I recently looked up the definition of compatibility. It is the “ability to exist and perform in harmonious or agreeable combination.”
I have never been in a relationship that is more compatible that I am with Larry. We always comment to one another how well we get along. We not only love one another, but we like each other, support each other’s journey, enjoy each other’s company, laugh at each other’s silly jokes and find it easy to talk to one another. We respect each other’s opinions, even when we disagree about something. We cherish each other for who we are and give each other the freedom to be ourselves. We strive to be authentic with one another and share our feelings openly and honestly. We listen to one another and communicate well.
Compatibility is much more than just getting along with your partner. It is knowing that your partner has compatible moral values and opinions on the most important issues in your life. Larry and I complement each other spiritually, intellectually, physically and emotionally. We each have our own interests, as well as similar interests that we do together. Our temperaments are very similar in that we both like relaxing, naps and just doing nothing.
Something came up for us this week that we were able to communicate about and work through because of our willingness to be honest and share what is important to us. I have shared in another blog that I will not be returning to Rhode Island for Christmas. This is the first year ever that I will not be spending it with my children. I have made this choice because I wanted to and believe it is what I am meant to do. Larry and I want to make new traditions together for Christmas.
I suggested to Larry that on Christmas day we invite some of our friends to our home who don’t have family here for a potluck. He seemed agreeable and we started to invite our friends over. Everyone was happy to be invited and to share it with us.
I felt surprised when Larry shared his feelings with me this week because they were not compatible with mine. We both had different “needs and wants” for Christmas day. He was clearly not excited about having people over like I was. It wasn’t that he didn’t like the people we invited over, he really did. He shared how stressful it is because of his past experiences of being in the catering business. He told me, “I am agreeable to do this because I love you and know it is important to you, especially your first Christmas away from your family.”
I was quiet and listened to his feelings and tried to be as understanding as I could be. Although I was grateful for his honesty in sharing his thoughts and feelings with me, I felt disappointed and wondered what the best thing to do would be for both of us. I didn’t want him to be stressed that we were having a party and I wanted to support him and his needs. I also wanted to support me and my needs to have friends over.
I sensed this was an opportunity for me to grow and to let go of old codependent behaviors and beliefs. For so many years, I felt responsible for my loved ones behaviors and feelings and thought their behavior was a reflection on me. Today I know I am not responsible for Larry’s feelings and behaviors and I don’t have to fix or change him. I am responsible for my own behaviors and feelings and keeping my vibration high. I choose to live in peace and joy by practicing detachment with love. I prayed and asked God for help in how to handle this situation.
At first I thought the best thing to do would be to say nothing to Larry and just move forward with the plans. I didn’t want to escalate it or make it worse for him. I then decided to ask him, “How can I help you get what you want and your needs met and feel less stressed?”
It looks like I have a “challenge” and an “opportunity” to grow at the same time when it comes to socializing and partying. I find this very stressful because of my past history of being in the food industry for 32 years (16 year’s operating a catering business and 16 years as a manager of an industrial cafeteria). Planning and providing food for clients’ special occasions was a stressful and demanding career. In the catering business you are judged by how satisfied your customers are with their events. As the owner of the business, I felt responsible and strived to have everything perfect. It was a reflection on me if something went wrong.
When I retired, I promised myself that 32 years of this kind of stress was enough and that I would not allow myself to experience stressful situations like this again. For 14 years, I have been successful at doing this until now.
I think Pat and I are very compatible and this situation offers us an opportunity to be flexible, loving and understanding with each other. I know that we will figure it out and both benefit from the opportunity.
This is Pat’s first time away from family during the Christmas holidays and I wanted to be as supportive as possible. She has a desire to have a party on Christmas day and I would have been happy to take in a movie and dinner or take everybody out to a restaurant.
When Pat suggested “Let’s have a party” my stress button automatically kicked in because I didn’t want to feel that kind of pressure again and put myself in a situation where my actions could be judged as successful or failure.
For most of my life I would be alright with just going along with what someone else wanted because it wasn’t worth the hassle for me to complain. I may not have even known what I wanted. Now as I’m learning to love myself and become more conscious, when I don’t want to do something and I am not happy with a situation, I bring it up for discussion.
Although I wanted to support Pat and not disappoint her, I decided to be honest and shared my feelings with her. I thought perhaps she didn’t understand the magnitude of the stress I experienced all those years in my profession. I felt frustrated and fearful because I didn’t want to be put in that vulnerable position of the possibility of failure again. Yet, I had agreed to have a party for Christmas as a sign of my love for Pat and to be willing to face and heal my past.
When Pat asked me “How can I help you get what you want and your needs met and feel less stressed,” I didn’t even have an answer for her. We discussed my feeling “responsible” for everything and having to do things perfectly. I acknowledged that if I changed the belief that I have to do everything so that it will be perfect, I would feel less stressed.
Pat and I agreed that she will “shoulder” all the stress by planning and purchasing all the supplies, food and drinks. Sounds like a good plan to me because after all it was her idea. LOL I am confident that we will work this out because “love conquers all.” We will work together one moment at a time and Christmas and the party will be fine.
Whichever way you are celebrating the holidays, regardless of how you picture God welcome everyone with love, forgive everyone with love and open your hearts to the greatest gift possible, THE GIFT OF LOVE.
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