Off-kilter: not in perfect balance, a bit askew (Merriam-Webster.com)
I’ve been trying to find the perfect word to describe this funk that the husband and I find ourselves in. That weird “vibe” that I’m sure most couples experience at some or other point in their relationships. It’s not there all the time, but lately, it’s been rearing its ugly head way more than usual. It’s not arguing as such, it’s not the but-you-said-this or I-did-that, or the blatant silent treatment, it’s just well… like… as if… we are off-kilter – not in perfect balance, a bit askew.
I have no doubt that it’s just that time of the year when everyone has just had enough. Even the kids have that end-of-year frazzle going on which aggravates the situation between my husband and I. I’m not sure if a holiday will fix it, but I hope it does. There’s nothing worse than trying to find a solution to something, when you don’t actually know what the problem is. We talk about it, we agree that perhaps we just need to try harder, put in more effort, we kiss on it but a few days down the line, we’re back there.. in that weird space. I try to find triggers that set us off, and it almost always comes down to the kids – not that I blame them, but it just reminds me that parenting is hard work, it’s so hard to strike a balance between parenting and nurturing your relationship with your partner. It’s difficult to plan anything because you never know what to expect with little ones. A classic example is date night.. we agree that once the kids are down, we’re going to have a romantic evening and focus on each other. Of course, that’s the evening that both babies are restless; they refuse to go to bed, and after spending what feels like hours, FORCING them to just GO TO SLEEP, who really feels like being romantic? I sure don’t. Or how a kid has this insane ability to wake from a nap the MOMENT you and your husband touch each other. Never ceases to amaze me. Or just in general how your daily dealings with the kids, can come between you and your husband… I say yes to Liam having a sweetie after supper, the husband freaks out because unbeknown to me, he had given Liam a sweetie five minutes before. Liam is two yeras old and loves sweets, he isn’t going to tell me that he JUST had one? But of course, we end up in a huff over a sweet. So silly! Hannah wants to wear her brown bear slippers after bath time, but I’ve taken out the pink ones already. I freak out because it’s been a long day and I just want to get on with it, but instead I have to haggle with this baby over what shoes to wear. The husband walks in and says “JUST LET HER WEAR THE PINK SHOES!” (he is right, but because HE said it, I refuse to let him –and Hannah- win) so I get MYSELF into a huff and of course that sets the tone for the rest of the evening. So silly! Unless you are a parent reading this, you may think we are crazy squabbling over completely irrelevant and often nonsensical things, but for those of you with kids, you will understand that children bring out the best, and the worst in parents (please agree or else this means that we REALLY have problems!). And I know they will soon grow up, they won’t be as needy as they are at this stage, and our lives will be less child-focused and we can then focus more on ourselves, but I don’t want to lose my husband in the process or become so distant from him, that we don’t know how to pick up where we left off.
Then I have to factor in work stress, Johannesburg traffic stress, financial stress, and just being TIRED from ALL that stress…it stands to reason that a normal person would be off-kilter every now and again, right? So what do we do to rebalance this off-kiltered-ness? I’m not really sure to be honest. I don’t feel like we’re in trouble or anything as serious as that, but all mountains grow from a molehill that wasn’t flattened at the start, so I’d rather bulldoze this molehill, than have to deal with Kilimanjaro later. Some days are glorious, some days are not as glorious but we still stand united, and then other days I want to gently place a pillow over his head while he sleeps. All the prayer in the world doesn’t seem to be helping with this compulsion. Talking about prayer… I think it’s the only thing that keeps us sane, placing Jesus at the centre of it all makes things easier. And even when we can’t find the words or understand each other’s frustrations, we know that God is working in the shadows. And no matter how hard it gets or how off-kilter we feel, we find our balance in Christ, who’s WILL will not take you, where His grace cannot keep you… even though I have serious issues with God’s sense of humour, a subject I will talk to him at length about one day.
That is all. Pray for parents with children. Kids – a blessing in DISGUISE for real.