Growing up, I used to hate that. I’d be thinking, ‘I’m the one taking this whipping. You are NOT hurting right now.’
Amazing the perspective you gain as an adult having to be the ‘bad guy’ and knowing it’s for their good.
The thing the Lord has FINALLY told me to do is speak my mind.. Set boundaries. Train him. (I don’t mean it negatively… but really… we all go thru that training stage in relationships.)
This process has been painful for us – obviously. Even before this past year happened, things were not what they should’ve been and we were just beginning to back up and cover some ground we should have covered much earlier… Then foolishness derailed all that and hell became real life to a whole new degree…
One of my biggest struggles in all this has been God’s insistence that I be gracious. I have been full of rage and a hostility that I didn’t even know I was capable of feeling – much less displaying… And I suppose that’s normal; except I’m not that person who stays in situations that cause me such frustration and I’m not silent enough to let things build to that point for me. But in this season of life, God has point-blank directed me to hold my tongue in most things H. And hard as it is, I’ve been obedient…
The confrontations we have, have begun w/the Lord saying to me to speak my mind. I speak and H rages. Because HE’S the victim in all this and how dare I act like it’s not ok since he at least told me the truth. We finally talk and there may be some change. Or not. But still. The direction is to be quiet.
But now. Now God says it’s time to speak up.
And though I appreciate the latitude to finally say what I feel (and what is true), it hurts. It hurts because this shouldn’t be necessary. It hurts because I’m tired and still not recovered from the first blows. It hurts because he’s so difficult when it comes to accepting responsibility. And more than any of that, it hurts because I love him and it hurts me to see him hurting.
Right now he is just like a child who KNOWS they’ve done the wrong thing, knows they deserve punishment, but who doesn’t really grasp the magnitude of the wrong – who doesn’t really get that the consequences of the choice they made are gonna cost far more than any punishment that can be given. He’ll take some punishment, but not much. He’ll deal w/some correction but after a while he’s gonna buck back and throw a hissy-fit – because it’s just the nature of a child who’s never been held accountable. It’s uncomfortable and it’s unusual and it takes power away from them and clearly creates order and expectations. And as the one doling it out, all you can do is let them lash and stick to your guns because you know that if you back down you will all be the worse for it. Giving in wouldn’t be love. It would be cowardice.
However. Knowing that truth doesn’t change how hard it is to live it out and trust the process. Not one little bit. As angry as he’s been, as hurt and frustrated – he knows he hasn’t done his part. He knows how out of line all this has been. And he knows he’s taken advantage of grace. He knows I’m right. He’d just like to believe that I’m taking this as an opportunity to play ‘tit-for-tat’.
He has no idea that this breaks my heart just as much as it breaks his. It hurts me as much as it hurts him. Nobody wants to continually speak words that just add to the tension. Nobody wants to repeat themselves countless times and hope to God that you’re finally listening. Nobody wants to so consistently do battle with somebody that should be standing and fighting beside them for something mutually beneficial.
He has no idea that I’d much rather relax with him and just goof off and live than draw lines and take stands and let there be a gap until he decides to respect the boundaries. I’d rather be sharing excitement about a new job or a new baby or some other greatness than sitting up praying til I’m exhausted over things that have to be dealt with if we’re gonna make it past this tumultuous season. He has no clue that my mind and heart are already working on damage control while he pouts because he got called to the carpet.
But. Grace only goes so far. There is a time when the grace is in the accountability. And we’re there. I am apparently ready (according to God) to travel this road w/the proper humility. (Apparently I couldn’t do this before because pride and anger would have driven me and cruel would probably have been what he got instead of unwavering.)
Now let’s just all hope that it dawns on him that this is not a walk in the park for me either and that I’m just as put out at having to ‘handle him rough’ as he is at being handled ‘rough’ (which is really all relative. Ain’t nothin rough about how he’s being handled but the fact that he refuses to get it together. But I digress.) Because at the end of any day, what hurts him hurts me, and it’s just not fun no matter how you slice it…
As I’ve sat and thought this thing out, I realize that God is showing me clearly how He feels when we are this kid that H is right now. I realize how unwavering is His love and it touches something deep inside me. Because how long did He strive with me before I got it together enough to at least listen? And how much longer did He wait to hear me say “Lord I didn’t understand what I was doing, I’m sorry. I didn’t know. Please forgive me.” Even though I started walking in obedience well prior, it was a LONG time before I hit that place in my maturity where I said those words. I have to wonder if He longed to know that I got it as much as I long to know that H gets it. Cuz really, at the end of the day H’s apology is gonna be worthless until his heart connects w/the truth of the cost that’s been paid by us both for him to have what’s on reserve for his life.
Seeing the parallel even convicts me of how I’m handling things right internally. One big thing has been ‘God why do You hate me. You don’t care. You’re just letting it be this way and it doesn’t matter than I’m drowning. Gimme a break. What have I done so bad that I just can’t get a little relief?’ And He says to me ‘But I do care. I love you. I see your pain. I don’t hate you. This isn’t about you. This is about H having his life. I Am with you. I know your pain and My heart breaks with you. I understand. but… H needs this. You have Me. Would you let him perish because you hurt or would you want him to live? I didn’t let you die. Will you let that be the case for H?’
It hurts God as much as it hurts me. But He knows that it’s necessary to accomplish the goal and to see the big picture come together as it should. It’s not about hurting me. It’s because He loves us both. He loves me like He’s asking me to love H.
I’m not out to hurt him. This is because I love him and I want what’s best long-term for us all. He might feel like I’m being mean just because I can, but really. I’m doing my best to help us regain some ground and to create a situation where I can learn to respect him and trust him again. I’m trying to stack the odds in his favor by ‘putting him on notice’ (as he so aptly put it to me) that he’s gotta do his part if he’s looking to see improvement between us or change in the logistics of the situation. He wants submission and unquestioning loyalty, not to mention a wife that respects him and gives the gift of authenticity with him. I want a husband a confidante and a friend, a man who’s gonna love me and show proper regard for my heart and my confidence in him. None of that can exist without respect and one of us has to insist on its existence.
He doesn’t get it now, but he’ll thank me later. Just like I thank God now.
He’ll appreciate it when he looks back and sees God at work in us both. And I will too…