Arrrgh. Even though I know better, I still get caught up in my mind sometimes and all hell breaks loose.
The other day my husband, Eddie and I were talking about money. He’s not a big spender and he is pretty good with his money, yet he was sharing that he was trying to get ahead of a certain figure in his bank account, and he found it had been staying stagnant at the same number for a few months.
Before I go on, another thing you need to know is that Eddie LOVES watching sports on TV. Not just a capital L, but the whole word in capitals. One of the few things that he does spend money on, which he also loves, (small letters) is sports betting. He’ll throw down a few dollars on a game just to make it a little more interesting. He was doing this when I met him and he does it to this day. No surprises.
I don’t know how it started, but the day after mine and Eddie’s convo about money, my head started having a conversation with itself about how his gambling must be running away on him or else he would be getting ahead financially. I was imagining it into the future to a point where we would have to break up our marriage because he was now spending all of our money on sports gambling and was so addicted that he refused to stop. I was actually feeling really concerned that it was a real possibility.
I know it’s easy to read this and think I’m totally nuts, which may be more than a little true, but I assure you that we all do this to varying degrees.
I am trained to help other not believe everything they think, so it’s a good idea if I practice what I preach. So, what I did instead was sat down and breathed, felt my fear, had a good talk with myself and then I was able to let it go.
And here is the juicy part. My behaviour before I got a bunch of counselling would have gone like this:
I would have talked to Eddie and told him that he needs to start keeping track of where he spends his all of his money and we would write it down every night when he came home and I was going to help him with that. Not controlling at all.
I could also imagine how well this would have gone over. Not.
My behaviour after I got a bunch of counselling went more like this:
After I had calmed down, I talked to Eddie after he came home from work. I shared with him that I had had these crazy thoughts about being concerned he had a gambling problem and that my head was going into this big circle about him spending all of our money.
He laughed at me and told me how much he was actually spending on gambling (not much) and reassured me that he wasn’t interested in blowing all of our money. We have plans to buy a ski condo and he wants that more than anything, so he is not interested in giving that up for gambling.
Phew! Marriage-1. Crazy thoughts-0.
It’s actually more like Marriage 1000. Crazy thoughts-OK, more than I would like to admit, they do win sometimes, but I do come back to earth eventually.
Learning to report in and share what happens for me in a vulnerable way is easy with Eddie. He treats me with love and respect when I do, and can easily laugh at me when I become a bit of a nut bar. It makes it easy to want to keep gaining points for my marriage and keep my crazy thought count down to a bare minimum.
Marriage and love isn’t always easy, but when you can start to see where your own crazy thoughts drive your behaviours, it becomes easier to stay connected. Who wouldn’t want that?
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