I love a question. I love an explanation. I love to pull things absolutely apart and work out how they work.
My mum used to have this little plastic kind of calculator that she took around the supermarket – back when there were price tags on every single thing. It was red – with white keys – and she used it to keep track of what she had in the trolley – so that when she got to the register there was no embarrassing moment. You might not remember, but I do. You would hear the total and start having to take things out of your bags and return them to the counter until you finally had spent less than you had.
I’m rambling a bit. Lol.
I loved this red abacus/calculator thing. I asked to look at it one day – my parents were probably excited at me wanting to add things up. BUT – I had other plans. I took that thing apart – every last little bit – and lay everything out trying to get how it worked.
I would quite happily label this as my curiosity. My mother labelled it destructive behaviour – but – maybe just because it never went back together again. I wasn’t confused about how it worked – I wasn’t confused about whether it was working it not – I wanted to see every tiny little bit of this miraculous red hunk of plastic that added grocery prices.
We often confuse curiosity and confusion in life. And – let’s be honest – in relationships.
So many people ask me questions about their relationships. What’s healthy. How do I know it’s real? Does he/she love me? Do I think their spouse is having an affair…..etc? etc.
Sometimes it’s out of curiosity – to see if their relationship is “normal” but lots of times it’s out of confusion.
Anxiety, a little insecurity, is normal in new relationships when you’re trying to figure out “what this is”. It’s particularly common when you’ve been hurt and you’re worried about exposing yourself (and your heart) to further wounding. But continual, rumbling anxiety because you’re not-quite-sure-of-the-one-you’re-with? After you’ve been together a while is not.
Constant confusion about where you stand. About whether or not you are valued or treasured – or at the very least respected. Confusion about what you or your partner wants. Confusion or parenting. Confusion over finances. None of that is healthy or normal in a loving, mature relationship.
Confusion about what you want. Confusion about what is expected and confusion about whether or not you are enough.
None of this is healthy and it can be a really clever way that you are being controlled in a relationship when it is at its very worst.
Confusion is often used to cover secrets.
Chatting with people outside the relationship to get a sense of where your relationship stands in relation to other people’s. Normal curiosity.
Chatting to people to try and work out whether your partner is behaving normally or loves you. Or – worse – to work out what they mean when they say certain things – or do certain things.
That is confusion.
And there is no room for confusion in a relationship where you need to feel both safe and vulnerable. You should be left in no doubt – even when you disagree on certain issues – that you are loved and valued.
Just as we make sure our kids know how important they are to us – and how much we love them. We should want to do the same in our marriages and relationships.
The main goal in any disagreement should be to clear any confusion for both people. Saying something again and again until both sides not only understand it – but understood with not an ounce of confusion.