By Susie Moore
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
“Okay,” I said. This simple, two-syllable utterance improved my marriage in an instant. In one final moment of ease and nonresistance, I dropped a battle I’d been fighting for a decade.
My husband looked shocked. Then he said, “Cool! I’ll be in my office for a bit, okay?”
Soon I heard loud gunshots and victory whoops emanating from behind his office door as he played with a pack of other online gamers.
Heath likes to play video games from time to time. For years, I’d teased him about it and would fight with him about what I perceived as a pathetic, uncool habit. Video games just felt juvenile to me. I wasn’t being judgmental at all (smiley face)! For a long time there, I thought that these games were just unacceptable for a grown man.
But then I had to level with myself. I was on my high horse about video games, and why? Was I reading books on chess strategy and watching Ingmar Bergman films in my spare time? (Not that that would be an excuse for snobbery!) Nope — I read self-help books and watch The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, New York, Atlanta, and Orange County. And The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. And Bachelor in Paradise. I think we can all agree that The Bachelor Winter Games was boring. And these are hobbies that are *cough* far?…?more acceptable, wouldn’t you say?
For context, my first husband was a gambling addict and gambled away what little money we had. Now that was something I couldn’t shrug off — nor should I have. Anyone related to an addict knows the roller-coaster ride you feel you’re on and how serious it can become. And the truth is, Heath is the opposite of an addict.
He wasn’t at a casino. Or even at a bar with his friends not responding to my texts. He was in the other room, decompressing after a stressful day.
I had to recognize that I don’t have any of the “three-A” issues in my marriage (addiction, abuse, and adultery). And given that my marriage is overall a healthy one, I decided to question myself about my knee-jerk loathing of video games. Heath is a good husband, so why exactly can’t he kill digital baddies — or whatever the heck gamers do online — for two hours on a Saturday afternoon?
Maybe you’re annoyed that your partner:
- refuses to meditate — and you know the magic of meditation!
- spends too much time consuming the news or talking about politics.
- eats too much junk food.
- runs late all the time.
Trying to change someone else is a major cause of strain in relationships. Many people believe something along the lines of “I need my partner to behave a certain way for me to feel good, and when I don’t feel good, it’s their fault.”
But here’s another approach: “Do you. I’ll be over here, feeling good and loving you no matter what.”
Which attitude would you prefer being directed at you?
Think about it for a moment: What’s something you would like to change in yourself? An unhealthy habit? Gossiping? Overeating or overdrinking? Procrastinating? Always being late or failing to follow through on the goals you set?
Changing yourself is hard, right? Then why on earth would we think it’s a good idea to try to change anyone else?
When I said okay to Heath’s gaming, besides being shocked, he was so surprised, he fell absolutely silent. And less than a couple of hours later, he walked out of the office, stretching his back, with a look on his face that was cute and loving. And ultimately, we want our partners to feel loved, right?
It’s not up to me to sanction what Heath does with his time. By giving him a simple okay, I helped build intimacy in our home. We could’ve spent months in therapy for me to accept it, but this was much easier (and saved money and time, to boot).
Only one person needs to let it be easy for a relationship to improve. Can it be you?
Excerpted from the book Let It Be Easy. Copyright ©2021 by Susie Moore. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.
About the author:
Susie Moore is the author of Let It Be Easy and Stop Checking Your Likes. She is a former Silicon Valley executive turned celebrity life coach and advice columnist, and her work has been featured on the Today show, Good Morning America, Dr. Oz, Oprah, Business Insider, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Cosmopolitan. Find out more about her work at www.Susie-Moore.com.