Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 and My Marriage

I remember where I was on 9/11. I was at home with my toddler and my one month old in my arms. My husband was a college student.

He and I were trying to keep it together. We were struggling as a couple, and our marriage was suffering. It felt broken, maybe even lost. Life was difficult and somewhat painful for us. Then my husband called.

“Turn on the TV! Turn on the TV!" he said in a panic.

I did.

I watched for a moment, ready for the Hollywood film to end.

“This is real…this is real,” I had to tell myself over and over as I sat in our tiny apartment with my new born baby.

I felt grateful for my safety, but completely helpless at the same time.

My husband came home, and we sat and watched the rescue efforts on our television. Though all efforts were noble, perhaps the one which touched me the most was that of an ordinary man.

He was asleep when his wife called and left this message on the answering machine:

“Honey, a plane just hit our building! I love you!” she said in a panicked and sincere voice. “I just want you to know…I love you!”

As I looked at my television screen, I saw her husband. His face ached with a look of denial and determination to save his wife from the tower.

The camera crews followed him as he traveled with his homemade “equipment.”

He was on a mission to save his wife.

“She’s a fighter, I know she is. And I’m going to get her,” he said with determination.

Two days later, the same determined man, now broken and sullen, was interviewed once more.

“She’s gone…" was all he could say. “She’s gone…”

My heart ached as I wept for his loss.

And, as I watched the masses of broken rubble, I thought of my marriage. It felt like it was under all the rubble…but was it gone? Could it be saved?

I held my husband and began to see him differently.

I hadn’t lost him. I had a choice. I could save my marriage from the rubble or let it die.

The man on the screen didn’t have a choice. His wife was gone. His marriage was gone. And he was left to deal with it.

After watching his example, I felt a renewed determination to love my husband differently, to appreciate him, and to use all the “spiritual equipment" I had been given to save my marriage from the ruins.

9/11 allowed me to step back, love deeper, and appreciate the opportunity that I had to be married.

God Bless America.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

When I say "WE" I mean "YOU"

Women, lets face it. We are known for providing a sense of community. Making everyone feel good. But in the end, we're bossy. We just have a way of making it sound "nice." Here is a classic example from my relationship:

I call it the "WE" means "YOU" theory. For instance:

We are driving--oh wait--there I go again with the "WE" thing. He is driving, I'm just a passenger (but somehow, that doesn't stop me). WE keep driving and we can't find the stupid restaurant.

I start out really nice. "Honey, don't you think WE should pull over and ask for directions?"

"No, I think I can find it," he says.

Okay. All is going well. We are happy.

Driving...driving...annoying...more annoying...

"Yeah, but I mean it seems like WE don't know where we're going," I say, still in my nice, yet slightly annoyed voice.

"No, I think I know where it is." He's still calm.

Yeah, Okay.

"Well, WE are getting kinda car sick driving in circles here..."

"No, I feel fine, actually."

"No! WE are getting sick."

Don't relate? Here's another one.

This is a great classic in our marriage:

We (and I actually do mean both of us) HATE laundry. With a passion. I could blog about our hate of laundry to the point that both of us end up naked before we are willing to do the wash. Scary. But the worst part, we HATE to fold it, put it away, look at it...etc. I've tried techniques to help me be grateful, such as telling myself good quotes like, "Having laundry means you have clothes."

It doesn't work. It should, but it doesn't.

So laundry...long day, need to shower, all the clean clothes are in the basement.

I turn to my hubby. "WE should really fold the laundry."

"Yes 'WE' should," he says.

We both sit there.

Oh well, nice thought.

"Maybe WE should get off our butt, since I've been working all day," I hint.

"Yeah, maybe WE should, since I've been working all day too," he hints back.

Dang he's good.

This isn't going well. It never does.

Finally I just say it.

"YOU should fold the laundry. YOU should pull over and ask for directions, YOU should..."

His response:

"ME? You think I should do all of that?"

"Of course! That's what I've been saying this whole time!"

"You said, 'WE.' "

"Honey, come on. WE means YOU."

He laughs.


Well at least we're clear now. Until tomorrow, when he forgets, and WE have to start all over

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Blah Blah Blah...and Other Complaints

Okay, so today I'm thinking about women who have what I call “God Issues” in their relationship. It usually starts like this:

“My husband won’t let me do this. And he thinks…blah blah blah. But I feel like I should …blah blah blah…and so I don’t know what to do?”

I ask them, “Do you want to do it? Do you think it’s right for you?”

Inevitably they answer, “Well, my husband thinks…blah blah blah.”

And I say to them, “Who cares what he thinks! He’s not the one who pays the consequences...etc...."

Then their eyes pop out of their head in disbelief, or they laugh. I get comments like, “Wow Jodi, you're such a feminist! I love how you’re like, 'screw you!' What woman power.”

Then I try to explain that I’m not a feminist, nor am I screaming, "Woman Power!" Whatever that means. I have no plans on being completely independent from my hubby. But what I AM is...well...them; the same people who are complaining 90% of the time.

What? Are you saying you’re a hypocrite and your advice is hypocritical?


Because I have spent and continue to spend waaayy too many days of my precious life worrying about what other people think, to the extent that I have had to evaluate my behavior.

“Why am I so angry?” I would whine to one of my therapists. “Why is he such a jerk? He makes me blah blah blah….?"

And that’s when I began to realize something. He never MADE ME do it. He may have tried to guilt me, or even just stated his opinion, but he didn’t make me.

As long as I blamed him, I didn’t have to take responsibility for me.

Then I could go on and on to all my friends, feeling sorry for myself saying, “Blah blah blah.”

To this day, if you drive by my house and listen through the door, (I will call the cops), but before you go to jail, you will hear me say, “Why do you always make me blah blah blah?"

Then I get sick of feeling sorry for myself, and I realize that I am capable and responsible for who I am, what I am, why I am. And...

I can’t blame him.


So the solution? It's better to ask myself, “What can I handle? What does God want me to do? And how will this impact my family?" Because in the end, God is in charge of us, not other people.

Then I am forced to take responsibility for my choices, good and bad.

It’s painful at first, but you get over it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What's for Dinner?

Posted by Olivia Kwan--a woman passionate about NOT cooking.

So I was talking to Jodi about how funny one of her blogs was when I confessed that I do not enjoy cooking. That’s right people, I do not enjoy or want to cook almost on a daily basis. But I am great at re-heating food…under low to medium heat. I try to skip the microwave when I can. I know, whoop-de-do!

My husband knew this weakness of mine, when we met in the 1800’s, and he still married me, so obviously, he’s cool with it. I have no shame or guilt just because I’m a woman. I don’t fall for that “you are the wife and you should cook for your husband” crap! I gave birth, I think that’s heroic enough!

I’m a full time working mom and by the time I get home, my first words are, “Where are we going for dinner?" or, "What are we ordering for dinner?”

I know, I know, there are tons of meals broadcasted on TV and on-line claiming that you can make a meal in 30 minutes, but let’s be real here, we are only fooling ourselves if we believe that!

I think when they said “30 minutes,” they did not consider the fact that we do not have a “staff” to prep and cut our ingredients like Emeril does, and all he has to do is dump everything into a pot from those cute little bowls. In the real world, we still have to do the washing, the measuring, the peeling, and so forth. The other thing that wasn’t figured into the “30 minutes” is that there are children present who are whiny or who have to have a drink (but can’t decide what they want to drink) or who is just being a pain in my butt!

And at the end of the of all my hard work, there are plates, pan, spoons, forks, and other dishes just waiting for me to clean. By then, I’m full and still tired, and the next thing I really want to do is lay down and watch TV.

Look, I give props to the working moms who cook every night, bravo to you all! But let’s not gasp in disbelieve when someone like me announces that I do not cook. If you enjoy it, good for you, but I’m not a monster for not wanting to. It’s called “I’m tired as hell and I just want to relax and give myself a break (which I deserve).”

P.S. No worries on the hubby. He’s still alive and kicking…even without my home cooked meals.