Recently, I was watching a documentary about a renowned chef who had a Michelin star rated restaurant in Asia.
The documentary actually compelled me to research the history of the Michelin rating system, which I found quite fascinating. But I digress.
Anyway, this talented chef decided to close his successful restaurant, so he could pursue other endeavors. His wife had run the restaurant with him for several years, and their close-knit staff was shocked and saddened by the decision. Clearly, you could see how the chef and his wife had poured their life into this restaurant, and these people were like family to them.
The documentary included the intimate moments when the chef told his staff about the upcoming restaurant closure, as well as his wife breaking down immediately afterward. Obviously, it wasn’t a shock to her, but what I found interesting is in the midst of her raw emotion and sobs, her husband was quick to tell her not to cry and not to be sad. He did it gently, mind you, reflecting the calm and steady demeanor he demonstrated throughout the documentary.
By all accounts, he seems like such a compassionate and respectful man. But in this tender moment where his wife is intimately expressing such genuine loss, he was quick to dismiss and downplay her feelings.
And while I do not know his heart, I imagine he was motivated by truly wanting her to not be sad. Her raw emotion and tears also probably felt uncomfortable for him (as raw emotion often does, especially from people we love deeply). Certainly he loved her. It was so clear throughout the documentary that he loved her. But for whatever reason, he discounted her sadness in this moment when she was so naked and authentic emotionally. He told her not to feel her sadness.
Marriage is such a vulnerable place—designed to be such an ideal environment for transparency and freedom to not second guess ourselves. And yet, it is in that vulnerability that we don’t always navigate in a way that honors each other.
Sometimes I dismiss my husband’s feelings or say or do something that causes him to shut down. Sometimes he dismisses my feelings or says or does something that causes me to shut down. While marriage is designed to be such an ideal environment for transparency and freedom, we sometimes stumble in those endeavors. It is the messiness inherent with such an intimate covenant relationship.
Have you ever dismissed your spouse’s feelings? Has your spouse ever dismissed your feelings? It’s not realistic that we can perfectly rectify this. We are, after all, humans prone at times to selfishness, ignorance and carelessness. We don’t always get it right. Even if it’s not a reflection of how we feel about each other, we don’t always get it right.
But we can strive to grow in awareness and growth. That’s what I was hoping for this chef—that when he watched the documentary, he would see how he could have handled those moments with his wife differently… how he could have comforted her and held her and not been so quick to dismiss her feelings.
That’s the kind of growth I continue to strive toward in my own marriage…that my husband and I both would increasingly grow in our awareness. Yes, we get it right much of the time. But there’s always room for growth.
What about your marriage?
Copyright 2020, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.