Recently I posted this on my Facebook writer page:
“Sweet girls, I hope this will please your hearts to know that I now send my posts to Tall-Shadow for his input before I publish them, and he occasionally texts me with a tweak or two. The best part is that his heart is even more tender than mine is towards all of you and people in pain in general, so his suggestions are always along the lines of ‘this could be softer or more encouraging’. Sweet man.”
Though most responses were kind and encouraging, I also received this:
“Will you always think he will need to preview your words before you speak or write them? Is this what marriage is….or what honoring each other is?”
What an interesting take on what I was trying to share. My intent in posting what I did was to convey to my readers that partnership was adding to my ability to minister to them, not detracting or taking anything away.
And yet, one of the comments was an immediate questioning of why do I feel the need to get Tall-Shadow’s input?
First off, I don’t feel that I NEED to have him preview my words. I want him to. For years now, I have only had one side of the story – the female version. But I am marrying a man who has been through the wringer and can speak to the other perspective. I want to know his side of things, how he sees the same situation I see. It’s fascinating to me, and it rounds out my writing and capacity to reach out in a more holistic and fair way.
Secondly, I hope I ALWAYS want his opinion. That’s what good partners do for each other.
Thirdly, he doesn’t preview my words before I speak them. Not even sure how that would work. And he does not preview every word I write. We don’t have that kind of time. I bring him in on posts that I think he’d have something to add.
Fourthly, it’s previewing as in adding input not as in permission. Which is a key point. I can write whatever I want to write. Because a) there’s that wonderful little thing called freedom of speech, but b) even more important to me is that I am no longer under any other human being’s thumb. If I want to write something and feel compelled to do so, I will write it. However, because of the tenderness with which Tall-Shadow deals with me, and because his points are valid, if there is something I can tweak to come across less harsh (I can be harsh, in case y’all haven’t picked up on that), I will gladly make a change. Not because he’s telling me to, but because it’s the right thing to do. (Thank God my heart is soft enough to receive input like this…may it always be so.)
Lastly, no, I don’t think marriage and honoring each other is about each having to preview the other’s thoughts and words before they go out into the world. And yet, part of marriage is helping the other to become a better version of yourself, to help others together, so if Tall-Shadow sees something in me that isn’t me in my best light, and vice versa, we will gently share that with the other. Now that’s honoring.
If this post resonated with you, before dating, I’d suggest reading Unraveling: Hanging Onto Faith Through the End of a Christian Marriage, available here.
I have followed your blog for over a year now and it never ceases to amaze me how our divorce/recovery/dating/engagement journey has paralleled one another. However, this is my first time to comment. I just really felt compelled to tell you how much you have helped me on my journey. And to applaud you for not wanting to scream “shut up” to the person who questioned your decision to let Tall Shadow preview some of your writing. WHATEVER. You are doing an awesome job. And I’m very impressed by your self restraint. 🙂 Thank you for what you do, and please continue…and btw–a big congrats to you and Tall Shadow. I’m SO happy for you. And me. I found a wonderful man, too (online dating actually works sometimes!) Although mine is “Short Shadow”. 🙂 Keep up the good work, Elisabeth.
This is the way healthy partnership works. The commenter demonstrated her own wounded heart by her go-to thought that you were somehow being controlled. Many of us have lived this way it is understandable, but sad. Remember, it speaks more about her own heart than yours.
Also, I have noticed that my Mr. Wonderful adds a great deal of compassion and perspective as a bio dad who also has to share his children with a former wife as it relates to the way I interact with my own former husband. I don’t always like it, but but his input challenges me and reveals areas of my own wounding that continue to heal.
This is life.
Very Holy Spirit written and honoring to God…..sweet testimony to Jesus Christ and as Christ loves the church so Tall Shadow loves you…..:) great start as you both prepare for marriage….Eph 5:25-28
Sometimes the comments you get just blow me away! I follow you on FB and read you here and I appreciate your honesty and transparency!
Missy is right about the commentors wounded heart, and from that perspective these comments do make more sense to me. I think the James verse about slow to speak applies 🙂
I found your blog through the crosswalk article in January 2014. I have now been following you for over a year. I have shared your article, and your blog, with several friends who are walking in difficult marriages.
Thank you for doing what you do!