Postponed talk

I’ve been told I have perfectionism tendencies yet I couldn’t quite see it. 

Tonight we went to read in the bedroom so it wasn’t too late for a serious conversation. I brought it up. Conrad sighed, worried. He felt I ambushed him. He doesn’t like to have serious talks. Ever. 

I always give it a serious thought before bringing up heavy or constructive conversations. I choose my time. I choose my words. I think of what I want to accomplish. It’s rarely to vent. I usually vent prior. I pray about it. 

Anyway, I kept it short and it was persuasive. But more so, it was enlightening to me as well. 

Here goes.

We all have few things that bothers us about others. But as we live together as a family we learn to embrace those things or ignore them. We can’t let them bother us day in and day out. We become otherwise cynical or critical to a fault.

I had garlic sauce with my pizza the other night. And Conrad brought it up. Because it makes my skin have a certain scent as my body processes raw garlic, and it bothers him. 

When I know something I do is bothersome to someone I tend to correct my behavior. But as I was speaking I said I try “to perfect my personality”. To be easy to live with. To be perfect. But perfection demands other people to raise the bar and perfect their behavior. As I was corrected I thought to myself: the others have a longer list of imperfections than me. How come they don’t see the balance. And show some grace. 

Sleeping on it, I realized that comparing lists is not loving nor constructive. And if we bring up the other persons’ imperfection Instead of trying to listen, empathize and improve out of love not out of perfectionist competition, then we will dig ourselves a hole of discontentment. 

I believe speaking the truth in love but also kingly allowing the other to just be and still love them with grace is a loving attitude. I need to know that I am liked and enjoyed and appreciated and admired without worrying about my shortcomings all the time. 

We talked about the things that I ignore and don’t complain about, not just suffering them but overcoming them and loving the person. Conrad was under the impression that I am overly affected by some of his shortcomings when in reality I cover myself in grace and don’t think about it. 

As we correct our girls I worry our instructions come across as criticisms and someone who is overly criticized can lose hope and confidence. I want the message to always be love and admiration and acceptance while we strive to be considerate and loving towards our neighbor or family member who puts up with our crap. 

My takeaway: I have perfected my behavior and manners all my life. Time for More grace. More courage speaking up early. Kindness. Ownership of my side but letting go of what doesn’t belong to me to carry. 

Not dwell on it. 

Meanwhile, bringing this up with my husband, choosing the time and place but not stressing too much about how he would receive it. Calling him out on it when he becomes defensive or irritated. Challenging him to listen. Truly listen as it comes from a place of love and desire to communicate constructively. Marriage is not easy. But worth it. Family life is work but the reward is enriching. 

Wound you rather be perfect demanding perfection or would you understand you will never be perfect and thus extend grace beyond the equal measure of the grace you feel you receive.