26 July 2015

Sacred space.

We had an incident last month. Yubo was back in his bad gaming habits, and I was getting fed up again. And so we had a talk. This time was a little different in that I didn't start crying. And in the two days after, Yubo made a very clear effort to spend time with me, which I very deeply appreciated.

But, of course, I was wondering when he would jump right back into his habits and start neglecting me again.

At some point, I continued the conversation with him, and proposed an experiment. He had said a couple of times before that he felt like he never really got to be a bachelor. He always had some obligations, and didn't have a chance to just be on his own and do whatever he wanted when he wanted. So I thought to give him some "bachelor time," to see if that was something he really needed. I told him it was actually really important for him to take time for himself, but something was wrong with the way he was going every day -- how late he was staying up, and how absorbed he was getting in his games and Netflix -- because it never seemed to relieve anything. And his approach was obviously hurting our relationship.

I got a bit of grief from one of my closest friends. "How is that going to be any different than what he already does every night," she demanded.

But we've been trying this for about three weeks now, and I think we've finally figured out a compromise that works well for both of us.

Monday nights are his. I am not allowed to pester him to come to bed. He gets to stay up as long as he wants, and do whatever he wants. And I try to limit the things I ask him to do, if I ask him to do anything at all. This is the day when he doesn't have to feel obligated to anything. Aside from whatever work he gets, it's his bachelor day.

Saturdays after work are ours. Whenever we both get off work, the rest of the day is dedicated to us. Or, specifically from Yubo's perspective, after work, his Saturdays belong to me. This is the day we have intentionally set aside for each other. If someone else asks us to do something, we will generally decline.

This phrase of a "sacred space" came from a small group meeting. We've been going through a section of a book talking about perpetual and solvable problems within a relationship. While discussing solvable problems, I was talking about how I wanted Yubo to dedicate time to me, where he would turn down other things because he already planned to be with me. So Saturdays are our sacred space, and Mondays are his sacred space. I don't know if "sacred" is really the right thing to call it..... more like, "protected." In any case, whatever we call it, it is what it is.

As I said above, we've been doing these Mondays and Saturdays for about 3 weeks now. The results so far have been favorable.

Mondays give Yubo the time to himself that he needs to relieve himself of the stresses of the week. He gets to indulge in his night owl tendencies without being nagged. It's when he gets to be selfish if he so chooses. One week, he didn't come to bed until 4am.
I've surprisingly found some relief in these Mondays as well. I now have the mindset that I can't bother him, and so I go to bed on my own without having to care if he needs to be up early. It gives me the chance to really allow myself to see and accept him as an adult that can make his own decisions and deal with the consequences. And it frees me from feeling like I need to "mother" him.

The week goes on normally, with both of us working, and ending our nights about the way we usually would. However, Yubo hasn't been pushing to stay up as long as he can anymore. If I ask him to come to bed, it doesn't take as long for him to actually do it. On top of that, he's been much more responsive when I try to talk to him while he's playing, so he's been less absorbed. I did point that out to him, and thanked him, and let him know that made me happy.

I look forward to Saturdays now that I know they are just for us. We'll go out to dinner, and then spend the rest of our time either talking, running errands, or watching something together that we both enjoy. The first Saturday, we went to the movies for the first time in a very long while. Last Saturday, we caught up on a few Doctor Who Season 7 episodes. Yesterday, Yubo didn't work, so we got to spend a lot of time together. It got a little tricky, but it wasn't too bad. We tidied up our books using the konmari method. We took a few breaks, where Yubo would play for a little bit, and I would check things on my laptop. But then we got back together for dinner, and we watched a few episodes of an anime that we just started. I let him have the rest of the night to himself, but had him promise to have breakfast with me at the nearby donut shop in the morning before church, and he woke up in time to do that with me.

Obviously, I can only speak from my side, but I'm realizing that it's kind of amazing when we really consider each other. I don't feel like an afterthought anymore, constantly wondering if he even cares that I'm around. And he generally seems more relaxed, and I'm sure feels more respected. I think both of us are happier.

Since it was just an experiment, I asked him what he wanted to do with his Mondays, and he said he'd like to keep them. I am ok with that. I told him at the beginning when I proposed the experiment that I would be happy to give him a day if that was what he needed, as long as I knew he would dedicate time for me.

It's still early, but so far I think this is the longest we've successfully done something like "date nights." We'll see how this goes, but I'm actually pretty optimistic about this. And of course, we'll adjust things as needed. I think as long as we continue to keep each other in mind, that's the main thing. Somewhere along the way over these past 10 years, we forgot that a little bit. So I'm very glad that we're taking the time to regain it.

08 May 2015

My cats are easier to train than my husband.

My cats are generally not allowed to be in the bedroom by themselves. So after I'm done with bathroom stuff in the morning, I usually shoo them out of the bedroom and close the door for the rest of the day until bedtime.

Lately, when I come out of the bathroom, all three of them are already outside the bedroom.

When that happened this morning, my thought was that I have trained the girls well, and this blog topic popped into my head.

Of course, I have to say that I don't really think people can train their husbands, and if they can, something is wrong. But I was thinking of how nice and easy animals are compared to humans, especially when it comes down to the animals that you love versus the humans that you love.

Back to the main topic, though. And with a bit of another disclaimer: I understand that these are all generalizations, and this is my experience with my own cats and my own husband, so I hope you all understand that as well.

Generally, when the cats do something I don't like, they usually learn to simply stop doing it, or they respond quickly to my voice or snap..... or they keep doing it when they think I'm not looking. Now, I don't really spend any time to actually train the cats to do anything. And I do know that cats are trainable (sort of). MIL has trained their cat to do a few tricks for treats, although the cat will *only* do them for treats. But she does them nonetheless. And my cats do very clearly respond to my voice.

When Yubo does something I don't like, he is more likely to lie about it, thinking it's better to lie, rather than stop doing it. So unlike the cats, who consider other options, he goes straight for the third one. (To be honest, I'm thinking back to specific previous situations.) Otherwise, it's straight up defiance. It's 2:58am, and I'm standing there because he's agreed to no longer stay up until 3am, and he looks at the clock, and looks at me, and hits the button to start a new quest. Just kidding. He's not that blatantly defiant.

Now, I don't mean for this to be serious at all. I thought of the topic, and I laughed. Because humans are humans. We are the wonderful and amazing and mysterious and unique things God created us to be. And for someone like me who loves control, I think it's good for me to laugh over this thought than get frustrated.

That's not to say it isn't frustrating though. People are frustrating. Life is frustrating. But I wonder what would have happened if I let all the frustrations get to me, and ended up not marrying this particularly frustrating guy. And I'm glad that my brilliance (or stupidity) allowed me to push through the frustrations to love him and fight with him and fight for him.

Wow. That was sappy. Sorry about that.

But it's true. I think I forget that too often sometimes. I don't want a trained husband. I don't even want trained cats. I love that my cats will come to snuggle with me without calling them. And I love that my cats will (sometimes) come snuggle with me when I do call them.

I love that Yubo will come snuggle with me when I don't want it (usually when it's way too warm for any sort of body contact). And I love that I can trust him to come snuggle with me if I ask, because I'm usually too scared and insecure to ask (yup... even after 5 years of marriage, and being together for a total of 10 years).

But that doesn't mean I don't still entertain ideas..... especially the thought of training him to go to bed before midnight..... and putting his trash in the trashcan...... and locking the front door....... and..... and......

19 February 2015

The struggles: Communication

I think I need to go back and re-title some of those old "struggles" posts as some of them haven't been overcome yet, and honestly, I don't think they ever will be.

Here we are again with communication, but with a slightly different issue. Not a new one, but as I feel it's been coming up quite often these past few weeks, I figured I'd write about it.

What comes to mind is this:







Yubo often gets really frustrated with me. He says he prides himself in being able to explain things clearly to anyone so that they understand -- it's something he often has to do as a plumber. However, every time he tries to explain things to me, I get lost, and oftentimes, I understand things less.

The trouble for him (and me) in these situations is that he tends to suddenly launch into these really lengthy explanations that, to me, aren't linear thoughts that would help me, or I don't immediately understand the relevance so it's hard for me to follow.

It's not uncommon for me to pause and ask him if we're still talking about the same thing because I think he's gone too far off on a tangent.

What happened tonight is what prompted this entry.

We were driving home from dinner with my parents. At an on-ramp, a car was ready to merge, and Yubo sped up to pass the car, even though it would have merged perfectly well if we stayed at our speed.

Not the first time I've mentioned this to him, that I think he is not a nice driver. Previous "offenses" have been yelling at other drivers for "being an idiot," especially when they do things he's done himself, like changing lanes or waiting to turn left without signalling.

Tonight, he responded with something along the lines of, "Everyone does it to me. This is my comeuppance." (Yes, I'm pretty sure that's how he used the word, and yes, if that's the case, he used it incorrectly.)

I replied, "Just because people do it to you does not make it ok."

Some responses were made, and I said something like, "You should take that up with God," to which he replied with something like, "I don't feel the need at all to be a nice driver. I don't feel any conviction for that." I told him I felt convicted for him. It was one of those situations where I was thankful we don't display any car decals about our faith.

To explain myself a bit further, focusing on the "just because... does not make it ok," I brought up an article I read about someone that has zero tolerance for racism and racist jokes. I even mentioned that I didn't think it fit quite right. But Yubo latched onto that topic. He said he agreed with the spirit of it, but disagreed about not being able to find jokes like that funny. He admitted to finding some racists jokes funny, and said that he thinks he would not be able to not find them funny. I said I thought it might be a mindset/mentality thing.

Long story short, what started off as concern for his unkind driving somehow ended up with me feeling like he was accusing me of being racist for calling his mom white-washed, and laughing at my mom's poor use of the English language, and also feeling like he was trying to defend himself for enjoying inappropriate things.

From his standpoint, he was simply trying to use a personal situation to help me understand why he disagreed with not being able to find some things funny that could technically be labeled as racist, but within the context of family/friends, aren't intended in such a way.

I told him we needed to stop because we're both tired, and the conversation was getting unnecessarily heated. And so we stopped talking And instead of going to bed like I wanted to, I'm up writing this blog after distracting myself a bit to calm down.


I honestly don't know if it's just because we both have bit a bit stressed and quite tired lately. For the past few weeks, my frustrations with him have come from what I deem are his "auto-responses." When I'm venting a bit, or complaining about something, he's been automatically responding with a simple, "I love you." Yeah.... not a good thing when I'm reacting negatively to those words. But because he kept saying it over and over again in those situations, it felt like a brush off. His translation was, "I'm sorry you have to put up with that, so feel better."

His other ones have been, "It's fine," and, "I'll/We'll figure it out," which basically means, "I'm not going to think about it right now, so stop talking about it." At least, that's my translation because that's how I receive the words.

He would use, "It's fine," when I would mention how late it was and ask him to stop playing his game. In that case, it's a very blatant, "I'm going to ignore what you just said and continue playing for as long as I want." And he's admitted to that.

The "figure it out" has come up a lot recently as he's currently without a car because it's getting shelves put in and repairs done. We're down to one car with me working, him going to school, a show coming up this weekend, and he's up for sound this Sunday. Rather than planning out the car situation to make sure everything works, he just kept saying we'd figure it out.

Also, he said he wasn't going to work this week because of his car being worked on, and yet he accepted a job from an acquaintance down in Torrence. So my other frustration has been how he seemingly keeps changing decisions he's made. My selfishness sees it as everything is a no for me, but a yes for everyone else, as he'll go out of his way to figure out how to do something for someone else, but for me, he's usually unavailable or simply doesn't want to do it (whatever "it" is). On a side note, I was happy that he rearranged things to be able to have dinner with my parents tonight, but even then, it was more for my parents than for me.


In my opinion, we haven't had a proper conversation in months, if not longer than that. I stay back here on my laptop in the dining room, and all I see is the back of his head in the living room. Any dialogue is made to the back of his head -- at most, the side of his face if he's being generous with pulling his attention away from whatever it is he's doing to talk back to me. I feel like I rarely know if he's actually listening to me.

So obviously, I'm very concerned for us in this regard. And he really doesn't give me any chance to have a proper conversation with him as he's constantly distracted. If we go out to eat, I have to try to find places that don't have TV, and even then, sometimes he'll be on his phone.


For lent several years ago, he gave up gaming. I gave up unnecessary internet, like FB. For me, it was wonderful and fruitful. For him, he felt nothing aside from absolute boredom. He wasn't particularly fulfilled by the extra time we spent on/with each other. And I was very hurt by that.

As much as I try to explain, I don't think he realizes how much this affects me, and our relationship. The lack of communication is hurting us, and I can't communicate that with him. So I'm stuck.



Getting all that written out helped a little bit, but I still feel tension in me that makes me not want to go to bed. But I'm tired, and staying up doesn't benefit me in any way.

Final thoughts of the night: both of us need to make God and us more of a priority in our lives.

08 January 2015

Chores.

We're a week in to the new year. Aside from the minor frustration of writing 2014 instead of 2015 on things (this is where I am very thankful I'm no longer in school, as homework assignments and tests provide too many opportunities to mess up), we've been reminded at how difficult it is to keep up with chores without the absolute authority of parents to tell us what to do.

To be fair, we were actually going pretty good at the beginning of the week, as most people are with things they just start. What's sad to me is that we rarely can keep anything new going for more than a couple of days. BUT, we haven't given up, and we try to continue to do things as we remember or are able to.

We already planned to have to make adjustments to our "resolutions." So I'm actually not too discouraged.

So far this week, I've only cooked twice. Sunday we went out to dinner with Yubo's parents, which is usual. I wanted to plan something on Sunday nights anyway just in case. Monday, I made my classic scrambled eggs with rice and soy sauce. Yubo made the rice; I was so proud of him. I also made the mini chicken pot pies I had planned for Sunday. Tuesday was ill-planned; I was tired and starving after work, and simply didn't want to cook, so I picked up some fast food on the way home. The planned fried rice got bumped up to last night. I ended up not liking it, so Yubo has some leftover for lunch and dinner today. I'll be out late, so I'll have to figure out food for myself -- probably bologna sandwiches.

In any case, we've still saved quite a bit of money this week by eating at home. Cereal for breakfast, and leftovers or sandwiches for lunch. At least for me.... I have no idea what Yubo's been eating these past few days.

As far as the chores go, I'm realizing just how tired and unmotivated I am when I get home from work, so I'll have to rethink the schedule. I was trying to not have to do all the big things in one day, but I'm thinking that's what's going to have to happen. And we'll have to make further adjustments as Yubo's work gets into full swing. He just left for his first job a little while ago. The other thing was that I was hoping to wake up much earlier to tackle some chores before work, but Yubo's been fighting me again with going to bed so late.

Ugh. Sleep. That should be a "Struggles..." entry.

02 January 2015

Happy New Year!

Man, it sure is easy for this blogging thing to get away from you. I guess it's a bit difficult when everyday life is just everyday life. I know 2014 was difficult for several people. It was for us. And I know often in life, you get those times when you just don't really want to talk about it anymore. Although I'll usually come back to this for big events or something that weighs heavy in my heart, I feel like I spent most of 2014 absorbed in life, and trying to absorb myself in things to help me take a break from life.

Anyway, we've thought up some things that we'd like to try this year.

Actually, it was just me. I told Yubo, "I want to be a proper housewife!"

"Uh.... ok," was his lackluster response.

Basically, as I was sitting here at my laptop, looking around our living room, I decided that I'm tired of living like college students. Of course, now that I'm older and a bit wiser (read lazy), I'm not going to try to do a huge overhaul.

I told Yubo that I wanted to maintain a proper household, but I would need his help. These aren't things that are new to us -- we've tried before. But I think this time I won't have such ambitious expectations; rather, I'm trying to approach this change in lifestyle more realistically.

Firstly, we brought back a daily/weekly chore list. With both of us working part-time, I think this will be more manageable than when Yubo was working 60+ hours a week, and I was miserable and unmotivated at home. We're a couple days into the test week, and although some things have slipped already (mostly due to holiday things), it seems what we have might work out for us. Of course, we'll see when I start work again and Yubo starts the new semester along with new work.

Secondly, I'm going to try meal planning again. I've planned dinners for the next two weeks. My goal is to continue on no matter how many times I might drop a night.

And that's really it so far. As we get going, and get a better idea of what our schedules will be like, I'd like to bring back date nights.

Finally, for me, I've found myself waking up naturally around 8:15-8:30am. However, I would just stay in bed and fall back asleep for another couple of hours. I would like to bring myself to getting out of bed and doing things as soon as I wake up, like making breakfast or working out (I'm laughing inside at myself for that last bit). In any case, I want to try to do things to keep me moving and energized, because it's been so cold lately that I haven't wanted to do anything.

In other things, people are getting engaged, married, and having babies. I still find myself lacking in any desire to have children. When I do think about it, only two reasons come to mind: 1) for my parents, and 2) to force Yubo to quit smoking. And I can't help but feel that those are two very inadequate reasons to bring a baby into this world. I mean, sure, they can be reasons, but not the sole reasons... and right now, that's all I've got. And in any case, I still stand by my belief that if God wants us to have children, He will make it happen.

In other other things, I've been entertaining the idea of writing creatively again. But you know... that lack of motivation... and not wanting to pull myself in too many different directions. I think it'll always be in the back of my mind, and we'll see if I ever do anything about it.

So that's where we're starting 2015. Not especially good, but also not particularly bad. And I think that's perfectly ok.

29 March 2014

Can't catch a break.

Work for both of us has increased. That's a good thing and a not so good thing.

It's been worse for Yubo than me, as the nature of our respective jobs would dictate. Yubo is currently in the middle of working on the re-piping of an entire house... something like a $17,000 job. He was already nervous that it might cut into our vacation time, but today, we cancelled the trip.

The help that he was counting on having flaked out, several times. And when the shop finally did send him some help, it was from the least experienced apprentice who actually created more work for Yubo. Apparently, this kid slipped while cutting dry wall, and broke a sink. So now he's not relying on anyone else, and has resigned himself to working on this by himself probably into Tuesday. But cancelling the trip is better, so now he doesn't feel pressured to meet a deadline, and can pace himself to work safely and efficiently with less stress.

The good news is that the room that we booked is easily high in demand (a 3-bedroom penthouse in Vegas), and so we will more than likely get our points back as long as the room gets picked up.

I've already arranged with both jobs that I won't be available, so I'm going to keep it that way so I can be available for Yubo.

For me, we continue to get more busy with new members and gigs, which is really good. And we've hired a new coach that can perhaps help share the load.... but he's also the sole piano and guitar teacher for the lessons we're offering in April, so I anticipate his schedule will fill up really quickly just from that. I do still have several students that keep things enjoyable and fruitful and worth it for me, so I'm not quite burnt out yet. But the mini-vacation sure would have helped.

Depending on when Yubo's done with his job, maybe we can just do an overnight thing somewhere closer just as a refresher.

The excuse for the vacation was my birthday, but really, it was to give Yubo a break. He always needs one, and days off spent at home aren't enough.

06 March 2014

Say "I love you"

That's actually the English title of a manga that I enjoy reading (it's a cute anime too).

But that's not what I'm here to talk about. I have over an hour before I need to head off to work, so I figured I might as well do another update while I'm thinking about it.

I have resolved to tell Yubo I love him at least once a day. I'm actually not really doing this for any particular reason. I don't expect this to accomplish anything miraculous. I just felt the need to say it in words at least once a day, even if it's in a stupid way. And actually, it is almost always in a stupid way.

Now, I realized that in the past, the only times I would really say it seriously was when we were in an argument. And I was usually crying a river, and my face was covered in snot. Not usually the way you want to hear that someone loves you. And it's certainly not a good thing when "I love you" ends up being followed with "but."

So I wanted to redeem all those angry "I love you"s, even if it's done in a silly way... because silly is better than angry, even if it's not quite so romantic.

For instance, last night Yubo bought a box of Choco Taco from the market. This afternoon, I texted him, "I love Choco Taco and I love you."

Of course, I enjoy romance. Why else would I be addicted to shoujo manga? But for some reason, I can't be romantic with Yubo at all. I get super self-conscious and embarrassed, and so I'll ruin moments with a joke or a stupid face or something. But I told Yubo, and this is true, that it's because I think I'm a joke. I'm still very not confident in myself, and I'm not confident about being with Yubo (even though we're married, and he's stuck with me whether he likes it or not... too bad). So when I imagine Yubo gazing lovingly at me, I laugh. It's an absurd picture in my mind. And it probably will be until I see myself as healthy and fit, and Yubo's ideal girl like I was close to back in college and when we first moved up to WA.

Wait. That's a lie. I was not healthy and fit 8+ years ago. I was just skinny.

And he can tell me I'm beautiful all he wants, but it won't do much if I don't believe it myself. And that's a whole other thing that I won't get into on this blog.

ANYWAY

Sorry for the tangent.

I don't want my joke of a self-image get in the way of letting Yubo know that I really do love him. And so, working with my joke of a self-image, I want to continue to tell him. Because my love for him certainly isn't a joke. (Ha.... sorry..... that was so lame and cheesy.)

This was sparked by a lot of things. To think morbidly first, as I usually do, there are several stories out there where people regret the last things that were said to a person before that person passed away... that they fought that day, or that they never once said they loved them, or that they simply didn't say it that one day when they usually do. Whatever sob story you want.

The other thing was that, I didn't realize how frustrating it could be for someone to never hear it said outright. I personally was never too bothered, I don't think. My parents didn't say it very often.... just occasionally.... but I just knew, mostly because they're my parents. I understood their love through their sacrifices.

But when dealing with someone you are not related to, and instead are romantically interested in and involved with, you don't have that same luxury. Words are powerful. And if something is not said outright, it can easily be denied.

Of course, I'm not just throwing the words out there. I try to support them with actions so that they're not empty. But I'm feeling more and more that the two go together. Saying "I love you" and showing "I love you." If I could do all that with full meaning to my cats, I really should be able to do the same with my husband.