This is a little embarrassing, but you know what used to drive me nuts about my husband? When he gets sick, the world comes to a halt so he can take care of himself and get better. I know. That's what's supposed to happen when we get sick. Nonetheless, it used to drive me insane.
Until meeting him, I never saw anyone take being sick so seriously. If I got a cold, it wasn't that big of a deal. I would never imagine not walking the dogs or taking care of our daughter just because I was sick. Growing up, unless my mother was unable to move, she didn’t take off from life. As a widow raising two kids, that wouldn’t have been an option. But when my husband gets sick, he's off from life. He makes sure he has the right medicine, asks the doctor for the best protocol, gets all the sleep he can, all the fluids, and he is temporarily out of commission to do anything.
So....of course when we first met (and for a while), I judged the crap out of this lol. I thought, "I'd never feel like it was ok to just take a break from my responsibilities,“ and, "he’s so dramatic,” and “great, another man-cold,” and “you’re not that sick.”
These judgments are code for the thought, "What's wrong with you?" And that question comes from a lack of respect for him at that moment. When we judge, we are looking down on the receiver of the judgment. I don't want to look down on someone I love (or anyone) just because they do things differently than me.
I began to look inward toward myself at why I was so judgmental of him about how he handled getting sick. Do you know what I discovered? Two reasons:
No one ever gave me permission to take off from life just because I was sick, so I didn't know that was an acceptable option. My husband received care in a different way than I did in his family of origin, and to them, being sick was and still is, a big deal. And you know what? That's a GOOD THING. But it was so foreign from what I knew, that I found it irritating at first. In the beginning of our relationship he practically had to make me rest when I was sick. It didn't even occur to me. Lay in bed while he walks the dogs, cooks, gets me soup, takes care of our daughter? What? But it turns out, when I rest and let him take care of me, I get better! Lol, I know. Not surprising.
Like most of us, I wasn’t taught that it’s ok for my partner to do things differently than me. His way isn’t worse or better, it’s just different. It’s his way. My way isn’t the right way. It’s the right way for me. And, in this case, it turns out HIS way is the right way for me, LOL.
So, instead of judging him and creating distance between us, I chose to look at what was being touched within me by his behavior. Had I not looked inward at what his behavior was touching in me, I would have continued to find him really annoying when he was sick. And, I would have continued to get sick and not take care of myself. Lose-lose, right?
Now, when I don't feel well, I let it be a big deal just like he does. I let him take full care of me. And I take complete care of him when he's sick, without judging him.
And you know what the best part of all of this is? My judgment of him is no longer creating distance between us. There's no lingering negative feeling toward him. And he didn't have to change ONE BIT for that issue to get resolved. I had to take ownership of my judgment and let it go.
Remember, judgments create distance. Acceptance leads to connection.
What does your partner do that irks the crap out of you?