This post is the continuation of a three part series written by my husband, Jeff. For part one, click here! For part two…keep reading!
(three things I’ve learned from being married to an anxious woman)
2. Pushing her is okay, but not too much!
Lauren doesn’t like new things. Ever. We go to the same restaurants, and she gets the same meal from those same restaurants. She hates hotels (a new room and a new bed and a new place?!) And don’t even get me started on new jobs. Most of the time, the small things in her life that she trusts don’t need to change, and they’re not that important. But part of being a good husband to her is giving that push to try something new, especially when we both know that new thing is good for her.
Last Christmas Day, back when Lauren and I were engaged, Lauren had given up her usual family tradition and came to be with my extended family that day (Lauren and I celebrated Christmas with her family the night before). While she was over at my house, Lauren started to get some stomach anxiety. We were just about to leave as a family to drive to my cousin’s house, where all my family was gathering. At this point, Lauren was in a full-blown panic attack. Crying. Shaking. Heart Racing. “Just go without me” she kept saying.
For her, Christmas with my family was going to be difficult already, but now with her emetophobia acting up, no way could she do this. However, it was really important for us to go together because this was one of the last times we would see the entire family before the wedding. I sat with her in silence for about 15 minutes. When she started feeling a bit better, when the shaking and crying had subsided, I started to encouraged her to come. I reminded her of how much she would regret not going. Our family waited a little longer to leave to give her more time, and she fought through it because she knew it was better for everyone, including herself. What ended up being an intimidating evening turned into a really fun night of video games and family bonding.
So whats the point? It’s okay to push your anxious partner to try and over come those tasks. But on the flip side, if all you do is push her to fight through every single anxiety attack, she’ll never see you as someone she can trust to tell her feelings to. She’ll be scared to tell you when she’s anxious because she knows all you’ll do is to fight past it. Because sometimes the best option is to pass or wait it out. And sometimes, it is still difficult for me to tell when I should push or when we should both give in. But communication is everything, and I’m quickly learning when it’s okay to push her and when I need to back off and let her work through things on her own.