I had my first appointment with the counselor gal on Friday. Too early to tell whether it's helpful, I think; I see some good things and others that I question, so we'll see. I have two assignments (one is keeping a log about things that make me angry and how I react. This strikes me as pointless, because as a general matter the problem is that I feel angry so much of the time, not that I do destructive things when I feel angry. The log is designed, I believe, to train people to see that doing destructive things is bad and they should stop. But, I will be good and fill it out).
Oh, the other assignment is to work on using "I feel" statements with my DH. Of course everyone has heard this suggestion before, and I do try to do it (doesn't seem to make much of a difference when I do), but I default to "you were wrong because" by nature and this obviously would be a change. Maybe it will help.
Last night we went to a dinner thing for an organization my dad has been a member of since before I was born - at its annual meeting (this weekend), he takes over as its next president. So he invited us to come, and we even sat at the head table with him and the outgoing president and the VIP keynote speaker (really a VIP - I think most of you would know who he is). And a couple of embassy folks (!). My DH knew it was really important to me that we put on a good show - appear on time, be gracious, make a good impression. Because it's important to my father, and my family is such a disaster, I want to do the things right that we can do well.
On the one hand, this is something my DH is very good at - networking, making a good impression on people, all that. I also always forget that we have now been working in a city for years and we both wear suits to work - it probably comes more naturally to us to get dressed up for the evening than for most people. (I imagine I will always think of myself as a disheveled misfit.) And my DH is interested in foreign policy (a relevant area for the evening), and is a huge fan of the keynote speaker (I suspected, but wasn't sure, that we would sit at the same table, and my father introduced us, which was very cool. And he is such a nice guy - not at all snotty). On the other hand, this means dealing with a lot of people he doesn't know (many of whom I've known since childhood but not seen in years), almost all about twice as old as we are, and I thought he might be aggravated and bored.
I needn't have worried. We had our best evening in a while. We ran into (or maybe were tracked down by) the only other young couple there (who had just gotten engaged the day before) - her mother is part of the organization, and the fiance is the coming-along-for-the-ride party, like my DH. They were really interesting, well-traveled, and thoughtful, and we had a great chat with them late into the night - batting around the speaker's ideas (which were really insightful), talking about travel and the difference between American and European culture.
My DH is now re-inspired to get moving on his career - not on the I-need-to-quit-this-hateful-job-Monday path (THANK GOD). Rather, he just got a promotion, and then transferred to a different (much bigger and more prestigious) company, where he will be doing the same work - but since the company is bigger, he will have an opportunity to transfer into a different area down the road, including some of the areas in which he is really interested. So now (FINALLY) he is seeing his current job as a step on the path to doing what he really wants. (I have believed that it would work out that way since he got the original job in 2009, though I can't claim I knew it would work out this way.) So today, he's been looking into graduate programs in the area, and planning to pitch it to his company that it should pay for him to take a course or two. And planning to start studying for the GRE.
I am so relieved at this development. I don't want to be the dream-crusher, but he tends to articulate dreams that are so wildly impractical I can't sign onto them. I am so happy to encourage something that will make him happy, and we can accomplish sans disaster. (Also in that vein, he mentioned wanting to do the pilgrimage to Compostella next year. It would mean a month off of work, so it's really not feasible, but I have always wanted to do it. So I figured, why criticize the idea? It's something we both want. So I said, sure, let's figure out the logistics later. And then a week or so ago, he suggested we do it one leg at a time, a week per year. Something we can do!)
I didn't do much last night other than give my isn't-this-charming smile and try to look pretty, but I like to think my efforts in that direction were worthwhile. I wore a pretty dress my husband got me for Christmas (this one, but in black). It had gotten a bit snug, and I had to work hard for a week so it fit, but it was worth it. And when I had a bad evening on Thursday, I courageously responded in the way that God intended, and went shoe-shopping. I originally bought these (I loved the idea of a sandal front and a shoe back, and they were on clearance for $25):
But I had to go back and return them, because I realized I really had my heart set on this pair:
They were $40, and it goes against most of what I believe in to buy the $40 pair when there is a good-quality $25 pair that would work just as well for the occasion, but they were so beautiful and I HAD to have them. The heels have got to be 4" (stiletto, as you see, and no platform in the toe), so I can only walk a few steps in them; mostly stand (briefly) and sit. Perfect for a dinner with drinks afterward! I put them on in the elevator as we went up from the parking lot to the hotel, and barely even scuffed their beautiful leather soles.
And I gave myself a French pedicure (since my toes would show) and curled my hair (total failure - I had to comb it out and put it up. I can never curl my hair properly!) and did my makeup - quite a bit of makeup for me, but not outrageous for evening - and wore a necklace that was my father's mother's, and I was given after she died when I was 12. And one of the ladies came up to me at the end of dinner and told me I looked like a movie star. It was silly, of course, but that made me feel good :). And my DH looked dashing in his best suit - I was very proud of us.