I know that I’m making some broad generalizations here, but they are generally true. My generalizations are these: Women are more aware of, in-tune with, and to an extent, controlled by their emotions. Men (generally) tend to flop between two categories. Either they logically process their surroundings devoid of emotion, or they are totally unaware of and yet controlled by them (which is a scary situation indeed).
In any case, it is an entertaining part of marriage for men to ‘deal’ with their wife’s emotions. Most of us wake up to find out that we married this intensely emotional creature, and cannot figure out what on earth is going on with them. In my case, the strength of my wife’s emotions vary monthly 🙂 and were extremely strong after each of our kids were born (postpartum). This is not uncommon.
The unfortunate side of this? Most men disregard them, or figure they’ll go away in a [week|month|quarter]. I mean, after all, she only cares about [insert most recent crusade] for a few days, so can it really be that important? It is easy for us to disregard emotions as being illogical or ‘just PMS’.
I’d like to paint a word picture. Last summer we hiked to Mary’s Lake up by Brighton Ski Area. The lake was full, a crystal clear mirror, unbroken. Our friends informed us that usually the water was much lower, exposing rocks and islands now hidden beneath the surface. Can you picture it? Imagine the hills are things our wives care about and the water is their capacity to cope with, mask or process the emotions attached to those things. For about a week every month, my wife’s reservoir gets lower, and some of these hills pop out of the water. After we had a baby, the water was almost entirely emptied. The hills were mountainous. Yet just cause the “hills” were not always visible, doesn’t mean they weren’t always there.
Now for my assertion: PMS and postpartum can be gifts from God. (I’m a man saying this, I don’t have to deal with them personally). They give me an opportunity every month (and after we had babies) to see where my wife was at without her coping mechanisms. Some of the hills I helped her get rid of by gently helping her see they were invalid or illogical (ie. kids getting bitten by snakes that somehow “snuck” into our tent, etc.). Some of them we addressed before they grew into giant insurmountable obstacles (ie. like her fear we were wasting our lives and not living our dreams.) I’m thankful for the chance to get to see, understand and work through the things which are laid bare. Things that without my wife’s emotions, might go unnoticed or ignored.
The blessing? As we’ve either dismissed or addressed the fears/concerns when they were visible, she has become happier and had a greater capacity to accomplish things and live life when her water was ‘high’ again. This has united us a couple and strengthen our marriage.