As I wrote last week, my husband retired on Friday. I had planned a small family party: his two brothers, my son and his wife, and one of our daughters. It was my first themed party: Hawaiian. I had Leis (the leafy and the flower styles), Hawaiian food, Hawaiian music, Hawaiian shirts/dress for me, and ridiculous pineapple sunglasses. I baked a macadamia nut pie (I used a pecan pie recipe and swapped out the pecans for mac nuts).
Here's what actually happened since Friday at 5:30PM:
- My husband arrived home just in time to reach the toilet before puking! My son and daughter-in-law were on quarantine due to Covid exposure. We ate pizza and salad for dinner without my husband.
- Saturday was relatively calm. We had people here, including our high school friend, Lee. All of us except my husband ate the Hawaiian food for lunch. The pie with whipping cream . . . just, yum!
- Sunday, one brother puked on a walk in the neighborhood, and the other had an upset stomach and fever.
- Monday, since people were feeling better, we attempted an outing where we would be outdoors and away from people, but that didn't work out. People were recovering. Except for my husband.
- Tuesday, my husband tested positive for Covid. Everyone got PCR tested. One brother headed back to Denver and a hotel, because his wife doesn't want to get Covid as she has lung issues, and uses oxygen at night already.
- Wednesday, negative Covid test for me and brothers. Phew.
Is this like a bad movie, or what? My husband felt so bad that he ‘ruined’ the party I had put so much work into. I felt bad that he was sick in the first five minutes of retirement. I assured him all was okay, I was sorry he felt like sh!t, and we’d get through this like we get through everything: together.
How do you and your partner handle things when all your plans go to hell? Do you fight, snip at one another, blame, etc., or do you remember you’re a team (e.g., playing doubles tennis and you’re on the same side), and do what you must with a good heart?
I sincerely hope it’s the latter, yet from what I see in the therapy room, it’s more often the former.
Next time your best laid plans go to hell, which will happen now and then, stop and breathe before any words come out of your mouth. Pay attention to your facial expressions and body language. There are many ways to show disapproval, upset, blame, etc. without words. You know what I’m talking about.
Please remember that your limbic brain-the survival/emotional brain-triggers in 1/200th of a second. Also know that all your limbic brain wants to know is will I die, or will I survive? And it’s wired to survive. Your arguments, disputes, fights, etc. are about your limbic brain ‘fighting’ for survival. Therefore, by s l o w i n g down, making time for your cortical, thinking brain to come online, you can each reassure your limbic brains that you will survive.
Practice playing on the same team every day; not just when life is difficult. That way you'll have it down pat when the sh!t hits the fan.