You hear it all the time from the media and perhaps your family.
“Young at heart.”
Great slogan, but what exactly does it mean?
You’ve got a young heart? You act young? You exercise. You eat healthy? You take your vitamins or other stimulants (beverages or pills) to keep you on your toes?
Great words. Makes you feel like a million. Admit it. We all age. Our body grows older and we loose our youth. Our bodies grow stiff. Our joints creak and groan. Our brains are not as nimble as they once were. Sometimes we hear our family, kids, grandkids, relatives, friends, and peers and other times we don’t understand everything they say.
What’s going on?
Sometimes it takes a stranger to point out the problem. Other times, your doctor or a family member, but most times, you really have to start paying attention to your significant other because something is happening to him or her.
My Significant Other
One thing I found out with my significant other is that I had to Readjust my Attitude (behavior) in how I reacted to some of his Age behavior. It has changed. I spotted it 3 years ago, but medical science didn’t back me up. All the doctor said was: “For a person this age, you expect changes to take place. Deal with it and get over it.”
Isn’t it wonderful that modern technology still doesn't get it? That it doesn't keep up with age behavior?. What should you do?
Scream and shout? I tried that. It didn’t work. In fact, it made things allot worse and almost wrecked a 29 year old marriage.
So, what do you suggest?
My first suggestion is to REALLY listen and REALLY pay attention to what this person's physical behavior is telling you.
My second suggestion is, Don’t let frustration take over. Don’t react as if this person’s new behavior is a slight against you.
Don’t take it personally. Just absorb it and let it pass through. Save your temper/stress for REALLY important battles. This is not the time to make a big deal over it.
Let me give you two examples that stand out in my vivid memory.
My spouse’s words, not mine.
“I was driving up the hill with the sun in my eyes. I really couldn’t see clearly with the glare in my eyes. And you’ve got to remember. I got use to seeing sleep in the car whenever we took long distant rides, so when I saw the light turn green after the special green arrow turned off, I decided to swerve around the car in the opposite lane and dart across the road. How was I suppose to see oncoming traffic? The sun was in my eyes and you distracted me because you were awake and not asleep.”
I want to take the highway to get to Coatesville. I didn’t see the sign for Route 82. We didn’t have to drive down to Route 30 and then drive to the dentist before I realized I made a mistake. It won’t happen again. I just forgot how to get there.
See what I mean?
Now, the first time it happened, I was surprised. BUT this time, I kept my lips glued shut. I didn’t say one word. I didn’t scream or shout or stomp my feet on the floorboard. I didn’t scold him or reason with him.
I didn’t call him names like moron, idiot, stupid!
Nope, I kept quiet and let him silently reason out what happened and how he was going to fix it.
Was I scared silly? You bet!
Did I loose it? NO!
And that’s the difference right there.
The Relationship Readjustment
I made up my mind that people age at different rates the same way kids mature at different ages. It’s not my job to make him feel bad. He already felt bad when he let me down with his memory failure and cognitive thinking.
I didn’t go down that path with him. Have there been more problems?
Yes! Will there be more? Probably.
And, I’ll handle it the same way you handle it with a child growing into an adult.
Thinking before you speak.
And remembering, that you, too, will reach that same age of olderness, and how will you want your spouse to handle your behavior or mental problems in the future.
With screams and stress and abuse?
Or with dignity and love.
Until next time… .