-----------------------------------------------------------------------------In a sermon a few weeks ago we learned about self talk and how that can be detrimental to one's overall outlook on life. Apparently we can hold a conversation in our minds at the rate of 1500 words per minute. Especially when we're upset. I can totally testify to this possibility. I have held on to incidents, comments from various people, and situations for years, and every once in awhile when I'm doing dishes, laundry, showering, getting ready for bed, pretty much anytime that it's quiet and my thoughts have a chance to catch up to me, I launch into a huge conversation with myself, which is pretty much delayed retaliation/replies to things that have upset me in the past.
The following is in an effort to clean out my mind. This is a dump of a few things I would say to those who have frustrated me in the past, recent and distant.
compliments of google images
From Sister-in-law 1 upon announcing our engagement, "This is so irresponsible! How well do you know her?"
That cut deeply. She had talked her bro up for over a year, introduced us, had been my friend, supposedly best friend for two years, and now I'm some stranger that is a mistake to marry? We did get engaged 1 month after dating, but we had talked as friends for about a month before our first date, during our dates, phone conversations and visits we didn't waste time with small talk or shallow banter. We got down to the nitty gritty, we were sharing our real selves. He's told me many times from the start he tells me more about himself than family and more than even his best friend knows. I was equally open with him. Before "jumping" into the engagement, we knew we were getting serious and decided to seek guidance from an elder at church and his wife. We wanted to be sure we had thought about the hard stuff, we gave them a 3 day heads-up and had them think up questions amongst themselves to ask us. They respected our approach, did not give us a break on anything, and thankfully a few things they brought up we had previously considered on our own. His family was not willing to give us any benefit of doubt that we used our heads when planning for our future, or that we would even try to make a plan. How about instead of just accusing us of being immature and irresponsible, you respectfully ask a specific question regarding a specific issue on which you would like more ifnormation? That's their downfall, they don't have rational conversations. They just explode with a bunch of irrational, ignorant accusations and then say we're the ones who "never tell them anything, never communicate." Got to tell you, exploding at people may be a form of "communicating" but it is certainly not EFFECTIVE communication.
I love what the couple said to us after the "inquisition" "Some people can date for 7 years and be ready to divorce after 5 months of marriage. Some people married for 30 years don't know anything about their partner any more. What you need to decide is no matter what life hands you, if you're in some horrendous accident that deforms you and prevents you from performing all your spousal duties, will you still be able to look into each other's eyes and say 'this is my spouse, I am bound to them, will take care of them, be faithful, and love them." It was a very serious moment, a question we each considered carefully and decided though it would be unimaginably hard, we would do just that. The other point they made, "It's not all about how long you've been together and how well you may know each other, it's about turning to each other and promising to each other you're committed to each other, to the marriage, and no matter what, you will work together." I've seen us do that on the regular. We're in this for the long haul.
From sister-in-law 2, Offended that she wasn't consulted before David proposed, declaring she didn't even know me. This has ALWAYS BURNED ME UP!!!! I went to church WITH HER for at least 2 YEARS, had tried specifically to talk to her just because she was my friend's sister. I had TAUGHT HER SON'S BIBLE CLASS and had tried to talk to her when she picked her son up from class just because it seemed polite to know your students parents. I had ALWAYS been snubbed by them. She had a chance to know me on several occasions before David ever came on scene, if she didn't know me, it's not by any fault of ours. We were coerced into attending a Halloween party shortly after we were engaged, we thought it would be a good chance to make up for our "infractions" even though such a gathering wasn't really our thing. We hardly knew anyone who was going. We were there for half an hour before the sisters showed up. They walked right past us to a table. We went to the table to say hi, sister-in-law 2 NEVER turned around! She kept her back to us and when David in a jovial way said, "This is Miranda!" She barely turned her head and in an ugly way said "Well it's a little late for that now!" Well! I guess so, after all she didn't want to talk to me when she had the chance for years before, why bother now?
Same sister-in-law: mad at David for not being a bigger part of her children's lives when I came into the picture. 1. Her kids have a loving devoted father. He coaches their soccer teams! He's more nurturing than she is. He cooks for the family. If she didn't have a father for the kids I could totally seeing wanting your brother, their uncle to be a bigger male role model in their lives. 2. Being upset that when David was in their home town (we always had a long distance relationship) he only hung out with me (we could only see each other one, sometimes 2 days a week, only for the weekend) and he never came to the kids games. Well, she never tried to talk to David, even at church, even after we married, she continued to snub him. How is he supposed to go to a game he isn't invited to or told about to begin with? How can he ask for this info when she ignores his attempts at conversation?
Same sister-in-law: I at first took it upon myself to mend bridges I thought I had the power to mend. I tried to set up a little dinner for one of the weekends I would be in town. I had heard she was questioning my competence as a woman and as a marriage potential due to how "young" I was... a question came up "Does she even know what marriage is about?" OOOOHHHH NO! She did NOT! I had always been vastly interested by anything and everything beyond my years. Already pursuing political issues at 12, making a binder full of marriage, family, budgeting, and healthy lifestyle information and advice from the time I was 16, always hanging out with those well beyond my junior because from the Bible it talks about how the wise seek out council from their elders. You bet I didn't want to be a fool! I had already lived on my own at this point for 6 years. I paid for my own schooling and all my living expenses, I had to work hard to be independent, but independence is what I wanted, and not in the rebellious teen way that stomps her foot and demands to be treated like an adult. I sought independence by finding areas where I could take on responsibility.
I just could never get over such inconsiderate, truly ignorant suppositions about someone they were never willing to try to get to know. SO, I wanted to give them another chance. I wanted to put myself out there and let them see who I am and what I'm made of. I was turned down flatly through another sister, sister-in-law 2 couldn't even contact me directly. Sister-in-law 1 (who revels in, and is always in the middle of everything) let it be known that it was just "too soon, and there is no way sister-in-law 2 would be up for something like that."
Well, it wasn't a week later, sister-in-law 2 contacted David and told him she had "some things she wanted to discuss with [me], and could [I] come over at such-and-such a time." I told David flat out, "no." It wasn't right to be approached that way. I offered to have a visit with them, I would not be ordered into an interview and dressing down by his sister. I'm THE GIRL!!!! I get PROPOSED to! My family gets to question THE GUY!!!! I decided I did not have to prove my worthiness to THEM! Finally David understood the oddness (to say the least) of the situation, and he respected my not going.
I just have one more thing to add here, his family has THE MOST difficult time with understanding, accepting perfectly traditional, perfectly right forms of etiquette in so many situations! Just like demanding they should be consulted on who David wants to marry, getting their permission to propose; the order of weddings; invitations to dessert (YES! People can invite people over for just dessert!); so much more! I could probably write a book.
Sister-in-law 3... oh could i go on here! Her inconsiderate comments during wedding plans, her personal feelings about so many things, over-advising in wedding plans when David and I were doing a completely different type of wedding. The worst offenses from her though come with the baby. When we let her know we were expecting her response "You guys are kind of rushing things aren't you? Miranda is still pretty young." WHAT?!?!?! This is prime baby-making time y'all! And hello... our family, our choice. We WANTED this!!!! I do not go for waiting til I'm 30. I'm married, I don't have to wait, I will have my eggs fertilized now please. Ever heard of keeping your opinions to yourself and just congratulating people for their happy moment???
THEN the baby shower debacle. We were blessed to have a friend who wanted to throw a shower for us. She encouraged giving her addresses of anyone and everyone we could think of. We most definitely included the sisters who live in our area. Apparently even though all invitations get mailed out on the same day, not all invitations will arrive at the same time. Our dear friend assured us all invitations went out. Well sisters 1 and 2, instead of addressing David directly, per their usual, they involve sister 3 with their complaints and she takes it upon herself to dress David down in text (they only know how to communicate through heated text messaging it seems... also very annoying). It went from one innocent, late invitation to another sister (to a party date she had already made other plans for any way) to David cutting his whole family out of his life. EXCUSE ME?!?! We send everybody birthday cards, kids, mom, and grands get presents, for sister 1 I took it upon myself to plan birthday celebrations 2 years in a row, only for my own to be forgotten by everyone. We don't get thanked most of the time for our card or gift efforts. Aside from yearly obligations, I had begun sending semi-regular email updates, we sent a Christmas letter last year, do we get any response from anyone? NOPE! I decided not to waste my efforts. They NEVER volunteer info about their families, they don't contact us expect for instances like this when they feel like we've committed some huge grievance. Guess what, I have a lot of things I have to keep up with in our own lives (UHM can we say pregnant for the last 9 months and still growing a child???), I don't need to waste efforts on a garden that refuses to grow. Thank you very much. Their rules don't apply to them. I don't want to live by their check list and be forced into checking in with them like a student on a roster in class. They live their lives uninterrupted, why can't they let us live in kind?
There will have to be a part II. I need a break. People are crazy. Time to fold laundry!!! Yay, lovin' clean underpants ;-)