I struggle daily with my competing desires. I desperately want to relinquish control of details and decisions to Austin while at the same time treating him with gentle kindness and respect. I also desperately want to control every aspect of my life with an iron grip.
The two, in case you hadn't guessed, don't mix well at all. I have very clearly defined ways "things should go" and when they don't go that way I get frustrated, annoyed, bossy, and rude. At the same time I really don't want to have to control everything, know everything, and decide everything. It's a sticky place to be, especially since I have trouble trusting that Austin (or if I'm being really honest, just about anyone on earth) knows enough about what is going on and about me to make a decision that is different from my own but still perfectly valid.
A very dear friend, whom I see only rarely, laid it out very starkly the last time we talked. He said that my assets - my strength, commitment, control-freakish nature, and stubbornness - are all perfectly suited to meeting my goals of surrendering, being respectful, and creating a more harmonious life with Austin. All I have to do is make up my mind once and for all that I actually want to do it. I cried a little when he said that, not wanting to admit that I do have the power and nothing is stopping me except me.
I'm in my third year of a highly competitive PhD program, for heaven's sake! If I have the strength and conviction to make it to this point in my life I can surely adjust my thinking enough to follow Austin's lead and just make it happen. The onus is on me. It is my responsibility to change my thinking and follow through on what I claim to want.
This thought plays through my head every day. Every damn day! Multiple times a day. But something (hint, hint: fear) is holding me back and I haven't screwed up the courage to turn my back on that fear and take a leap of faith. Small steps are sometimes possible and with each one I must remind myself to recognize that nobody died because I chose to loosen my grip, follow Austin's lead, and bow my head to making our lives a little less complicated.