I have always believed in the importance of sharing honest opinions with others…especially with your loved ones.
Since my wife and I were first married, I have been expressing to her the need to tell me when there are areas in my behavior or interactions with her as a husband and friend that need to be adjusted.
I would say, “Babe, if you don’t tell me what I am doing wrong, how can I fix it?”
Change has never been a big deal when it comes to pleasing my wife because she is one of the biggest blessings in my life and a huge reason why it is such a happy one.
For a while she held back and tried to adjust to my idiosyncrasies, but over time she learned to share her feelings and help me see and understand how I could improve.
Sure, there are plenty of old habits that die hard (ask her about my driving) and I always seem to develop new little quirks, which just don’t seem to sit well with my bride. Sometimes, we have to chalk it up to the inevitability of two imperfect people attempting to love each other amidst the constant, innate desire to look out for ourselves. But other times, it is just our desire to rebel or refuse to give in out of our own selfishness or pride, which keeps us from doing what is best for the relationship.
In the end, I know we care about each other and always have each other’s backs (weird phrasing, I know), but the knowledge of this doesn’t always make it easier when I get some blunt truth from the love of my life.
Sure, I have been asking for it for many years now, but she has gotten really good at cutting out the fluff and just delivering the goods lately.
Most recently, she has been calling me out on my writing. Some of it has been lazy and uninspired (my words, not hers) but anytime you are creating something from the deep, twisted, inner workings of your own imagination and placing it out there for others, you are opening yourself up to the opinions and feelings of all who observe your “art” (loosely speaking in my case).
Of course, no one’s opinion means more to me than my wife’s, which is why a simple phrase after reading something I have written like, “it’s alright”, is the emotional equivalent to whacking me on the nose with a newspaper of disapproval and shoving me into a doghouse of shame until I learn to dig deeper for something original and uplifting allowing me to return for my treat of approval.
And while it can be difficult to deal with the sharp-tongued critiques of such a powerful influence, it always turns into great inspiration for me to improve my writing and push it to levels that will entertain, inspire, inform and ultimately, just not make the reader feel dumber afterwards.
It is also amazing how much her excitement in a particular post or project of mine moves me to keep pushing and seeking to find new ways to creatively express myself and all the craziness happening inside this head, which, I realize, from the outside, seems not to have much going on at all.
I guess if a little part of me has to die in order to experience huge highs of personal satisfaction through the verbal “thumbs up” of my wife, it is worth it. (Yes, I am being really dramatic here and I’m ok with it.)
Ultimately, I have come to recognize it will be much harder to achieve the goals I have in writing without the encouragement of my wife (or possibly metaphorical – and sometimes physical – kick in the behind).
So, sweetheart, ignore the tears and emotional breakdowns or outbursts and BRING IT ON!
I’ll take you in my corner any way I can get it.