Control – A surprising source of impatience
In our premarital preparation, we were told that happiness is not the purpose of your marriage – holiness is. At first, I thought it meant marriage will suck, and some days it does. Especially when that other person starts doing things that dig into some of your flaws.
It started with the way my husband uses water. Thanks to Captain Planet, and the indoctrination that humans generally suck at managing the earth’s resources, I am very conservative with my water usage.
Enter a husband that enjoys long showers, and knows how to clean dishes thoroughly.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with this behavior, it is just radically different from mine. And, every time the tap is opened, or the kettle was boiled without purpose I had to battle a little rage demon in my gut. (I still do at times).
The Inquisition Begins
I started questioning the unreasonable and gut-wrenching response. Because it didn’t only appear in water usage, but in several other areas of our lives together.
My first question was, “Is my way of doing things really the only right way of doing them?”
After taking a step back, I couldn’t say “no” with a strong conviction. But I do have enough sense to realise that there is a different way, that is right from my husband’s point of view.
Part two of the questionnaire
The second question moved on to the painful feeling in my gut when things weren’t done in my way. It took me a while to realise, after some jabs towards the kettle situation, that all this is rooted in my desire to control his behaviour.
So, I started practicing a new train of thought when that painful feeling emerged. This is his way of doing things, and that is OK. I started to find peace once I let go of my desire to “correct” and control my husband. I also became (a little) less snappy.
Asking the question about impatience in the real world
My third question looked towards the world outside. Can these questions be applied to that adage –
“Everyone who drives slower than you is an idiot. Everyone who drives faster than you is a maniac.”
The answer was, yes. Yes, it can.
I started analysing the situation when someone was driving slower than me. I had a set time for arriving at work in mind and this (insert expletive) was holding me up. It wasn’t a matter of being late, we can work flexi-time, it was a matter of how “soon” I would be able to clock out.
The same goes for that maniac. The moment they hover on your backside as if they wish to add their Toyota badge to your car, you feel like you no longer have control of the speed you want to drive.
Is the source of impatience always a loss of control?
I don’t know. Is it a little experiment I’m running when someone cuts the queue, an unscheduled call interrupts my “flow”, or there’s an unexpected expense destroying our budget?
Yes. I’ll admit, there are times where it is more successful than others. There are times where I don’t give a flying monkey about patience and cuss profusely. But boy oh, boy, it’s been a mighty helpful experiment to tame the rage.