You Are What You Marinate In

Let's pretend I am a normal person and not a "therapist" for a moment. It will make this easier to admit.

There are days I think angry or unkind thoughts about my husband.

It usually happens when I'm feeling overwhelmed at the sheer enormity of the task before me... and then I trip over something he (unknowingly) left in my path. He doesn't even have to be there, but in that moment, the emotional force of all of my frustration finds a bulls-eye! I go from stressed-out mommy to "innocent and unappreciated" martyr in the span of 5 seconds.

It's not pretty. In fact, it's entirely petty and childish and mean-spirited. I guess I should be thankful it all happened in my head, huh?

Oh yes, you know "the look"
But here's the thing: regardless of whether or not anyone knows the depths of my thoughts, they will still change how I feel and interact with my husband later that day. I might be completely "over" the latest annoyance... and yet as soon as he walks in the door and does *that thing that makes me crazy*, I'm a lot less likely to chalk it up to a cute character quirk.

I like to make up terms. In this case, I call it a "Love Buffer". You see, when I spend all day marinating in angry, resentful, hateful thoughts... it depletes my love buffer. Suddenly my capacity for patience and understanding is drained. Things that might have been a "2" on a 10-point scale are now an "8". Suddenly, I'm fighting over something that doesn't truly matter to me. And the craziest part is... I might not even realize that my current fight is being influenced by my earlier private martyrdom.

But I've come to realize: I am what I marinate in.
-when I marinate in resentment all day, I eventually become resentful.
-when I marinate in hateful thoughts all day, I eventually become hateful.
-when I marinate in bitter musings all day, I eventually become bitter.

So does this mean I ought to suppress any momentary irritation with my spouse? Pretend he's perfect in my mind and expect that to solve everything? Hardly! But it does mean that once I've communicated my frustration to him, and we've worked it out, it's my job to make sure I'm redepositing back into my Love Buffer.

How? I marinate in the good with as much relish as I did the bad. By searching my memory banks for the recent kind and considerate things he did. By making mental lists of 3 things I truly love about him. By re-playing special moments in my mind: our first kiss, our wedding day, the birth of our son.

In other words, by doing what newlyweds do naturally: marinating in the love so that I have enough buffer to endure the bad. Because after all, I am what I marinate in.

Wishing you a squishy marinade full of love,

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