I came into my new marriage with so much baggage, I practically had to have it shipped separately. During my twenties and thirties, I was called things, I was manipulated, I was lied to, I was controlled, I was gaslighted, I didn’t know up from down. I lived for twenty years off and on thinking my reality was one thing when it so totally was another thing (a sucky and sad way to live, by the way, especially when the other person does know the reality and you’re the only one in the dark).
But time went by.
And I leaned on and clung to Jesus.
And I went to counseling.
And I went through DivorceCare.
And I met with my mentor.
And I worked the twelve steps.
And I talked things out with my friends.
And I journaled.
And I read.
And I experienced people being kind to me, consistently.
And people pointing out the good in me, which surprised me.
And healing came.
And I got remarried. To a sweet, sweet man. And our relationship has no parallels to my first relationship.
Other than, you know, I’m in it. And my husband is a man. And we’re both human. But other than that, no parallels. (Yeah.)
But recently, I was triggered apparently. Something occurred that must have hit some button deep down inside me and I panicked. I misread a situation, and then I falsely accused, and I hurt my husband…deeply.
And I felt horrible. I cried and cried. I apologized and I apologized. I told him I didn’t know how to fix what I had done but it felt like I had broken something between us.
He is a gracious man, my husband. He forgives quickly and lets things go like I’ve never seen anyone else be able to do. So, I believe he moved forward before I did. And I am so grateful for that.
However…what am I supposed to do with that? How do I prevent past pain from creating a wedge between my husband (the person who didn’t cause the original pain) and me? How can I tell the difference between being triggered and perhaps an actual new real hurt?
I’ll be honest. I don’t fully know yet. I’m still so new at this, this being in a real relationship that is loving, this trying to let go of twenty years of pain while glancing back from time to time at the lessons learned, this being in a relationship that actually terrifies me to consider losing versus one I’m begging to be released from.
So, this is what I’m doing.
I am honest with my husband. I tell him when I’ve been triggered and why. Not always, because he doesn’t always need to know and because most of this stuff is all me, people. But most of the time, I tell him.
I own my stuff. If I’ve hurt my husband, I will tell that man that I am so sorry and I will ask him for his forgiveness. I didn’t always do this in the past. I want to always do this from now on. (Unfortunately, I say I’m sorry a lot…my husband says I say it too much…work in progress, girls.)
I confess to my friends when I’ve messed up and hurt my husband and I ask them to pray for me and for us.
I am praying, for a lot of things. I can tell that this is something only Jesus will be able to fix in me. So I’m asking him pretty repeatedly to keep healing my past, to sever all heart/soul/body/mind ties to our pasts, to keep restoring me, to protect my mind and my heart, to help me see my reality clearly, to strengthen my marriage and our oneness, to intertwine us with every touch and kind word and act of service and prayer for each other, for my thoughts to focus on all that is good and gorgeous and true in my life and to minimize anything that is unnecessary, anything that is dark and weighs me down and holds me back and obscures my view.
This is hard. I’m not good at this yet. I’m not the hot mess that I thought I would be, but I still am an emotional handful.
But this is what I know:
- Jesus loves me.
- Jesus will never fail me.
- Jesus will never leave me.
- Jesus forms me and defines my present and my future.
- My husband loves me and I love my husband.
- My past helped form me, but it doesn’t define my present or my future.
- My husband will fail me and I will fail him.
- My husband may leave me (I pray he doesn’t, of course) or I may leave him (I can’t imagine).
- But because of 1, 2 3, & 4, I will be okay no matter what.
Jesus, please keep my focus on today and what is real and true in front of me, and continue to heal my heart from my past and help me move forward. Amen.
“Looking ahead, we press on…” -Philippians 3:14
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As always I appreciate your transparency. But for all the reasons and explanations of how your past effects your present – that I why a choose to remain single. I don’t want to drag my past into another relationship. And, quite frankly, I don’t know if I will EVER trust a man again. In the 4+ years I’ve been single, not one time has anyone asked me for coffee, on a date – NADDA. And that’s okay. Apparently my signal being projected it to leave me alone. And that’s okay too. I don’t want to put my kids through anything else. When I see how they respond to their dad showing up with his girlfriend, and how they withdraw from him more and more because this person is a total stranger being inserted into their lives – well, I won’t do that to them. They have suffered enough. Staying single just seems the most logical thing to do. At least for me. This other…seems like a lot of work. I exhaust myself enough just trying to heal from all I’ve been through. It’s so complicated!
I know exactly what you mean by triggers. I’ve been following you for a while and now that my divorce is final (after a 2-year separation) I’m opting the same as commented above…to stay single. But I love reading about your experiences for whenever God lets me know it’s time. Thanks for sharing.
I love your honesty. No relationship is easy. Not with family or friends or anyone. I have learned that marriage is no different. And I feel we are almost spoiled these days and expecting it to be easy all the time. I am getting married soon. My second. But this one I know is of God. I know it won’t be easy and I hope it never gets too easy. Because it is in those trials that we grow and become closer to God. As a single mom for 10.years to a special needs child and cancer survivor – it is the trials and challenges that God uses to make us better. I look forward to being with a man that will be by my side and we will be committed to growing in God together. Not fair for me to ask for much more.