Let me illustrate the point of my illumination: the bottle dryer vs. the dish drying rack.
We've had bottles in our house for the last two years because of having children that are only seventeen months apart. Bottles aren't simple any more, folks. They have eight million parts and special drying racks that look like plastic grass. We were given the grass bottle rack and stuck it next to our regular dish drying rack. Now, when Jake washes things, the bottle rack is organized with military-like precision. Each bottle and all its parts line up together. The rack looks gorgeous. The dish drying rack, however, looks like a tornado blew through it. Or as though Jake stood across the room and literally chucked dinnerware into it at random.
Me? I could care less about the bottles. I shove them into that plastic grass abomination however the hell they will fit. But my dishes...now that's a different story. I line all the plates up and the glasses, I want to see order and beauty staring back at me from that drying rack. Right next to the mess of bottles, mind you.
All of this to illustrate that both Jake and I make no freaking sense. Why would either of us be neat with one drying rack and not the other? They are right next to each other. We do this because we're people, with tendencies, quirks...and we just don't make an ounce of sense sometimes.
Emotions are the same way. When things get really hard in a relationship (which they will with all relationships at some time or another), you want to pick apart the why. Both parties desperately want to understand each other and also be understood. But sometimes emotions don't make sense. Sometimes you feel the way you do, for no reason other than that's just how you feel. I'm not saying to cease all lines of communication. People should keep talking to one another. But now I try reminding myself to listen to Jake's words and take them at face value; not to read his background or family history or life experiences into how he feels. If there are some of those things going on, it's his job to tell me about them. I try to coerce his feelings into making sense, when eighty percent of the time my own feelings don't have any rhyme or reason—they just are. If I want my emotions to be respected and heard, then I need to do the same with Jake. Sometimes, the best response to another's emotion is a head nod and, "Wow, I hear you. Tell me more about how you feel."