What I appreciate about my relationship with Larry is how we both take responsibility for our behavior and actions. We have a lot in common and are both pretty easy going and have learned to go with the flow. We respect and support each other’s needs and what is important to each of us.
Larry and I love being retired. He does what he wants to do during the day and I do what I want to do and we come together at night to relax and share about the day. We take day trips and go out to breakfast and lunch often. We dance, pray, play and are writing our book together. He likes to stay home more than I do and I like to play with the girls. I like my quiet time and have my “Pat” days when I want to. In other words, we give each other FREEDOM to do what is important to each of us. It works for us as we are creating a “conscious” love relationship and are enjoying the “fruits of our labor” with Spirit. We are remembering that we are all ONE and connected and there is only LOVE.
But we do have a major difference that we are working on as we want to be respectful of one another. We know that neither one of us is right or wrong, just different perspectives. I like “stuff” which he thinks is “clutter.” I have candles and flowers and pretty things around. He has been great with giving me the freedom to decorate the way I want to because it didn’t seem to matter to him. Larry is more of a “minimalist” and prefers not to have things around, especially in the kitchen. Perhaps because he was in the catering business for so many years, he likes things the way he likes them and I try to be sensitive to that.
When I moved into our current home 3 ½ years ago, it was fully furnished and I had my own stuff that I had accumulated. When Larry moved in 2 ½ years ago, he brought his stuff. There is little storage room in our home and things got stuffed into the kitchen cabinets. I managed to organize it so everything was in its place, or so I thought it was organized and in its place!
It all came to a head when I heard the “crash” of glass in the kitchen. I came running in from outside to see what happened. There was glass all over the floor and counters. Larry was very upset and yelled, “I am so f………frustrated with this clutter.” I had never seen him so angry and it scared me. He is usually very calm.
Instead of staying there and helping him clean up the glass which I would have done in the past to make everything ok, I immediately went back outside to calm myself down. I am grateful that I had the presence of mind to keep my mouth shut and not argue. I sat outside praying and feeling my feelings.
When I came in from outside an hour later, I went into the room to discuss what happened. Larry said, “I have a letter to write on my computer and left the room.” I assumed he wasn’t ready to talk about what happened. I went to the other bedroom and read and prayed.
What upset me, other than the fact that he was so angry, is that I didn’t have any idea that he felt so frustrated and strongly about the “clutter” as he called it. I wasn’t willing to take responsibility for something I didn’t know about. He had a responsibility to “lovingly” share with me things that were bothering him. An hour later, he came into the room and kind of apologized, but minimized what happened and said, “I don’t want to make a big deal out of this.”
It was a big deal because I had never seen him like that and he scared the S…. out of me. I also wondered if there were other things that bothered him that he wasn’t talking about.
The next morning when we talked about it, Larry said, “I didn’t realize how much the kitchen cabinets bothered me until the glass shattered all over the place. I don’t want to complain about everything, so I usually just ignore things.” I was quiet and listened to him as he shared his perspective.
He admitted that he was lazy and could have done something about the cabinets if he didn’t like them or he could have talked to me about them before he exploded. I admitted that I was also lazy and instead of taking things out that we weren’t using, I kept finding space for them. He agreed to pay attention to when something is bothering him and to let me know and not ignore it. I agreed to not put anything in the closet unless I take something out.
It is my belief that Spirit uses everything for our highest good. Since the “crash” there is a fire under my butt to clean out other closets that have things stuffed into them. It really feels lighter.
We had an opportunity to address a situation that we both had different perspectives on. Pat loves paintings and pictures and there isn’t much room on our walls for any more pictures or paintings. She also loves likes rocks, crystals, statues, and flowers. She receives great satisfaction and peace from having all these things around. She loves to go out Saturday mornings to garage sales to find treasures. I am fine with that and encourage her to go and have fun.
This week, I realized I wasn’t fine with it after the bowl crashed on the counter. We have little storage space and trying to fit two households into the cabinets is pretty difficult to do. Our kitchen cabinets are packed jam full of plates, bowl, cups, and glasses.
I had just gotten up from a late nap and was still kind of groggy. When I opened a kitchen cabinet door and reached for a bowl, a dish fell out and crashed into a million pieces on the counter. I was shocked and frightened. My comfort level went from a calm level of zero to an alarmed level of 1000. I yelled “I can’t stand all this #!# *! clutter anymore.” I was angry and didn’t like being startled like that. I proceeded to clean up the mess and started to calm down. I knew I needed to be alone for awhile. Pat had never seen me this angry so it was upsetting and scary for her.
As I took time to think about what happened, I realized that I wasn’t upset with Pat, but I was upset with myself. I take care of placing all the cups, glasses, plates back into the cabinets because the cabinets are high and it’s easier for me to reach than it is for Pat. I have been living under these circumstances for more than 2 1/2 years and wondered why I didn’t do something about it up until now? The truth is it wasn’t important enough and I was just too lazy to do or say anything about it.
Pat encouraged me to speak up when things bother me, rather than let them build up and then explode. I really didn’t know it was bothering me until the crash. I work at being flexible and not complaining. I agreed to do that rather than seeing it as complaining.
The next morning we discussed what happened and what we could do to resolve it. I had the idea to buy some big plastic bins and put the things we are not using into them. We spent the morning going through the cabinets and cleaning them out. Sometimes I’m not the “brightest bulb in the package” because I never even thought of doing this until now. The lesson learned is to pay attention if something is bothering me, rather than ignore it and do something before I blow my cool. I’ll do better the next time. Pat agreed to not put anything new in the kitchen cabinet unless she takes something out.
In the past, I would have really beaten up on myself. I didn’t do that and was able to take responsibility for my actions and move on.
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