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Expect the unexpected.

It’s all okay now. My husband is contentedly sipping a cup of tea, working on an assignment. I am in my pajamas, warm and winding down from a full day of errands, visits and an evening class. A psychology class, in fact. A class that I walked out of and into a living vignette of what happens when you try to avert disaster under duress.

In summary, I went from texting my sweet man to tell him that he was the best husband ever(!) to hanging up on him in the space of two hours.

In a perfect world, marriage would be the kind of sensible arrangement where when one partner is stressed and in need, and the other is strong and able to give. A yin-yang of dependency where both parties are balancing each other in the delicious tightrope walk that is togetherness.

Alas. Or Ha, depending on how you prefer your tone tonight.

With one set of keys to share between us, seperate, far-flung locations, a cold and bitter evening, a terrible growl in my stomach, and the twin trials of my upcoming Monday at work and his homework/assignment due date week from hell, I fell apart. And hung up the phone, stomping to the bus stop without a plan, save scavenging for food and a proper pouting session before I called him back.

(an aside to parents: I know, we newlyweds ain’t seen nothing yet. I am in awe of you and how you are not all insane most of the time).

I was expecting the expected, as this kind of perfect storm has happened before. Here’s that old familiar tune: we disagree and/or life is suddenly uncomfortable or disastrous, I feel neglected and try to escape altogether, both from my husband and my suddenly overpowering urge to say uneccessary, hurtful things. Then, I leave the premises dramatically, catch a bus to somewhere else, lock the bathroom door and cry in the shower, phone up potential allies and commiseraters or have a mile-long list of meaningless tasks to complete urgently and immediately, leaving no room for conversation.

Yes, my name means princess. Yes, I have done this kind of thing often enough to know that it does not work particularly well. And yes, I realise, in retrospect, how ridiculous this all might sound.

But the denouement was so unexpected, and healing, that I just had to share. There is indeed hope. Walking into the tangled woods of relational conflict, we came out unexpectedly, happily, on the other side, holding hands and headed home. I can’t take hardly any of the credit, as my husband was the sweet, patient man that I have come to count on, and despite his immense stress at this time of graduate school, had the grace to meet me where I was at. For my part, I somehow managed to pull back all the horses of habit, eat something, calm down, and reassess the situation. I don’t know precisely why this time was different – but being able to breathe, tinker with the gravity of the situation and most importantly, have the courage to call him back was a unexpected gift.

Small moments of surrender and a willingness to receive grace and relinquish control are precious victories in this wondrous, beautiful war against our selfish nature, called marriage, and expecting the unexpected, a break from familiar, foolish patterns, has this humbled wife doing a victory dance. In my pajamas, warm and settled in the quiet of home.