for fuck’s sake, your wonderful writing and your love for jared are almost enough to make me want to get one of those (blech) serious relationship thingies. stop it!

    (seriously though, i am so glad that you have this space to communicate even if you could have said something out loud to jared and didn’t at that very moment. too many others leave unsaid things stay unsaid. i’m hopeful that the counseling session will help strengthen your marriage. you two really are wonderful together.)

  16. Mary says:

    Wow, I wish I could have that kind of relationship with my husband.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Mary, I would not wish where we’re at right now on ANYONE. Seriously. Take it back. Heh.

      • Mary says:

        @Miss Britt, having that kind of ability to converse with my husband would be a huge step up. I get grunts and then questions “what did you say?” “When did you tell me that?” Sometimes I think I just there because of great sex. Sigh.

  17. Joy says:

    Miss Britt, your optimism and faith and hope and love make me smile.

    I’m sending good wishes that you both learn to underpin that foundation, and build a hurricane-proof house on top.

  18. KRis says:

    Save beating yourself up for what you should have said for another time. Like the time the lady in a store pisses you off and you think hours later what you should have said. LOL!

    I’m glad you’re both going. I honestly don’t think marriage counseling works when only one person goes. Usually the one who refuses to go is the reason there’s the need to go. The refusal to even recognize that things need work is more fatal to a marriage than just talking it out…with help. (At least in my experience.)

    It’s the ones who want to understand it all and make the effort to do so and make things better that actually have a better chance of making it all work.

    ((HUGS)) It isn’t going to be easy, but marriage is work. It’s just something they don’t tell you about beforehand. (As if couples in the throes of love really listen to advice anyway. Heh!)

  19. You are headed in the right direction. And you have a more solid foundation than you think. Just use what new things you learn to make it stronger.

    HUGS!

  20. I love that you put all this in words on a page so you both can read it over and over and over again well into eternity because IT MEANS THAT MUCH…

  21. Lee Brookes says:

    *hugs* to you guys an I dont do hugs, I hope you find your strength

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Lee Brookes, too manly for hugs? LOL (And thank you)

      • Lee says:

        @Miss Britt, no not manly emotionally crippled and I have personal space issues nothing better than a hug and a cuddle they just scare me senseless or the emotional attachment involved does (see I have issues lol)

  22. Good for you. I wish you both all the best as you work through this.

  23. Dawn says:

    This gave me goosebumps and served as a terrific reminder to tell my husband that I love him when he comes home tonight. (I thank you for that on both our behalfs.)

  24. Headless Mom says:

    This is really beautiful. Sounds like you have a great foundation!

    And? Much of how you describe him is how I would describe my husband. Wow.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Headless Mom, the part about his ass looking good in jeans?

      • Headless Mom says:

        @Miss Britt, Yeah that too. Mostly this: “I love your soft heart. I love your inability to hold a grudge. I love that you love music even though you can’t clap to the beat. I love that you don’t give a crap if you’re off the beat, you sing and clap and tap along anyway.”

  25. Its that foundation that will get you both through this. It will all work out for you I’m sure of it. Best wishes.

  26. You are amazing. Truly amazing. I hope he realizes that. That was so beautiful, especially considering what you are going through…even though you haven’t directly told us internets the specifics…just knowing you’ve been in hell and you still LOVE, well that gives hope to us all.

  27. Rebecca says:

    :-) You are stronger than you think you are, Britt. Try not to worry about ‘should haves’, because you can say all of those things to him now. The fact that he has those fears means he also has deep hope that things will work out awesomely. (((hugs)))

  28. Tonz says:

    I love hearing all the little things that people love about their partners. It’s funny what you notice about them.

    I think that you have been through this tough separation and are back together again because you both WANT

  29. Darla says:

    Dammit Britt! I come to your blog and have held my breath and refused to cry. Today I lost the battle.

  30. Marie says:

    Well now you have told him. It’s all there for him to read. He sounds amazing by the way.

    And different personalities are what make the world go round. If you were both exactly the same it probably wouldn’t work. I am wishing you good luck and hang on!

    Hugs,
    Marie

  31. dee says:

    please, please tell me that you told him…or at least showed him this post. I don’t comment often, but am an avid reader of yours.
    Life is too short to leave things left unsaid. Just as women need to hear how much they are loved – so do men. They just don’t admit it as easily as we do.

    Give him a hug for agreeing to counseling! I spent 2 yrs trying to get my ex into counseling with me, and in the end…a 19 yr marriage fell apart.

    Maybe, just for now, leave the “in depth” talks with the counseling sessions? Until you both learn tools to communicate better… I’m pulling for you!

  32. ali says:

    I love this, lady.
    Go get those tools! I’m rooting for you ;)

  33. Poppy says:

    I am happy he could articulate what was bothering him, because that’s a great first step to resolution.

  34. Faiqa says:

    This was beautiful.

    You’re beautiful.

    He’s beautiful.

    It’s going to work.

  35. Kelley says:

    From someone who spent a year in counseling with my husband, I can tell you it works for the lucky ones who want it to work. It worked for us and made us stronger than ever, with a means of communicating that we never had before. I think you will be among the lucky ones, because it sounds like you want it to work, and you are well on your way to communicating…I pray and wish you the best of luck.

  36. stephanie says:

    I am so happy right now.

  37. melissa says:

    going through the motions is scary. I think sometimes the differences in people create the necessary balance in the foundation.

    I’m pretty sure that was Gilmore Girl reference in there. LOVE it.

  38. Samantha Bennett says:

    Whoo-hoo! Yippee! So incredibly happy right now. Love that you’re fighting for each other. :)

  39. JenGW says:

    Wow…some of this feels really familiar. You guys are brave and cool and I appreciate your willingness to share so many stories from your journey. It helps normalize what’s very normal but not always openly discussed.

  40. Carolyn says:

    Beautiful, Britt. You darn near made me cry.

    You do have a foundation. Because and all these beautiful sentiments come from that.

    I hope you’re getting some good tools.

  41. Dory says:

    That was so beautiful.

    Keep at it. It’s worth it.

    Tom and I were separated for most of 2003. Now our marriage is so much stronger than I ever even could have dared to wish. We’re still like a couple of newlyweds. We have to dispense barf bags to innocent bystanders.

  42. Fantastagirl says:

    Not reading the other comments:

    But “I’m all in”…is huge.

    and my favorite line in the whole post.

    ::Hugs::

  43. I think you guys will be just fine. <3

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