Victory/good news I want to share with strangers: a light went on in my husband’s mind over the weekend. We had been having the same stupid, brutal fight for over a year and a half, and we’ve been married for a bit less than two. As I was looking at apartment listings so I could move out, something caused the light bulb to go on in his head. “I’ve been treating you like a girlfriend and not a wife.”
He finally got it. We’re a family – us, baby, pets. We don’t draw boundaries with his parents because they are so exceedingly reasonable that there is no need to draw boundaries; however, if they acted differently, we would need to. My husband actually thought we didn’t draw boundaries with them because parents still run the show, even though we’re pushing 40.
The multitude of people who have stuck their noses into our marriage, told us how to run our lives, treated us like kids shacking up, aren’t people to be listened to. My philosophy is: if you wanted to run my marriage, you should have been the other person up at the altar. When people were nasty to me about my pregnant body, he shouldn’t have balanced their feelings and my feelings and held a freaking tribunal; “shut up about my wife’s body” is, more or less, the correct response.
I had been telling him since we were dating that you can tie yourself up in knots dealing with people who are taking potshots at your significant other, fiance(e), or spouse, or you can draw a quick, clear boundary and enforce it. The latter is so much easier. Yesterday, the light bulb came on and my husband said that he finally understood what I meant about it just being EASY. He said that he understood that this family is his primary focus and responsibility, and that everyone else – extended family, church people, friends, randos on the street – are secondary.
Previously, he had never really understood why I drew such strong lines with my controlling and cruel parents. He didn’t get why their actions re: our wedding were a prequel to how they would have treated us in our marriage if I had let it continue or why that would have been such a huge problem. “I used to 20% understand and 80% think you were wrong. Now I 100% think you were right. We’re not playing house; this is our new nuclear family.”