The other night B hurt my deeply. He didn’t mean to but he did. We were dialoging and I got to choose the question. It was: How do I see our future together?
His response, ” Is this tomorrow’s future? Like how do I see tomorrow?”
“No it would be in ten years.” I replied.
“So how about in one year,” he shot back.
And so it went until I told him that whenever there was talk about a long time future together he avoided it and it hurt me deeply.
Perhaps I push too hard.
Perhaps I want answers that aren’t ready to be given.
Perhaps I demand too much.
But with tears in my eyes I said to him,”It hurts when you don’t talk about a long term future together. It makes me feel very insecure and sad. And it makes me wonder about why we are doing this at all. For when you love someone you talk about the future. Remember how you felt before we got married? All we wanted to do was talk about our future together.”
He replied,”I am trying to just take one day at a time. My therapist wants me to be in today’s moments not projecting out into the future and I have found I am more peaceful living that way.”
And with tears in my eyes I explained, “I understand that and it is a good way to live. I am trying harder to live in the moment too. However, when this happens, when you refuse to talk about a future ,it takes me back to when I was a 9 year old child who didn’t know where she would be sleeping or who she would be staying with. It puts me in a scary place. So for me the future is very important. It reduces my anxiety about our relationship and talk of it makes me feel secure. It makes me feel like I know where my head will be resting and that is really important to me and that scared little kid who still lives inside of me.”
B looked at me. Hard. Tears coming to his eyes.
“Come here,” he said with open arms. “Let me just hold you,” he said as he wrapped his arms around me moving me closer towards his heart.
And so he held me. He stroked my hair. Then, quietly, he began sharing his thoughts of what the future with me looked like. And it was then that I knew he really heard me and understood why “knowing” the future was so important to me. He opened himself up and shared because it was what I needed.
Comfort means different things to different people. It may be provided in different ways and at one time it may be meaningful, at another, not so much. But providing comfort because you have heard a need and you wish to answer it is probably the greatest thing that we can give to one another. It promotes good will. It promotes understanding and healing between two people.
So today, instead of asking what we can do for our partner, perhaps, we would be better off asking how we can comfort them. For when we do a strange thing begins to happen. Love awakens. Love strengthens. Love endures. Because by stepping outside of our own comfort zone to comfort another, we ultimately get provided with a kind of comfort we didn’t even know was needed.And as it turns out, we end up giving and getting a gift more precious than gold.