Many years ago, we had a New Years’ Eve party at our home. Snacks, games, and a bunch of our friends from church filled our house and the last day of the year. I was my typical snarky self, tossing out one-liners and zingers all evening, not thinking a thing of it.
A few days later, one of my friends who had been at the party said to me, “My husband thought you were a jerk the other night.”
O-kay. No one wants to hear something like that. Especially someone who hadn’t even begun to work through her “I just want everybody to like me” issues.
I was immediately defensive, and had no idea what she was referring to. “What do you mean?”
She didn’t want to go into details (then she perhaps shouldn’t have said anything in the first place, one might argue), but she eventually did.
“To your husband. You were mean to him all night. Totally putting him down left and right.”
I wanted to tell her all the things that had just happened that week…all the arguments, all the hidden things that had been uncovered, all the ways I felt I couldn’t breathe anymore. If she only knew, then maybe she’d understand. Then maybe her husband wouldn’t think I was jerk.
But you know what? I was a jerk. I really was. I don’t care how I was treated or what was really going on behind the scenes (well, I do, but you know what I mean), I had no business being disrespectful to my husband, let alone in front of our friends. What a horrible example I was to the other women, what a mismanaged way to handle my feelings, what a shame that I wasn’t choosing to be a sweet fragrance in my own home, what a way to dishonor Christ.
I remember that night and I’m embarrassed. I remember words I’ve said over the years and I’m ashamed. I wasn’t taking care of my emotions in the right way…I wasn’t taking care of them at all. I was totally stuffing them, trying to fix things on my own, and then, when I least expected it or wanted it, they would come out all over the place, on the people around me.
I don’t want to be a jerk. To anyone. Ever. So I need Jesus to keep coming in and reordering my world. If this post helped you, I would encourage you to check out “Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage”, found here.
Thanks for sharing. Totally get what you are saying, but don’t think you should be so hard on yourself. I am where you have been in a very difficult and hopeless marriage. I have put up with way too much for way too long in so many areas. The book on Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend has been very helpful recently. Basically, by just trying to be nice and keep forgiving I am actually reinforcing and rewarding bad behavior. And ultimately my health is paying the price – mentally and physically. Please pray for me . I have choices to make and we have already separated and reconciled several years ago.
You have been a great encouragement to me, Sister in Christ.
Yes, you were very hard on yourself in this post. I can say that because I’ve lived it.
Are you a perfectionist?
Women, God is more loving to us than we are of ourselves. I will pray for you Rebecca.
Loved this. I, too, have been a jerk. I, too, have lived in way that does not allow the true Christ to shine through.
May we all, each and every one of us, learn to allow Jesus to come in and reorder our world.