There are so many things to bicker about on a family camping trip: from loading up the borrowed truck to finding the best place to set up the tent; from my driving (and his directions) to how to divvy up the blankets when the temperature at night dropped to an unpredicted low (and my son was wearing my fleece jacket since he forgot his own).
Bill and I couldn’t agree on anything.
It was painful – and a big clue that there was something bigger going on with me.
Bill and I have been working more closely together over the last six months. Recently, we scheduled a free call to jumpstart a new venture we’ve been considering – leading workshops for couples. This first free call (which was supposed to be last week and was rescheduled to July 21st) is called “What to do When You Don’t Agree,” interestingly enough.
On the camping trip, I woke up early Saturday morning, quietly climbed out of the tent, but then couldn’t get the camp stove to work. Frustrated (because I really wanted a warm chai tea after shivering all night), I grabbed my backpack, warm hat, and gloves and took a walk down to the lake. It was a beautiful morning. The lake was still. The geese along the shore reminded me of my favorite Mary Oliver poem Wild Geese:
… you only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
I would love to be the person who could work with her spouse, collaborating closely on a day-in-day-out basis. I’m not. I’ve discovered that I don’t compartmentalize well. I can’t separate the driving-me-nuts co-preneur from the love-you-to-the-moon-and-back husband.
When Bill and I bicker, we’re not fighting about whether the entrance to the tent should be facing the trees or facing the neighbor’s campsite, who let the yellowjacket in, or whether there’s enough ice to last the weekend or if he should get more. We’re fighting because there’s too much left unsaid.
So I said it: I told Bill yesterday that I don’t love working with him. I can help, advise, edit, share insights and information. I can support, approve, and make suggestions. But collaborating on creating content for a new venture – especially when he’s so busy with his other responsibilities – is too much to ask of our marriage.
“Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again,” said Henry Ford.
So I’m beginning again. I’ll be hosting the free call on Thursday – solo – to talk about what Bill and I have learned about what to do when we disagree, sharing advice and insights, not only from all of our successes, but from our failures, too. I hope you can join me.
Thursday, July 21st, 1:30 p.m. (Pacific)
I'm a mother of two incredible boys, wife to Bill White of Happy Baby Signs, author of the books The Well-Crafted Mom and Signs of a Happy Baby, and an intuitive life coach. I like to blog about my adventures with my family and the life lessons I'm learning along the way. I hope you'll join me on this journey.
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