Change in Perspective

Mark Twain once said that the “difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” He was so right. Semantics make a huge difference in how we perceive our situations.

I moved here a little over five years ago, kicking and screaming, because it was SO HARD to leave the coast after living there nearly three decades. Making the break more difficult was leaving two of my three children who still lived there, a myriad of friends, and a job that I loved. And did I mention the beach??? Even now I long to hear the waves, see the sea birds, and walk along the strand. But I digress. I moved here and have adjusted quite well.

This weekend some events occurred that made me realize for the umpteenth time that I have adjusted well despite my husband’s total involvement with his family and friends. Then the thought struck me that I needed to change despite to because. It appears that I’ve been harboring a seething resentment that he has EVERYONE he loves right around him while I have him and a sweet aunt. He’s so caught up in his family and his pastimes like hunting and golfing and fantasy baseball that in the beginning I felt that I needed to take a number.

However, this morning I realized that it’s because of his many interests, family members, and friends that I have been able to chisel out a life for myself that is quite nice. Since moving here, I’ve made new friends (including online ones), gotten another great job, written a book, started a couple of book clubs, traveled with friends, and participated in more activities and events than I thought possible.

Are you wondering what brought about this change in perception? Let’s examine Saturday’s wedding reception where I began to “see the light.” I arrived alone because he was in charge of making sure that his parents were there early. We sat together during the wedding ceremony itself, but as soon as the vows had been said, we went our separate ways. Everyone was asked to go outside to mingle and enjoy the great October weather so that pictures could be taken of the bridal party.

Right away Hubby got involved in a conversation with one of his sons, so I struck up a conversation with a sharply dressed woman who was standing alone. Turns out she was the groom’s cousin who had arrived just the day before from New Jersey. When she was called inside for pictures, I glanced around and saw that now my husband was talking with his brothers. I sauntered over to a table where an older lady beautifully dressed in red was sitting at a small table. During our fifteen minute conversation, I learned where she was from, how she met her husband, and a little about her life. Delightful lady. She had a great manicure too…and cool silvery shoes.

At last it was time to go inside, and my husband must have been pretty hungry because he quickly got in line and then took a seat at the table with his parents and the lady in the red dress and silvery shoes. Hmmm. Interesting. I chatted with a few more folks and finally got into the line to get some great shrimp, strawberries, and crackers with spinach dip. Looking about for a place to sit, I saw a young couple seated at a table for four so I joined them. Again, a swell conversation. At some point, my dear husband realized that I was the only person in his family without a spouse close by and came to find me.

Fast forward to Tuesday afternoon. He went hunting with a friend so I filled the time by blogging, reading, walking four miles, and “homecaring.” I’m not sure what his plans are for tonight, but I’m going to a Book of Mormon class at 7:00, and Thursday night there’s a wedding reception at the church. Friday morning I’ll tackle my internet courses early in the morning and then take off for Myrtle Beach for a conference.

I love this man. Otherwise I wouldn’t still be here. And I’m happy to realize that I owe him a debt of gratitude for making my full life possible. Because, not despite. It’s amazing what a shift in perspective and change of words can do.

Author: jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer

13 thoughts on “Change in Perspective”

  1. I just recently read that same Mark Twain quote..no telling where! :-))
    As I read this post, I was thinking that at least your DH (dear husband) does not hinder you and try to keep you from having a life b/c of jealousy and “ownership” while he’s “busy”. And GOOD FOR YOU, MARLA JAYNE, to meet life and enjoy your own activities and events!!
    We Christened one of my sister’s Grands this past Sunday which meant an out-of-town trip (Yay! Road trip!) and I joked with one of my other sisters that she was like me in that she would have to adjust to having her DH always want to go everywhere with her… She said he would have been…what word did she use?…whining? b/c he can’t take the traffic and crowds (we went to the north side of Atlanta, meaning thru Atl). With my own DH, he’ll even make comments about who I’m “talking” to on this “box”, as he calls the computer…No way do I insist he go with me b/c of his jealousy and that’s a potent turn-off. To make matters worse, I’m a hugger!! 🙂 I love everyone in the most pure sense but this has made me think differently about how people interpret affection, so in a round-about way, I have also learned and grown in spite of, I mean BECAUSE of circumstances!
    I used to be so cautious (for a couple of years or so, I guess) b/c of the jealousy then I realized it wouldn’t matter and I have to be who God made me and interact with others. It was like either feeding or pacifying the green monster (he’s even jealous of my son even though I helped raise his and his ex’s two kids lived with us at first)!
    Oh, you have got me going on this one!! Notice how I stay away from these types of posts? Perhaps I shouldn’t… I’m glad you wrote this…you always make me think and realize it’s not just me dealing with similar situations.
    All I intended to say was that I am proud of you and I’m glad your DH respects your independence! :-))
    Have a Blessed Day, my dear Marla Jayne!

  2. As I’ve said before, you rock! I so much enjoyed reading this and thinking about how females can communicate in ways that men just cannot understand. My husband is not jealous in the least (at least not that I know of), and I realized a long time ago that I could sit around and wait for him to go places with me or get out and experience all that life has to offer.

    Have you ever read this book called The Prophet by Kahil Gabrin? I know that’s not exactly the way to spell his name, but I’m too lazy to get up and check it. Anyway, one of his poems is called On Marriage in which he says, “Let there be spaces in your togetherness.” Then he talks about how the columns of a temple are spaced apart so that they can support the structure. If they were too close, then the temple would fall. I liked that metaphor right away.

    That road trip sounds like it was fun. It was all girls, right?

    Please never apologize for being a comment hog. It was great stuff!

  3. I came back to answer last night, this morning and a while ago…maybe this time I can finish! :-))

    I haven’t read the book, The Prophet, but will look in to it…I’ve heard something similar to the “spaces in togetherness” phrase, though! Quite candidly, I feel like I’m “all in” with trying to achieve cohesiveness…remember the “sixtyish” man you posted about who did not want to change…?

    Do you know how to get my e-mail from your comments in the dashboard? Feel free to e-mail me! I’ve had some people do that but am not sure, again, what “protocol” is in the blogosphere?

    (I have been to “your”LDS site, btw, and found some other sites that may interest you, as well. http://www.religionfacts.com/ and http://www.mormon.org/mormonorg/eng/basic-beliefs/the-restoration-of-truth/the-book-of-mormon ) It’s quite interesting (to me) reading about beliefs and their beginnings!

    Yes, the road trip was my two younger sisters who live closest to me riding with me and we had a blast! Remember your post about families/friends and the connection of food? It’s soooo true!! Our “baby” brother is a Methodist Minister so he performed the Christening. Such a wonderful day all together! When we Christen, it’s a promise that the family and the church as a family will raise the child up in the sight of God. Essentially, dedicating the child to God, recognizing that s/he will still come to the age of accountability but we will do all we can to guide them. Babies usually pick that moment to cry…;-) but Wyatt Jackson mostly gave a look of “Why’d you do that?” My sister was so excited to have all of us there for this blessed event!

  4. Yes…

    That’s a really good attitude. Maybe I’m just young, maybe I’m just selfish, but I totally relate with wanting my husband to spend his free time (meaning, whenever he comes home from his job) with ME. I’ve had to hold back and let him have his free time. True, we’ve only been married 2 years and true, my last marriage was somewhat traumatic but that’s no excuse for blaming someone else for one’s own sense of insecurity/unhappiness.

    Having said that, I don’t think I could handle my husband playing fantasy baseball. All the rest, yest… but video game bug me to no end.

    too bad, as my dh is a game enthusiast. Obviously, we still have some kinks to work out in that way 🙂

  5. Actually, the fantasy baseball is the least of it. It’s like a “league” that he belongs to, and every May he and a couple dozen of his cronies get together and pick their “teams.” Two people work together as partners, and they pick their team members. Throughout the summer, they check stats all during the day, and they talk during the week about various players and who they need to trade, etc. It’s over when the season ends, but it’s kind of amusing when it’s going on.

    Just a little something to think about. This is my second marriage as well, and when we first got married, I was whining a little bit to a friend of mine about all of my husband’s interests and outside activities. She said, “Just be thankful that you have a husband who has friends and things he likes to do besides stay around you all the time.” She was so right!

    I need your email address to send you useful (more like essential) information that I picked up from a writer’s conference this weekend.

  6. Odale, I don’t know how I missed your above post, but alas, it looks like I did. However, it’s never to let to respond to a sister blogger who makes me smile.

    I’m not sure what you mean by striving to maintain cohesiveness. Do you mean between the two of you or within yourself or what? I’m sort of dense sometimes, and you have to spell things out to me.

    No, I don’t know how to get your email but will find out. There are lots of things that I can communicate there but not here.

    Thanks for the religious sites. It’s amazing how differently people go about searching for answers…and how stubbornly we all stick to our own beliefs.

    I was raised as a Southern Baptist, and what we do (did) is similar in that babies are dedicated “to the church” with a host of family, friends, and fellow believers around to witness the event. It can be awesome. And yes, food, food, and more food has to round out the event. It’s sort of symbolic, don’t you think? Thanks for sharing the moment(s) with me. I can just see you all chowing down on fried chicken and mac and cheese!

  7. You are far, far from dense, Marla Jayne!! Sometimes I read something a few times before I catch on but even then it doesn’t always happen! 😉

    Sorry, I meant cohesiveness between the two of us. One person cannot make things happen and I agree with nosurfgirl…donr’t blame bad experieinces, insecurities and unhappiness on others who had no part in the past…let it go! I’m just tired of cajoling, cajoling, cajoling a grown person to “act right” so I ignore him. I did leave last year, moved all my handbags and gladrags to N.C. and it wasn’t long before I felt sorry for him and let him talk me into moving back. Then, it wasn’t long before it was back to the same old nonsense. Can’t fix what you don’t admit and now I know why his son’s mother left without him…The teachers weren’t even acknowledged when there was a problem and I quit around 8th grade…one of his teachers apologized to me when she found out I was stepmom b/c she couldn’t figure out how I could handle a classroom but not my own! She was appalled when I told her what it was like outside of school.
    That’s why I mentioned your post about the man who did not want to change. Some people like their ignorance and think they’re cool! Being “cool” is being smart enough to know you don’t have it all figured out!
    Ten years…how long does one keep trying?? I know people who have been “miserably married” for thirty years. Hang that!! 😉

  8. I wish I had some absolutel, guaranteed to work formulas for you, but I don’t. In fact, sometimes I’ll get all bent out of shape about something and later realize that I was thinking and acting in a way most UNLIKELY to effect change. Sometimes we just see things the wrong way. Know what I mean? We misread situations. Like I might think that the people in my life are ignoring me when actually they’re just living their lives (I’m referring to my children with that example).

    Uh-oh. I’m realizing this could be a really long post so I’m going to try to make it a little more succinct. This is what I’ve learned: You can’t change a person by cajoling, pleading, whining, threatening, or demanding. I’m not so sure you can change a person at all! The only thing you (I’m using “you” in a general sense) is yourself and your own thoughts and attitudes.

    I hate to go off on one of my favorite writers again, but I MUST say something about Stephen Covey, for he truly helped me to changed my life. When talking about being proactive, he says that we have circles of influence and circles of concern…and I think maybe a circle of control. Anyway, our circle of concern is much bigger than the one of control. Just think about all the things you blog about that are of such concern to you. The circle of control is pretty small because what can you really do to change everything?? However, the circle of influence is actually pretty far reaching.

    How does this relate to your situation? You can influence another, but you will not change him unless or until he’s ready for it. In the meantime, Covey suggests that you (we) always have control over our own thoughts. If you can’t change the situation, then you can change the way you think about it.

    I feel like I’m just getting cranked up, but now I must get going for work calls. More on this later.

  9. What I meant by “cajoling” was, basically, being sweet when there’s more reaon to be aloof. I’ll give you an example of “humor”. The reason my son has lost respect for him is that my dh thought it was funny to tell my son (in front of me) that he could kill me, put my body in a barrel of acid and get away with murder. No body, no crime. Total lack of respect for women and others, but especially women. What he did not realize is that my son holds women, especially his Mama, in high esteem.

    You’re right, can’t change anyone except ourselves, but when it comes to abuse in any form, I lose sympathy. The one good thing about coming back last year is my having a clear conscience. In a very (very) tiny way, I feel sorry for his son, however, he has had opportunity of many good influences in his life and he abused every one of them (he’ll be 19 next month, so he’s not a child anymore). I am completely convinced that some people will not change unless and until something very drastic happens, and even then, many times for selfish reasons, not for true improvement. I really can’t make sense w/o telling things I don’t want to put in a public blog but, believe me, I have been praying!! As Always. I have reached the point of forgiveness and I think when Jesus said that, He did not intend for us to remain in the line of (the same) fire! 😉

    Anyway, I do understand about immatuirity and overlooking some things and even behaviors, but I would never encourage anyone to be bogged down with “for better or worse” to such an extreme as I have done!

    I will check into Stephen Covey (I know that name…) and have already changed the way, or even whether, I think about this situation. That’s why I don’t blog about it but you’ve got me wondering if it may help someone else…As you say, our circle of influence is far-reaching.

    God Bless and Keep You Always, In All Ways, Marla Jayne!

  10. Uh-oh. This is more serious than I first thought.You’ve added an element that makes me realize that “thinking happy thoughts” is pretty puny advice. At some point during the day, I’ll shoot you an email that’s more private.

  11. Oh, I’m really not trying to burden you with this, Marla Jayne, and I probably shouldn’t have brought it up…I’m so mortified that I’d put it in an anonymous blog so watch for a link to that!! LOL

    Thank you very much for caring, not just about me, but others all together. You wouldn’t do what you do every day if you didn’t and I highly respect your goodness.

    I’ll watch for an e-mail but I promise not to whine too much when I answer! 😉 I think some of this stuff may be useful in your profession, though… 😉

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