Tall-Shadow and I had a rough couple days. (Wait, what?? We’re not perfect?! Correct, we’re not.)
In about thirty-six hours, we had about five “things”. And it was hard on both of us because we’re used to getting along really well almost all of the time.
But I think we had gotten into this pattern because of our wonky circumstances – his job transfer hasn’t come through yet and we don’t see each other very often through the week – of trying to let go (or push down or whatever) little things that come up or are said in passing because we don’t want our limited time together to be focused on conflict resolution. I want him to want to come home to me, so I’ve been unintentionally trying to be a bit more fun and a bit more happy than I normally am when he’s home, which means I’ve been keeping my mouth shut.
And, several months into wedded bliss, it caught up with us. And then we weren’t getting along for a day-and-a-half.
And during that time, we both said some things. Some things that needed to be said, some things we could tell we had both been keeping in because of how they came out. Some things that maybe didn’t need to be said after all, but we said them anyway.
And we hurt each other.
Thankfully, we were able to turn a corner and find our way back to what feels like normal and good for us, but after he left to head back to his hometown, I texted him this:
I need you to know that I heard what you shared with me this weekend and I’m not taking it lightly and I’m praying it all through.
He in turn said he was sorry for hurting me and that he was responding out of hurt. Which I totally get. I had been too, and we both had already apologized for hurting each other.
But then I said this:
Sometimes we’re going to hurt each other because of our pasts and our baggage and we’re reacting. But sometimes we’re going to hurt each other with truth simply because the truth can hurt sometimes. And it’s going to be the person’s job on the receiving end to determine which is which and if a perspective needs to be shifted or a change needs to be made. I love you.
And so that is what I did with the words that were said to me that weekend. I asked Jesus to help me filter them. I asked Jesus what is truth that I needed to seriously consider and what was a by-product of my sweet husband’s past that I needed to let go of, and I hoped, in his own ways, he was doing the same with my words as well.
We cannot change each other. But we can love each other well enough to say the hard things (though as gently as we possibly can). But then, even still…we can’t make the other act on the words we’ve shared. It’s our job to speak kindly, and it’s our job when spoken to to hold the words up to God and ask him for the grace to hear what is beneath them and the strength to make course corrections if needed.
Jesus, help us love others wisely and well, with tenderness and mercy and grace. Amen.
Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy. –Proverbs 27:6