For my February Happiness Project, I focused on 10 daily behaviors that would serve my marriage. Key among these were a few that focused on being a good partner versus being right.
Here is my scorecard on how I performed. The thing that stands out the most and that I will take forward above the others was the virtuous cycle that is set in motion by choosing grace.
I was going to go through the month without telling my husband about my focus. That all changed one day in the car when he said something that he knew was controversial and waited for me to react and take the bait. I sat silently and just let his words hang in the air. As I sat there peacefully, instead of assuming I was choosing not to argue he accused me of giving him the silent treatment! This was great insight into how I must normally behave. I like to be right. I like to manage my husband and wear the bossy pants. I like to think I’m smarter than everyone including him. It was eye-opening for me that it was easier for him to see me as punishing him versus recognizing that I was loving him and showing him grace. So I told him I was working on marriage for my Happiness Project and had revisited the many lessons learned in our marriage-changing workshop on Love and Respect. I told him I was being respectful and apologized for previous behavior that made him jump to the conclusion that my silence was a punishment.
From that moment forward, we have had a different dialogue. There has been a lightness to the way we engage with one another. He laughs when he sees I am choosing not to complain or argue. My decisions not to react have caused him to pause and evaluate what he just said that warranted me biting my tongue. He has apologized and laughed at himself when he gets heated versus feeling it is his right to behave any way he wants or that somehow I have caused him to act that way.
The results have been improved cooperation and communication in our household. As I serve him, he is motivated to serve me right back. Letting go of needing to be right in the moment has paid huge benefits of helping my marriage be on the right track in the big picture. Happiness Project month 2 has been a success.