Mr. O and I are both pretty calm personalities. Neither one of us has a bad temper or a short fuse, so we’ve had just a small handful of spats, usually over silly things (like me watching Pretty Little Liars without him—sorry Mr. O, your secret has been exposed!), so when we do have a bigger argument or miscommunication, it takes a pretty serious toll on us.
This last weekend left me on cloud nine. We were driving home from our second bridal shower and from a lovely visit with FIL Orchard when Mr. O said out of nowhere, “You know, Miss Orchard, I was worried about this whole marriage thing for a while, but I feel really solid about it now.”
I’m sorry”¦what? Cue the record scratch.
I had NO idea what he was talking about. There I was, singing along to some Glee version of a Beatles song when he completely ripped the rug out from under my feet.
He burst my love bubble.
I looked over at him, instantly (and possibly irrationally) emotional. “What do you mean?” I asked.
He looked as shocked by my reaction as I was by his statement.
“I just”¦I meant, you know, like I was thinking about marriage in general and how some marriages fall apart even though things look really solid and how no one sees it coming”¦and it was kind of scary because obviously no one starts out thinking they’re going to get divorced”¦” he rattled off in a bit of a panic (which always makes things worse!).
“So you think we’re going to end up divorced?!” I cried, tears officially welling up in my tired eyes.
“NO!” he yelled back, equally frustrated. “I just worry you know”¦about it all sometimes. But that wasn’t the point—the point is I’m NOT worried anymore!”
“BUT YOU WERE! And you didn’t TELL me! And you’re telling me NOW?! Why? When?” I shouted. What had I done to worry him? I had been a little moody last spring, but I changed jobs and we’d moved past that, right? Where had I gone wrong? How did this doubt settle over him? I sat there, seat-belted in, full of questions and fear and concern.
At a loss, Mr. Orchard did what most men do (I think) in those situations”¦he just got quiet. Which, by the way, is the WORST thing you can do in those situations.
Early in our living together, Mr. O and I took the 5 Love Languages test (as cheesy as that may sound, it’s really helpful and insightful and I highly recommend it) and found our results were pretty complementary except for our number one need. His was quality time (and time is the one thing I often run short on) and mine was words of affirmation (which he can struggle with from time to time). His statement shot my need for words over the top.
Mr. Orchard didn’t say much until we got home. Then he tried to explain again, but we were both just too tired for the argument so we packed it in for the night and didn’t see each other until the following night because I worked at both of my jobs. All day long I felt like a deflated balloon. I was actually really mad. How could Mr. Orchard do this to me a month out? I was supposed to be happy and carefree. This is why we needed premarital counseling. Now what?
As soon as I got home Mr. Orchard grabbed me and sat me down on the couch. He looked me in the eyes and said this:
“All I was trying to do was tell you how good and secure and right I feel about this marriage. Our marriage. How I feel like it is 100% going to succeed. I was reflecting on marriages that fail and wondering how they got to that point when people started out and seemed so happy, like we are. And it worried me for a bit. I wasn’t worried about YOU or ME or even US specifically but I guess just marriage in general. But lately, more and more, I realize that I don’t have those fears any longer. I just feel good. Solid. Ready. I have never wanted out of this thing. I have never been happier to be part of someone’s team. I want to marry you. I am so excited to marry you. Mostly, I want our lives together as a married couple to just start already!”
I took in his words slowly and thought about it. Mr. Orchard is not a child of divorced parents. He has never been a part of that kind of dynamic. I have. I tend to define what things are by what they are not. If I were to simply describe autumn in West Virginia I would likely say something like, “It’s not as hot as summer, not as rainy as spring, and not as miserable as winter.” I define our relationship by what it is not”¦and it is NOT anything like the failed marriages I’ve seen. I know that but he doesn’t, because he’s never been truly close to one that has fallen apart. Mr. O had every right to be nervous. He had every right to trust me enough to share those fears with me. And I had every right to react like a panicked bride-to-be.
Thankfully, today I feel much better now that I understand where he was coming from. I suppose it was actually a really sweet sentiment but I just couldn’t see that at first. I helped Mr. O figure out a few better ways to articulate future fears to avoid a total Miss Orchard meltdown, and he promised he’d be a little more careful with his delivery.
What difficult conversations have you and your SO had? Has the way you communicate versus your SO ever caused a problem? Have you had fears or reservations about the institution of marriage? Has your partner?
- Morgantown, WV
- English Teacher
- Wedding Date:
- November 2013
- JacksonÃ¢Â€Â™s Mill