Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Patience in a Perfecting Love Story

Philip and I had a rough season.  Our anniversary always falls after the holiday rush, and near the conclusion of deer season and annually, I find myself almost fed up with my life....feeling alone, neglected, unmotivated, cranky and loserish.  
After 18 years of marriage, I'm just done-done hashing it all out. I got to the [ugly cry] moment where I no longer needed to be right. I didn't even need him to change anything. I was just done. Not "I'm leaving" done.   Just "worn slap out, not striving any longer" done.
 So, I had a smallish meltdown.

At the rocky bottom, I cried out to one friend.  A friend without the appearance of a perfect life...who shares her humanity...and the unconditional love of Jesus.  She listened to my ugliness and hurt and she prayed with me.  She also invited me to attend Celebrate Recovery the next week.  In the meantime, I simply committed to pray to God whenever I felt like I was wronged or neglected.   I knew I needed to be more loving...and so I committed to pray about that too.
I didn't tell Philip about my break. I'm sure he noticed the Rocky Balboa eyes (from a long day of weeping) and since there were no feminine products in our trash, he must have been VERY afraid....or maybe he didn't even care.  It didn't matter, because it was not about him.  It was about me.
I had said one sentence to him the day before the "episode":  "I think 10 hours with the children is wouldn't leave them with the sweetest person on earth for more than 10 hours...after 10 hours I think we should work as a team for their supervision." No emotions...just a stoic [run-on]sentence. The only other sentence I said was the day after the episode. "J wants me to come to CR Monday night. She is leading worship and I'd really like to go. I'd love for you to go with me, but I'm really sure I'd like to go." Those were my two utterances. The rest of my energy was spent praying.
That week, Philip made the bed 4 mornings. That increases his marital average by 350%.  I know it sounds silly,  but the idea that "flesh and blood did not tell him these things" and that God just prompted him to offer an unsolicited gesture of love & attention was a COMPLETE and utter blessing to my soul...a surprising answer to my inarticulated prayerful groans:)


We have been attending Celebrate Recovery meetings every Monday night for over a month. We're starting a CR at our church later in the spring, but for now, we drive to a neighboring town on Mondays. It's kind of funny because we're not really sure from what we're recovering.  Ourselves, it would seem:)
But isn't all of living basically overcoming hurts, habits, and hang-ups through Christ?  Christ through Him we can overcome.  We'll learn all the neat and tidy terms of dysfunction with which to label our recovery....codependence, anger, bitterness, pride.  But for now, we are together; we are honest; there is no pretense; and there is healing.

We both are learning that we are selfish. bad.  It looks different in each of our lives, but we're shining light on it and calling it what it is. God is providing healing and I am SO thankful....I really thought a touch of insanity was my next viable option.
Deer season always leads up to our anniversary, which is followed by Valentine's Day.  I think of this holiday is my personal control-freak parade day.  From the very beginning, my poor husband never had a chance.  I am ashamed to think of our first Valentine's Day.  He brought home a lavish display of affection, and I rejected it.  Rudely.  I wanted to make sure he would not continue in such a [ridiculously frivolous] way for the duration of our marriage.
A couple years ago, I sincerely apologized to him for that ...and for ALL the many other instances of selfish manipulation it seemed to symbolize.  I thought we were past it.  Nope.  Not me.  
My nylons say it all:  Control Top Queen.
I sent a little APB text to him Monday morning suggesting a price cap on Valentines.  He replied that it was too late.  How many women would be wonderfully thrilled that his plans had been set into motion so far in advance, that there was no way to cancel, return, or retro-activate the cap?  I freaked.  
I initially accused him based on financial foolery, and when that didn't seem to faze him, I sucker-punched with "you always do the same does not speak love...and the amount of wasted money hurts my brain."
Lovely in almost every way, I know.
Here is the ugly truth.
When I don't feel like I'm fully informed or somehow in control, I am afraid.  
I do not enjoy being afraid, so I choose a simpler reaction: anger.  
"Since it is implausible to think that I have caused these negative emotions, it MUST be someone else.  Let's see...who could it be....AH YES!  The blue-eyed spendy man, who loves me profusely despite my wretched nature." 
And so I begin my case to prove to him that he (and all his personal decisions that he never once received my authorization for) is solely and ultimately responsible for instigating my unhappiness which has led to my wrath.   Easy peasy.
With new found liberation from my own pride, it only took seconds to realize what was really happening. (Not years, thank the Lord.)  I immediately apologized to him for my selfishness, my pride, my anger, and my lack of trust.  And he immediately responded with words of forgiveness, and hope and love and promise and healing.
Love is patient....Love never fails.
And so the story continues....

"I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out." Romans 7:18

"For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." Phil 2:13

"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed." James 5:16

"Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." James 4:10

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

"Do to others as you would have them do to you." Luke 6:31

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly." Col 3:16