We all have behaviors that we’ve not so much chosen as assumed. One of mine was pointed out to me years ago by my beloved spouse.
“You always pick a fight with me before I travel.”
He was completely right.
Once this behavior was drawn to my attention, I gained a measure of control over it. Now, on the evening before DH leaves for a business trip, I don’t pick a fight about how one ought to load the dishwasher or the correct position for the lid of a toilet not in use.
Instead, I cling to him almost desperately, and whisper sadly:
“I hate when you go. I want to punch you. I love you.”
Note: These are just words of frustration. Families should not hit each other.* If your family hits you, please get help. Call the police.
Even wallowing in awareness of my reluctance to part, and fully cognizant of my tendency toward easing the transition through verbal aggression, I still need to express it.
At least now, this expression has joined the ranks of our commonly understood, odd, humor-filled scripted interactions.
“I’ll miss you, too,” DH says. “I wish I didn’t have to go.”
He hugs me tight and gives me the reassurance I’m tacitly requesting.
DH doesn’t always speak my language, but he’s gotten pretty good at interpreting it.
Someday, perhaps I will evolve even further. I may yet grow into a kinder, gentler person who doesn’t feel angry—and find a need to express that anger through nitpicking fights or unpleasant words—when confronted by the temporary loss of my love.
He’s my best friend. I hate it when he goes away for even one night.
That’s probably what I should learn to say instead.
*There is some physical contact that is perhaps best described as martial arts practice in our family. That requires the explicit, stated participation of all parties, and is only supposed to occur in our exercise room. None of the men in the household seem capable of confining their wrestling to the gym, but it is the rule, for the benefit of the furniture as well as the safety of the combatants.