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That Other Important Relationship
by Corrine Bucher

Everywhere I've turned lately, I've found myself confronted by troubled marriages. In the grocery line, where all the tabloids are about Jon and Kate (plus 8). In my coaching sessions, where making that complicated relationship work -- made even more complex by kids -- has been coming up a lot. It made me grateful that my marriage works so smoothly. Then pow, all that changed when my partner made what I thought was a selfish choice.

It started as a typical Saturday, juggling haircuts to surf sessions to birthday parties. I take pride in thinking ahead and mapping out the most intricate plans for such free-form days. (Note: this is where the trouble started!) My husband went in one car with all the surf gear to get his haircut, while I took the kids to the Farmers' Market and a quick trim at Today’s Cuts. The plan was for us to meet at the beach, where my husband and I could take turns surfing and watching the kids. Time was tight. The kids and I had to be at a party in just a few hours and I had to hurry home to pick up a friend's son who was going with us. Looking at my wetsuit clad husband pick up his board, I suddenly realized that if he went surfing first it would mean there wouldn't be time for me. I said it looked like there might not be time for me to get in the water, but I didn't outright ask if I could go first. He didn't catch my hint and headed for the water.

The resentment ignited immediately. He was selfish and wrong. How could he be so thoughtless? My mind was like a rapacious predator, seeking and feeding on every scrap of evidence it could find to support that notion. I chewed on that resentment all morning until I was completely exhausted and about to blow. Then I called a friend. Something in me knew it wouldn’t be a good idea to unload on my husband. My friend listened as expletives flew. She then calmly and lovingly helped me find my part in the misunderstanding. Yes, I had been sick for the three days prior and still wasn’t feeling 100%. And yes, I didn’t communicate what it was I wanted. Shoot -- it wasn’t his fault. I was able to sanely approach my husband and talk things out rather than widen the chasm. I kept thinking about the question, “Would you rather be right or happy?” Once I stopped worrying about being right, I could concentrate on doing what was necessary to mend the relationship. I reminded myself that I deeply value my relationship with my husband because of how we make each other grow. The only waves I rode that day were of the emotional kind. The other kind are much more fun. But I'd like to think I still got something out of the ride.

About the Author

Corrine Bucher is a veteran coach and mother devoted to transforming the lives of both working and stay-at-home mothers. Her Workshops for Working Mothers, originally developed for a Fortune 500 Company, challenge and inspire women to define their work/life balance vision so they may begin to feel a sense of control again. Learn more and sign up for her online newsletter, Embracing Motherhood, at http://corrinebucher.com.

Please note: You may reprint this article; however, it must be used in its entirety and not be edited or changed in any way. It must also include the author's byline and "About the Author" section at the bottom, with an active link back to this web site. Failure to comply with these instructions is considered an infringement of copyright law. © 2009 Corrine Bucher. All rights reserved.

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