Monday evening, the kids are watching TV, and me and my wife are eating dinner together. I rolled my ankle earlier in the afternoon running around with my son, and have let this affect my mood because excuse, so I'm I'm sulking like a sullen loser rather than making general chat. After a few minutes of silence, she starts talking.
Her: "I'm sick of how you are treating me at the moment, and it can't continue".
Me (patronising tone) : "Really?" I keep eating, and don't engage.
Her: "I'm serious. You're always just so smug and arrogant, and you're always criticising me. This isn't how you treat someone that you love"
Me (dismissive tone): "Sure" I continue to keep eating, and don't engage.
I finish eating, clean my dishes, and go to ice my ankle again.
Her: "You are making me miserable. You can't keep treating me like this. Do you remember how you told me how miserable you were last year? Well, now, you are making me miserable"
Me: Pause, and look at her. "Well, salvation lies within" I walk outside and ice my ankle.
She's in a mood the rest of the night, but doesn't re-engage, and goes to bed early just after we put the kids to bed. I watch Fight Club for the first time in years. Great movie.
Next day, I get back to doing me. Get up early, work, gym, home, with a few pleasant emails and texts in between. I'm back in a good mood, and suddenly, she's back in a good mood too. Talkative, cuddly and touchy feely, and almost deferential. I don't bitch about my sore ankle or any work shit to her, and she doesn't bitch about me to me. I make a soft initiation, get a no, and roll over and go to sleep. She initiates in the middle of the night.
The world is back in balance.
My take aways:
Frame extends to the entire world, not just to your relationship with the wife. Any dent that you allow life to form in your frame will be visible to everyone, and they can then use that as an opportunity to crack you.
While we should look at what she does, not what she says, what she says can be a useful yardstick of progress too. In this case, using words like smug and arrogant let me know that she doesn't believe that this is me yet. And that's fine, it's up to her to decide whether she comes round and starts to see me as cocky and confident instead. But is she chronically miserable? No. She might have felt down when I was sucking all the energy out of the house with my bad mood, but when I don't do that, she's as happy as a clam.
She reflects me. I was a sore and sullen loser monday night, she picked up that vibe and ran with it. I was back to normal the next day, did my thing as normal, and was pleasant to be around, so she picked up that vibe and ran with it.
(Edited for bullet point spacing)