Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Encouraging Signs

I'm sorry to have left things on such a bleak note, since, aside from being incredibily busy, the less dramatic parts of our WLM seem to be falling in to place. I have a need for acknowledgment that is at the root of this dynamic for me, and I know that. That's still something of an issue. But taking a step back, yesterday was an interesting day.

We were IM'ing and considering getting together for lunch. Her exact words:

"Wanna come home for lunch?"
"Let me put this another way..."

To which I responded, of course,

"As you wish"

As I've said, the idea of her using these little verbal formulas is not attractive to her; I don't know how she feels about me using them (guess I should ask; my guess is that she doesn't care), but I think they're good disciplines.

The evening was quite different from what we had expected - I had work to do (which is unusual), and she did three different cooking projects (that's called "fun" around our house...) At the end of the evening, she said "I'm tried, I'm going to bed." At which point two things happened:

I got up from work to make sure the bedroom was prepared for her (which, trivially, means turning on her light and setting our her toiletry supplies)

And she left a large number of dishes un-done in the kitchen (though she did a lot of tidying up and running a load of dishes). Dishes have always been my responsibility, so this isn't so different from what would have normally happened, except for the conversation about it later.

One her way upstairs, she thanked me - I inferred that was for preparing the bedroom, to which I replied, of course, "My pleasure" (which it really was; have I mentioned how pathetic it is that in some senses the most pleasant moment of my day is doing that stuff for her?).

And when I came to bed, she apologized for leaving all the dishes. To which I could honestly say, "Thank you for letting me do them." The idea that she would feel comfortable enough to do what she wanted to do (cooking projects) and not worry about the aftermath when she got tired, is exactly the luxury I'm hoping to provide her. Not "I'm such a bitch, I get to be a thoughtless slob" but "I have the luxury of doing what I want, and a loving husband who delights in giving me that luxury." At least that's the direction I think we're going.

Finally, this morning we were trying to schedule a complicated weekend in the future, and she had a plan, which I messed up by having creating another outside commitment. She just said, "You make the calls and arrange that weekend. It's your problem." She alluded to this afterwards in a way that made me think that it was a conscious choice/experiment to see if she could unload a task that has been annoying her. That was thrilling - of course now I just have to figure out how to resolve the gordian knot of the weekend, but I'll figure something.

All of this results from a long talk we had on Sunday, which seemed to have few practical effects on Monday, but which may be bearing longer term fruit. I'll try to remember to post about that soon.


At all Times said...

Jamie - if I have learned anything from my experiences in trying to establish a WLM its that in order for it to work, you BOTH have to want it, maybe not on the same level, but you both have to be comfortable with what it's about, and then and only then can your wife start to develop her own way of expressing herself. It may not be the way in which you would like, but it can still work. By persisting in using a term like "as you wish", sounds to me like as though you are not interested, I know what context you are using it in, but if your wife does not like being spoken to in that way, you risk alienating her. There is a danger that if you don’t get any acknowledgement you start trying to live out your fantasy in your own mind, and by using phrases like as you wish in response to everything your wife says, will soon piss her off, and make her resent this WL thing even more. What you want is to engage her, not the opposite. What you should have said was, “I’d love to come and see you for lunch”. My guess is you can’t turn any vanilla wife into a dominant or bossy character, just by doing chores and saying things like yes mamm, no mamm, and as you wish. In order for her to be engaged your wife needs to feel loved, and that this is more about her than you.

Hope you don’t mind the advice, I know we are all different, and you know your wife best, it’s just a thought.

Jamie said...

AAT: Lots of good points as usual. I totally agree about both people wanting this relationship to happen this way, even if it's not exactly in the same way for each of us. And that WIFE LED means that once the ball is rolling, I have to let go and follow her lead. It's the getting the ball rolling part that seems problematical right now.

"As you wish" is a reference to The Princess Bride, best movie ever made as far as our family is concerned: "Every time Wesley said, 'As you wish', what he was really saying was, 'I love you.'" Which is so true of us, that it fit too well to pass up. But as it happens, I've slacked off on that considerably - see Give the Dog a Bone.

Love your advice, thanks.