How I Gained Closeness And Cut The Crap


Talking with Mark Groves,  friend and phenomenal relationship coach, about the importance of making requests versus giving criticism, I drew examples from my own life. One thing my husband-Mark does that gets under my skin is that he pokes fun at me to gain closeness with my friends.

My best friend Georgia loves a painting in our living room. Husband-Mark says “oh you like that? Jess hates that painting. I’m glad you like it because I like it, too!” Mark Groves questioned why that bothered me. Because husband-Mark buddies up with my friend at my expense! When Mark Groves asked if there’s an experience in my childhood when I felt this way, a knot in my throat formed. And I'll admit saying it out loud, I realized how small-beans it actually sounded but it felt so heavy in the moment.

During elementary school, friends came to my house to play and ended up playing with my sister instead of me. Kristi made a joke about me, my friend laughed and I got upset and stopped playing with them. My response to her joke was so bad one time that my parents sent me to my room and I missed the entire play date, left only to hear them having the time of their lives while I pouted. Decades later, I’m still carrying that crap around…

Instead of criticizing husband-Mark for teasing me, I planned to request that he cut it out entirely. But when Mark Groves asked why I don’t tell my husband about that childhood memory, I realized I was afraid of being vulnerable.

The answers can be so simple. Husband-Mark and I have learned so much by letting each other in. And the more time we have spent with each other’s families, the more we understand each other’s sensitivities and where they come from.

It was never about the painting. It was about feeling excluded. A feeling that came during my childhood, that without asking myself 'where the hell is this coming from,' I may never release. Each time husband-Mark teased me with my friend, he’d continue to get under my skin and we’d have the same problems on repeat.

Instead of asking “why is he being like this” I turned to the mirror and asked why I am feeling like this. Where is this reaction coming from? I was eager to deal with it, to let it go and move on. Now that husband-Mark understands why I get bent out of shape when he teases me like that and now that I've told him where it comes from, things feel light for both of us. We tease and we play. I've always loved how playful my husband is. It's refreshing to see, it's not personal... it's just him being him. And I wouldn't have him any other way. 

Thank you, Mark Groves, for asking me to look inside myself and for helping me break an annoying cycle. Now I laugh instead of pout. No one likes a pouter, especially a pouting adult!

The best way to clean out these cobwebs is to first recognize they’re there, tackle them and enjoy space in those new open areas.