I don’t know why, but this has been coming up over and over again lately.
To a point where I almost finish the sentence FOR them.
Seriously – have you ever had that happen?
Like, in the summer, when kids start whining, and you hear that dreaded noise that starts with “MOOOOM…”
And you know exactly what’s coming.
Kind of like that.
Only the phrase has to do with relationships – obviously.
And the phrase is the following:
But I am not doing anything wrong!
They come in all sorts of colors and flavors.
I never said I was going to be that way.
I have always been a person who exercises a lot, you knew that right when we met – it was on my profile. It’s important to me.
I need to see my friends every so often.
But going to the cabin every weekend with my friends is who I am.
You can’t ask me to do that – I don’t know how to be affectionate. That’s not who I am.
Only when I hear it, it sounds more like this:
Going to the cabin every weekend with my friends is who I am. I am not doing anything wrong.
I don’t know how to be affectionate. That’s not who I am. I am not doing anything wrong.
I have always been a person who exercises a lot. You knew that right when we met – it was in my profile. I am not doing anything wrong.
Do you see the trend?
And most often, it’s followed by: Why are you mad at me?
I have always done this, or that, or the other thing. Nobody has ever asked me to do anything else. It’s not wrong that I always want to drive. Or cook my own food (different than what everyone else is eating). I am not doing anything wrong by making this decision for myself. It’s my decision after all.
Well, guess what?
It’s not about being wrong. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with being wrong.
You may be totally right – you are not doing anything wrong by doing your exercise routine every day.
There is nothing inherently wrong with you wanting to spend time with your friends at the cabin every weekend.
There is nothing inherently wrong with you spending an hour on the phone with your mom when you get home from work.
BUT – your relationship – and everything in it – is NOT inherently about right or wrong.
It doesn’t really matter whether it’s right or wrong in your eyes.
What matters is that your spouse is asking something of you and you are ignoring that.
When they say – I would like to have dinner with you and the family – they are not saying you can’t talk to your mom.
All they are saying is: I would like to have dinner with you and for you to be present with me, instead of on the other line with your mom while we eat. I’d really like to hear about your day. I have so many things to share about mine…
When they say – I would like to have breakfast with you on Saturday – they are not saying I don’t want you to go for your bike ride that day.
All they are saying is: I would like to have one morning per week where we sleep in, be lazy, have coffee and eggs for breakfast and talk about our hopes and dreams. So maybe you can go biking earlier or later to accommodate that ask.
When they say – I’d really like to spend some time with you this weekend – maybe you and I can go somewhere we’ve never been? — They are not saying, I think you going to the cabin with your friends every weekend is wrong.
All they are saying is: I really miss you. I would love to spend some more time together not just during the week. There is this place I’d love to take you. Or for you to take me. Or maybe we can go to the cabin together but allow for some of the time to be spent just you and me?
None of this is wrong for you to do – or want to do. But if your spouse is making themselves miserable thinking, this person that I thought really cares about me seemingly doesn’t care at all – That’s something you should want to pay attention to.
Because you have a choice.
You keep doing what you have always done.
Because that’s the pattern.
That’s the rule.
You are accustomed to it and it’s easy.
And you ignore and hurt your partner in the process.
OR — you take it to heart.
You forget about what the pattern has been for you all your life.
You set aside what the easiest thing for you is.
Not because it’s really wrong.
But because you care that your spouse is upset by the situation and there is something that you can do to change that.
You don’t have to be doing anything “wrong” for you and your spouse to be pulling away from each other as a result.
Here is our challenge.
Next time you and I start thinking to ourselves, but I am really not doing anything wrong…
Forget the whole idea of what’s right and what’s wrong.
Toss it aside.
Face your spouse.
And whatever you say, start it by saying:
I don’t want to miss the mark again and continue to frustrate you. What is it that I am missing and what can I do to help you feel better right now?