I have this “pride” problem.  Whenever I am in a bad mood, nothing gets in my way of me being grumpy.  If you point out that I’m grumpy, I get grumpier.  If you try to be chipper to lighten the mood, I get grumpier.  I say things I don’t mean, I have a very intimidating tone to my voice, and I could melt you with my stink eye.  I’m not proud of this, trust me.  In my grumpiness I recognize my grumpiness and pride in not controlling the grumpiness and it makes me even grumpier.  I am working on this, but for now poor JW is learning that he needs to just avoid me all together when I’m grumpy.  Even though that would make me grumpier…
But I am getting better.  One of the things I learned in my many studies of relational communication is that you need to let your partner influence you.  I have tried to internalize this and have noticed that the past few times I’ve had a “grump episode,” John has really helped soften my heart.  And it surprises me in the moment, because I’m so used to just having to wait until I cool off on my own. He’s actually becoming really good at making things better, even though it would be unfair of me to expect that of him all the time. Maybe I’m just maturing and can better control my emotions.  Maybe it is just a matter of him learning how to handle me better.  Or maybe it’s that he is getting to know me and my needs better than I know them.
The point is, though, that letting John influence me, even in tiny little things like my grumpiness {“tiny” might be a debatable adjective for my mood swings, but whatevs…} strengthens our marriage and helps me see what a treasure he is to me.
The other morning I was, how shall I say, grumpy.  I felt sick, I felt depressed, I felt fat.  And I resented the fact that I had to go to work in this state.  John didn’t have school, he was on Spring Break, and I didn’t have to be to work until after lunch.  So, lucky for John, he got to be around me all morning long as I was wallowing and trying to alienate myself while still expecting him to save me from myself.  Bless John’s heart, he was throwing out any idea he could think of to help me be happier.  And I wasn’t biting. The air was thick with anxiety as I kept pushing myself further and further away.
After a few hours John, in all his sweetness and tenderness, asked if I could teach him how I put my make-up on, because he didn’t know the “science” behind it.  At first I thought to myself, “Whatever.  He’s just trying to make me feel better, and I have to get ready anyway, so I’ll humor him.”  So I walked him through my make-up regimen, step by step.  And he acted genuinely interested.  He asked me questions and didn’t act like it was silly that I liked make-up and other girly things.  He acted like he loved it about me, actually.  And by the time my face was on, my heart was different.  John knew that would be something I would enjoy, even before I knew it.  And he sat through a whole make-up session, acting interested the whole time, to help me feel better.
That little act of love didn’t have to help me feel better.  But I think deep inside me I chose to let John’s efforts influence my attitude, which has made it easier since then to do so in other scenarios.  John has a very special Light, and I am lucky to be able to bask in it when I choose to.  He made me a better person that day, just by asking me to teach him how to put make-up on.  He’s so neat.