spilling the beans

patrick and i have been attending a marriage course sponsored by our stake [church group-not restaurant] on Sunday nights.

there is nothing like going to a class about improving your marriage to make you realize you have issues. not so much the big ones for me. just little ones.my issues are usually like a few grains of beach sand in your sandwich . yuck. [i HATE it when i am enjoying yummy food and i chomp down on a crunchy piece of dirt. it's kind-of a pet peeve of mine.]

i've got enough dignity to not spill my whole can of beans, just a few of them, so lets just say that i ALWAYS have room for improvement.

back to the story.

this past Sunday the main topic was on communicating things to your spouse. and seeing how i am married to a man [and we think VERY differently] there is never too much i can learn about the topic.

we learned fun stuff about.....

not giving unsolicited advice.
how husbands don't like nagging. [ha! i would never! :) ]
how to give encouragement.
how we should be able to say what we think feel and believe openly.
how to address issues without criticism and contempt.
and other good stuff too.

then, at the end of class we had an anonymous question and answer time.
i always like to hear the questions that others have because i just love to relate.

but then, the very last question [which was more accurately a statement] hit WAY to close to home. it was a statement that i wished i couldn't relate to.

as she read the statement, i just couldn't help but think, "that's something that patrick must feel sometimes." and then i started thinking..."what if patrick DID write that?" then i thought..."probably not. i know that i am a bit too picky at times, but it's not at that point."
and that was that. i felt better after i reassured myself, but i still made a little mental note and realized i could take the statement to heart and do little better about showing appreciation more and nagging less. [that's a no-brainer.]

the class ended and i felt a renewed desire to be a nice little wiffie.

then patrick went and gathered the kids and babysitter from the nursery while i waited for my turn to ask the teacher something to clarify.

as i stood and waited my turn, i spied the little question basket directly in front of me.

and it called my name.

i just couldn't squelch my curiosity.

i picked up the note on top, opened it up, and to my horror, i recognized it as patrick's handwriting!!!

emotions started running through my veins as i read,

"Nothing I Ever Do Is Good Enough?"

i thought, "could i really be THAT bad? why didn't he tell me directly instead of going the back door route to be noticed? if he would have would i have listened?" and so on and on went the thoughts of guilt.

then it was my turn to ask the teacher my little question.

i did.

then i blurted out, "and i just realized while waiting, that my husband wrote THIS question."
i handed him the slip of paper.

as he read, my eyes started flowing.
[yea, right there in a room of lingering people.]

and so did my mouth.

i went on, "i had no idea that he felt this bad. i really do try to show appreciation and tell him how wonderful he is. i just need to more often i guess. and he is wonderful. he's a good man."

then i showed the teacher how in my notes from the class where i had written in the margin, "i'm sooo grateful you are a good provider-very good!" [and i meant it.]

the poor teacher clamored to know what to say to this emotional woman standing before him. he did offer advice, but all i can remember him saying is that i should talk to him about it and really listen without "defending and explaining." i remember him saying as i walked out, "good luck."

"oh boy, this might get interesting," i thought.

i stood in the dark hallway of the church and composed myself, wiped my tears dry, put on a happy face, then proceeded to the car. i just thanked the heavens that is was dark outside. [mainly for the babysitter's sake, but also for mine since i did NOT want to talk with patrick about the note...yet.] patrick didn't even notice my red eyes! yeah!

-and so, i carried on with life.
-and i thought about why he wrote that statement.
-and i did some soul searching to think about what i could do to show more love to patrick.
-and I wondered why he felt so bad.
-and i felt bad for my weaknesses. [that i've not overcome. yet.]
-and i wondered why he made a statement during a 'question' and answer time ["he's smarter than that, isn't he?"]
-and i devised a plan - a way to bring up "the note."
-and i agonized.
-and i thought about all the times i had failed to say thank-you for____________ [fill in with one of the things he does on a daily basis around the house. like.....cleaning up the dinner mess and doing the dishes 3 days in a row without my help because i was taking care of little dallin who has been sick. or always putting the kids to bed or ....]
-and any chance i could find, i praised & thanked him.
-and i noticed how much he really does do for us.
-and i prayed for help to know what to say so i could right the wrong.
-and i felt disappointed in myself for all the times that i nagged him about ___________ [just fill in the blank. i'm sure i've nagged about it at some point.] :)
-and i realized that i need to be WAAAY more grateful for my wonderful husband.

then, this morning as he was getting ready to leave for a nice job interview [just an upgrade], and since spirits were high, i spilled the beans and said,

"i know you wrote that question!"

him: [w/ a puzzled look and a chuckle] what question???

me: that one from the marriage class.

him: what are you talking about???

me: you know, the last question.

him: huh?

me: it said, "nothing i ever do is good enough."

him: I DID NOT?!?!?

me: i know you did. i have the note.

him: you are crazy! i would never write that!

me: look. it's your handwriting!

him: you've got to be kidding me! this isn't my handwriting.

me: it sure looks like it!

him: look at how i write that same sentence.

me: you didn't write that?!?! [with tears in my eyes, feeling a huge weight being lifted off of my shoulders.]

him: they don't even look the same. now do you believe me?

me: yes.
[and i did even more after i looked at his handwriting from his journal. i was way off!]

and then, we laughed.
and he shook his head in disbelief considering how crazy and paranoid i had been.
and i felt much, much better.
and he said, you are just crazy. you should blog about this.
and i NOW grin when i think of torture i put myself through over the past 4 days.
and i have learned a very important lesson. [the hard way.]
and because he thought i was so off my rocker, and has a twisted sense of humor, he sent me this e-mail:

Morris, Patrick

3:20 PM (2 hours ago)

Does this look like my writing?

Nothing I ever do is good enough?

Patrick J. Morris

Application Developer

ha ha. very funny sir.

so, my friends, the moral of this long, ridiculous, bean splilling story is:

live your life so that when you hear the statement of an unappreciated, nagged, beaten down husband, "nothing i ever do is good enough,"you can say in your heart with confidence....

"my husband couldn't possibly feel that way, considering how wonderfully i treat him!"

because it DID come from one of the men in that class.
hopefully next time i can think, "it's not from my man!"
and what a wonderful man he is!

i have a goal.....
yummy sandwiches, light on the sand!

and now you need to spill your beans
....if your husband wrote a note in a marriage class, what would it say?!


Amy said...

Wow - I can totally relate to the jumping to conclusions thing. I probably would have done the EXACT same thing.

If you want a good marriage book, "Strangling Your Husband Is Not An Option." I am reading it right now and am having lots of "Ah-Ha" moments.

Karen said...

My heart sunk for you when I thought he had really written the note. I'm so glad that he didn't actually say that! I know you are a wonderful wife and mother, don't be so hard on yourself!

Ryan, Melissa and Addy said...

Oh man, what a sad and happy story! I was so sad for you, but so happy when I found out he didn't write that. I can't imagine anyone saying anything like that about you anyway! You are without a doubt one of the most positive and kind people I've ever met. We are always our own worst critic though, right? Especially us women!

Amber said...

Whew! What a relief! I don't know that I could get Steve to attend a class like that- so you're 5 steps ahead of us there.

Michelle said...

Wow, that is serious torture you've been going through lady!
I'm glad you're laughing about it now!
By the way, doing the dishes for three days in a row is pretty wonderful. (But you definately deserve it!)

Mel said...

Oh Jules! I know how you must have felt. You poor thing. But just the fact that you are examining your behavior and making changes shows that you care and ARE HUMBLE enough to change. For him and for you too.

Roger's note would read: "She always tries to tell me how to do stuff with the kids the "best way" (i.e. HER way) instead of just letting me figure it out on my own. It makes me want to just give up."

Which is true. But I recognize it and am working on it. And slowly, slowly, I think I might be improving. At least I hope so.

Kristin said...

I was so relieved for you when you found out he didn't write that! I got a total kick out of him telling you to blog about it. Even though he didn't write it, reading this post was a great reminder to nag less and appreciate more (in all the relationships in our lives--esp. w/our husbands). So, Thanks!

Jill said...

Oh, Julie. You ARE as wonderful as I thought. What a great little story. I am learning lots of little lessons from it.

I don't know if you ever read Segullah. They have a journal three times a year and a blog. The next journal theme is marriage/dating/courtship. You should consider submitting something with this theme.


Stephanie said...

Great post! I would have mistaken the handwriting, there are some definite similarities! It is a good lesson I can learn from too--be quick to show love and appreciation and be slow to criticize and judge. I'm hoping I can learn from your experience you've shared and not go through the 4 days of torture myself! This story shows what a loving, humble person you are! I don't know that if I were in your shoes I would have acted with such humility.

If my husband were to have written a note I'm guessing it would be something along the lines of me being too sensitive and getting upset over everything; and had I seen such a note you could be sure it would have made me upset, and he would have heard about it IMMEDIATELY! I'm pretty confident I wouldn't have been able to wait four days to bring it up somehow. {Maybe I'll work on that and save the trouble of whole "anonymous" note debacle :) }

Chels said...

There is a really old school book I read when I was a brand new newlywed. It was the book that changed my marriage before it even began. It is called "Beautiful Womanhood" I only read the first 2 chapters, (and implemented them) and it was like suddenly having a complete understanding of my hubby. I can only imagine what I would have learned in the rest of the book. (I borrowed it to my sis, and it is lost forever)

I loved your personal story, regardless who wrote the note, I think it is the best that it changed the way you appreciated your hubby.

How enlightening for me to get to remember to appreciate my hubby from your story too!!! I love it!
Thanks for the share! Really!!!

hwscutie said...

Actually it could have been one of the wifes in the class as well. I wasn't there that night, but if I had heard that statement I would've thought that my husband had written it. I would've asked him sooner about though, but we don't have the kids with us either on the way home.

Minna and Matt Pedersen said...

This was a fantastic lesson and I am very thankful that you shared it with us all. Thank you.

andrea said...

I felt completely involved in your story. I also think of little things I sometimes take for granted, even though I try to thank Brien for all he does. There is always room for improvement, a "thank you" that was missed or a little something you can do to make life better. The important thing is to do the best we can as often as we can, and not be overly critical of ourselves (because that doesn't make anyone happy).

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing that sweet story, it brought a tear to my eye, I guess I can relate... GOOD, BETTER, BEST, NEVER LET IT REST, UNTIL THE GOOD IS BETTER AND THE BETTER BEST!!! Isn't it wonderful that we keep having little lessons like this to learn from. Love, MOM

Anonymous said...

PS I like the new pictures of the kids at the top!!!!! Love, MOM

The Ballstaedts said...

Julie, I LOVED your story. I think if Seth had written a note it would be something like... My wife tries to control what I do all the time... Which of course isn't true :)

PookaB said...

So much to learn. I think Matthew would have a list, not just one statement!

Elizabeth said...

I totally forgot about this class, and I really wanted to attend. Hmmm... I better call you and ask how long it has been going on, and other questions. I am so glad you are coming to play on Wed :)

Angela said...

This was quite entertaining to read! I had to share it with Christian too, hope you don't mind. I'm sorry you had to go through a torturous week over it, but at least in the end you found the truth. What if you would have never said anything??

But that handwriting DID look VERY similar! I don't think I could have told the difference either!

Craig Family said...

Thanks for sharing this sweet and funny story. I just happened upon your blog and read this post and it brought tears to my eyes. It made me so thankful for my dear hubby and all he does for our family. It also reminded me how important it is to love him, praise him, thank him and more. Thanks for spilling the beans :)

Ryan Englehart Family said...

Good for you guys for attending a Marriage class....it is so important to do things like that together. I would have died had I thought Ryan wrote a statement like that. I know I try to tell Ryan at least everyday how MUCH i appreciate all he does.

Darrell and Alissa said...

I read this a few days ago and forgot to comment- I was getting mad at Patrick for writing that, till I got to the end. It was a good lesson for me too- you were so humble about it, it wasn't even my husband and i was getting mad at him for making you feel so bad! I think we all need these kind of moments though, it really makes us not only stop and appreciate each other, but stop and think about our relationships between us and our spouse. It's so easy to just live together and take care of kids, but it's not as easy to make sure we are taking special time with our spice- keeping th romance there, jsut letting them know they are appreciated....
Thanks Julie!!

Melissa said...

I'm like Karen... my heart SUNK when you said you thought the note was from your husband!
You are SO AWESOME for sharing this!! And you've given me something to really ponder... what would my husband write? Probably that I complain too much. Because I do. Hmm... interesting!

Michelle said...

Just the fact that you took what you thought he wrote so seriously shows how much you love him. Thanks for sharing your story with us!