Somewhere along the way, I made up my mind. I was no longer going to hide. I was no longer going to cover up my messes. I was no longer going to act like the victim at every turn. I was no longer going to point all fingers away from me and at my partner.
My life is now an open book. I now toss out all my ugly cards on the table first to separate the relational wheat from the chaff. If you can handle all the horrible things I’ve done and still go on liking me for me, you’re in. If you can’t, let’s just both move on, and save ourselves some time.
So here I am. Standing on the other side of my ended almost-nineteen-year marriage. My marriage was difficult. My marriage had issues of codependence, woe-is-me-ing, of raging…..and that was just me. It wasn’t pretty. And I was an active participant in its demise.
I was not a good wife. For many, many reasons.
But one of the reasons that has struck me so much lately is that I showed so little grace to my spouse.
I had a higher standard, perhaps in my mind and heart only, for how he should live and act and what he should say and not say and do and not do.
I had rules – some spoken (naggingly, I should add) and some unspoken (and therefore undiscernable to him) – placed over his life that I carried around like some impossible standard that he could never quite live up to, no matter what he did.
And this became our dance. And it became our demise.
Though in the beginning, we may both have had better intentions, we took on these roles. He would do something, anything, and if I didn’t like it, for whatever reason, I’d let him know.
Until he just couldn’t win anymore. And so he maybe stopped trying. And then prophecy fulfillment kicked in, and the things I was most scared of happening…..the things I had set all those rules in place for in a misguided attempt to prevent…..began to happen.
And the dance intensified, until all we were doing, day and night, was hurting each other.
It takes two to dance. I no longer believe what I believed for so long: that he was our downfall. I now believe this: we were our downfall.
And if I ever have the chance to do it over again with a new partner, my next dance will look nothing like my first. Because I am now willingly the woman who reached for Christ’s robe, and I am desperate for my faith to make me well after years of nothing seemingly working.
But for those of you who are still dancing with the one you came with, and if the dance is breaking your heart over and over and over again, there’s hope and there’s help and there’s still time to change your rhythm and your steps. You still have time.
If this post helped you, I would encourage you to check out “Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage”, found here, or “Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage”, found here.