Joe and Stacy met when they were fairly young. They both came from good families and they instantly feel in love with each other. It seemed like a match made in heaven and they soon set out to start a family.
There were no signs of struggle, anger, or insecurity for either of them and they praised each other daily. They began to raise their first child and then another baby appeared, soon after. Everything was looking up for this bright, vibrant, young family.
Then, one day, Stacy found herself walking around the house in a daze and she couldn’t figure out what was going on. The kids were asleep, her husband was away at work, and she began to wonder, “Is this it?” Not wanting to feel sad or negative, she immediately busied herself with some laundry and pushed the thought out of her mind.
Not long after, Joe came home and he noticed that Stacy didn’t greet him in her usual manner. She was busy with the kids and so he slowly walked over to the couch, sat down, and turned on the television.
When they sat down for dinner that night, it was obvious that something had shifted, yet they both followed through with their usual conversation about how work was going, what the kids were doing, and the holiday trip that was coming up.
That night, they both got ready for bed, laid down and closed their eyes. Neither one was aware that they were both still awake, with their minds spinning. As they got ready in the morning, Stacy asked Joe how he slept. “Good.” he said. “How about you?” “Good.” Stacy responded.
Months went by without another episode until the night that Stacy blurted out that she was feeling stressed. Joe didn’t want his wife to feel sad so he attempted to comfort her. “Honey, you are a great mother and wife and I don’t want you to feel sad.” She felt some comfort as Joe turned his attention towards her, but her underlying feeling didn’t change. “You’re right. I have no reason to be sad.”
It was a few more months before anything else popped up. Even though every day felt much the same for both Joe and Stacy, the kids were growing up and everything was in order. However, Joe had noticed that their sex life had begun to atrophy. They still performed once or twice a week, but it just felt flat and Stacy never seemed that interested.
So, one night as they lay in bed, Joe tells Stacy that he has been feeling stressed lately. “Honey, you’re a great father and husband. I don’t want you to feel sad.” Joe responded, “You’re right. After I finish this project at work, I’m sure I’ll feel better.”
In that moment, the agreement was made. Stacy and Joe both agreed to hide their sadness and frustration from themselves and each other. If negative feelings came up, they would attach the feeling to stress from the outside world and then, they wouldn’t have to feel the uncomfortable feelings or take responsibility for their inner world.
What can you relate with in this story?
What advice would you give the Stuffer's?