Photo by Keziah with www.babyrosephotography.com
I stood in the doorway, holding a 20 lb baby squirming to get down while blocking the 20lb cat from escaping out the front door. My wrist was holding a heavy bag of groceries, surely about to break the skin any minute now and my hand was holding a fragile crate of eggs.
“ HURRY UP!” I yelled at my 3 year old daughter who was taking her sweet time up the walkway to the front door. Our walkway, which she experiences at least 2 times a day, still is the most exciting place for her. Dandelions, rocks, and sticks call her to completely block out her mother’s voice and to pick, touch, and grab.
I yell again for her to just hurry up as the fat cat escapes my useless foot blockade and scurries outside. In my last attempt to keep the cat inside, I make a sudden jerk which cues my son to bounce like he is riding a horse and he head butts me. We both are in tears as I drop those fragile eggs.
Now completely transformed into a terrible sea creature, I slither towards my three year old. “GET INSIDE!” I hiss. Seeing I mean business, she stomps towards the front door, but not without letting the whole neighborhood know how unfair it is.
I consider leaving the cat for the Colorado coyotes but muster up the last of my energy and turn into a lunatic as I chase him back into the house.
I finally shut the door and look around my living room. Two screaming kids, broken eggs, and toys scattered so chaotically throughout the house you’d think we were ransacked and robbed —except they forgot to take anything.
“Why are you always telling me to HURRY!” my three old cries. I think back to how many times in a given day I tell this child to hurry. Hurry eating. Hurry walking. Hurry to get your shoes on. Hurry to get to the car. Hurry to bed! Hurry to sleep!
I am a Colorado Wedding Videographer. This is how I see the world. Meaning, I am not only seeing the world through my videographer lense, but I often see my life as a film unfolding before me. Standing there with a crying toddler at my feet…..my mind pushes the fast forward button on the dusty VCR of our fragile lives… 25 years later….
I see my three year old now 28. She stands in the living room, tapping her foot. She screams at her husband… “Would you HURRY IT UP!”
He comes now the stairs. “Why? We have plenty of time. I am coming! Why are you always in such a rush.” She stares back at him, furious, demanding….and yet confesses to herself and even her husband… “ i don’t know why. I don’t know why I always feel this need for you to hurry. For me to hurry. But I do. I always do. And you are so slow”
I snap out of my movie and see my toddler standing there. I realize I need to make some changes fast.
Here is my point.
Often Times the arguments we have with our spouses are more about unprocessed past stories in our lives than the current argument we are having right now.
There is a reason why your spouse doesn’t think its her job to clean the dishes. There is a reason it is difficult for him to give a gift to you on your anniversary. There are stories behind the present day that are filtering how we see everything.
It is complicated when we do not know these stories, have forgotten these stories or are simply unaware.
They are not always traumatic stories but can be everyday stories or everyday principles that we grew up with.
For example, I was raised by a wild woman part Irish part Cherokee. Our weeknights consisted of skinny dipping and literally dancing around a bonfire with drums. We did nothing half-assed— it was usually full crazy or nothing at all. By the time I was 17 I had seen over 15 countries.
David was born and raised in Alabama. He never went skinny dippping ( until I introduced this to him 😉 and unpredictable, spontaneous, wild and risky were not part of his life. His home provided a lot of stability, unconditional love and calm that I longed for. I provided a lot of the adventure he longed for.
And then we went on our first camping trip together. I wanted to hike 3 miles into a remote place…that we have never seen…. Wing it and find the thrill. He looked at me like I was nuts. “Why hike in all that crap when we can just drive to a great camping spot at a designated spot and unpack easily?”
We both were so confused with each other.
We have been married 8 years and still find ourselves clashing here. I say JUMP! Let’s just do it and it will work out. And he says Let’s plan it out and make sure its safe and reasonable.
While camping isnt a big deal…. This same thread of “adventure vs. practical” runs through our marriage. I do honor and long for my husband’s stability. I need it.
And yet…there is also a lot of stories of shame wrapped up for me with being practical. I have some abusive stories where I was hurt around being “too much and too wild” and hurtful methods of punishment were used to try to make me ‘calm down and think through’. So what do you think my response is when David suggests I calm down and think through an exciting opportunity or dream I have!?
Even as small as “ lets backpack into the woods” to as big as “ lets move back to Spain, tomorrow!” When he tells me to calm down and think through— I feel pissed and all the sudden he is my worst enemy. Because I am seeing this all through the lense of my past hurtful stories where those words and ideas were used to cause me harm.
And likewise, he is standing there hearing me go to these extremes of JUMPING! Let’s MOVE! Let’s Dance! Let’s Go! And he has a longing to let loose and be free. And everything in his body is telling him—–No, I am the first born. I have responsibilities. I need to be practical. He has his own stories that fire off telling him that it’s better to plan it all out to make sure it’s okay.
So the beautiful thing is….when we are both aware of our pasts,our stories, our family’s unspoken rules…..then we can come together with understanding and tenderness. And most importantly we can understand ourselves.We can understand why we feel so afraid or mad ( which anger usually is a sign that you are actually afraid something, in my experience) of certain things or why we feel something is so important to us.
However, we do not explore the stories and family system, then we are just walking and reacting. We are furious at our children for making a mess ( when they are 2 and messes is what they do), we are mad at our spouses for being 30 minutes later than he said…etc
So Practical Steps time. Cause…. Even as a wild child, i need some practical steps
Think of that recurring fight you have with your spouse.
Write down how you feel. Then go deeper. I feel mad. Why? Because he never takes out the trash. …Go deeper. When he doesnt help take out the trash, why does this make you feel mad. Because it makes me feel lonely, likes it all on my shoulders. Also, It feels like I am unappreciated for what I do offer towards the house and he doesnt see that.
Mad, lonely, unapprecaited, unseen
3) Ask yourself, where in my past, especially childhood, have I felt those same feelings.
When I worked so hard at the science fair project and no one even noticed. My parents didn’t even help or acknowledged. My dad just sat on the tv and watched. All my other friends had dads that helped.
4) Connect with your spouse. Tell them your stories. Share. Explain, When you don’t help take out the trash, it stirs up these feelings and this story with many other stories where I felt that same thing. Ask for help.
5) Here’s the crapper. Usually— the very area where we are hurting and have painful stories are the same areas where our spouses have their same area that counter ours. Honestly, i think some of this is because we choose someone whose story seems to compliment ours. And I think God loves to match couples that can help clash and heal our brokenness.
For example, mr. no take out trash was raised by a tough man who constantly told him that house was womans work. If this is what he saw modeled from birth that is really hard to break, even if his own morals and values tell him differently. He might have an aversion to housework because he is afraid it will somehow devalue his masculinity. (this is just an example. In our house, I am the one who needs help to clean the house, David is awesome. I have many painful stories around cleaning house that David and I are both aware of. Thankfully he is patient when I struggle in this area and has great understanding….which comes from his family home which was very patient. AND he is learned to see that a clean home is important but family connection and deep talks is just as more important, which was something my family valued.)
So all this to say, be kind and patient with yourself and your spouse. Most likely there is a lot of exploring to do . Happy Exploring! And may your stories and lives bring more life, love and connection!
Hi I am a Colorado Wedding Videographer. But I am also a mom and a wife. I am a real person with a real life. I LOVE being a Colorado wedding videographer, but also enjoy going deeper into stories, struggles, and the search for healing and life. I think this is why I edit the way I do. Most of my wedding videography clients tell me they hire me because they see something ‘different’ in my films. I’d like to think this is because as I document your love story on film, I am able to retell your journey in a way the stirs, empowers, gives life and heals. Its more than being a wedding videographer for me…. Its about being another artist on the journey of marriage, family and life with you!
Contact this Colorado wedding videographer today! You can call me or email me to start this conversation at 720.361.7834
Great insights, friend!! I resonate with sooo much of this! 🙂
This is great Whitney, so insightful! Such a great marriage tool that I definitely want to try out.
Um, I might be forwarding this to my husband as I type this- lol! These are beautiful words, and I love how deep you go here. Thank you for sharing, and for making this world a better place one human at a time.
Great advice <3 I think all parents have those moments- it's definitely good to be aware of what we're teaching them unintentionally.
Yes to so much of this! So humbling!
I love this! So well written and a very interesting and relatable perspective!
You are such a gifted writer Whitney. You’re an equally incredible videographer and I feel so lucky to know you.
Wooooooow! This is so me. I see life unfolding through my lens and my husband said the other day he doesn’t live through photographs. We are so different. And I’m the one who says JUMP! He’s Mr. practical. Like you said though we need each other. Lovely read.
Wonderful post Whitney! I can totally relate with you. I am a big jumper and my husband is always reeling me back. As much as we butt heads we level each other out!
Whitney, thank you for being real and raw and helping us “dig deeper.” I have found a deeper marriage of 15 years now because of thinking about the very same things you mention. It has made such a difference in our relationship. So inspiring.
This. Was. So. Perfect.
I’m so there all the time- maybe not with my spouse every time (definitely some times), but with people around me, negative experiences I have, and it’s SO SO helpful to ask those deeper questions and I never think to do it.
Thank you thank you for writing this! It was so heart-fully articulated in every way. Beautiful.
I love the way you write. You are such an amazing storyteller.