This month’s article may be the most difficult yet most transparent one for me.
It is difficult because it’s a subject that I have failed at MISERABLY.
I have said before that Yvonne and I don’t have marriage counseling degrees framed on our wall. We don’t ever want to be perceived as “having it all together” because we don’t. We have both attended the “Marriage School of Hardknocks.” We even feel like we’re being hypocritical at times. Many times we find ourselves failing at THE VERY ISSUES that we are preaching for or preaching against.
I admit that when I came into our relationship, that I brought a lot of emotional baggage. Years of hurt, rejection, bitterness and pain. Yes, a lot that I openly admit, that I brought on myself.
The issue that I battle is making my wife and children PAY for things from my “previous life”. “Our previous life” is what Yvonne and I call the years BEFORE WE met and married.
I grew to adulthood and made mistakes and in a “previous life”, I was TOLD that I was a “mooch” (one who doesn’t pull their weight in finances or in the household) and a “Monster” because of my anger issues. I battle those “labels” that were put on me. See, if you’re told something long enough, it’s hard NOT to believe it.
A few weeks ago, Yvonne and I were riding in the car after seeing our Granddaughter being born and she inadvertently said something innocent that I took offense to. My mind raced back to my “previous life” where I felt like my feelings didn’t matter and I wasn’t allowed to voice my opinion about certain issues. After Yvonne innocently made her remark, I emotionally shut down and as she asked “What’s wrong?” I kept repeating “Nothing, I’m fine.”
At that moment, I allowed the enemy a foothold. I allowed the devil to whisper to me “Here we go again, YOUR opinions didn’t matter and YOU don’t matter.â€
See, I KNOW Yvonne’s heart and I should’ve realized that she never meant to hurt me. I was allowing the baggage of my previous life to weigh me down IN THIS LIFE. I CHOSE to be offended and instead of letting it go, I held onto that pain for 2-3 days.
I also allowed the enemy to keep re-stating those lies to me. â€œYOUR opinions donâ€™t matter, because YOU donâ€™t matter. If you tell her how you feel, youâ€™ll be perceived as a Monster.â€
I was distant and quiet that week. It was like there was the â€œElephant In The Roomâ€ but I didnâ€™t want to talk about it.
Which in turn caused Yvonne to feel like she wasn’t worth it and our marriage wasn’t worth fighting for.
I was making Yvonne pay for something that happened to me YEARS ago. However, in order for she and I to have a futureâ€¦we must deal with our past.
When my husband suggested we talk about this issue we recently went through I winced inside. I then drug my feet on starting it. I then wrote it multiple times in my mind going over how I wanted to frame the subject matter… because it’s tough, it’s not pretty and because it caused me to behave in a way that is very much unlike my typical behavior. I also was concerned about discussing something that may husband would not describe as one of his finer moments. I never want to paint him in a poor light. He chose the subject matter and actually has his part almost completely finished and I am just now starting mine. So, I have run out of time to delay putting my thoughts to paper.
Bryan & I were traveling home after what I would describe as one of those moments you share together that are monumental , once in a lifetime and bonding. We were laughing, kidding around and really having a great time. Then… I did it. I said something that instantly I knew hurt his feelings. We stopped at a gas station, went to the bathroom and got back on our route home. Silence. I mean deafening silence followed by no hand holding. You see, my husband always holds my hand… especially while driving. I asked him what was wrong and that was responded with the standard “nothing” answer. Then I asked specifically about what I had said and I also received the standard “nothing” answer. I was hurt. We had just had this amazing life moment together and I felt like a bucket of ice water had been thrown on me. I figured it would pass. It didn’t. Over the next few days it was obvious he was upset. I continued to try and resolve it. I continued to fail in my attempts.
Then I got mad. I don’t mean the crazy redheaded mad. I mean the apathy kind of mad. I was becoming bitter. I was detaching emotionally and I was in a place of being okay with it. I felt like I had tried. I was fighting for our marriage. I felt like I was being punished. Once again, I was disappointed. I felt worthless. I thought if I’ve bought into a man leading the home and being submissive then why isn’t he trying to fix it? Why isn’t important enough to him to fix? Then I went through the mental discussions in my head I was having with him ( I know you all do that too… conversations in your head) about how we aren’t conflict solving any differently than we did previously. Then I went to thinking he just wants me to agree with any of his behavior & he really wants a “yes girl” (that’s our term for people who agree with you even if you’re wrong ) and not a friend who is gonna challenge him from time to time. I had decided I was always the bad guy if I questioned or challenged ANY tone, any behavior or any opinion he had. I was mad. I knew why he was hurt. I knew it was an old wound. But I thought – at what point do I get to be me? He’s been with me for 100 years. When do the words coming out of my mouth get heard in my voice and not the voice that caused him so much pain from the past? I was simply; over it. That is shameful to type. For feeling those things, I am truly sorry.
I also felt like a hypocrite. I remember when we began writing which became our platform and ministry without us really realizing it, I had heard a sermon about the enemy attacking you on the very ministry you are so passionate about reaching others . I even text Bryan and said those exact things. I texted “we are not doing the things we know to do and encourage other couples to do as well”. We aren’t learning and course correcting the next time. And, in my head, I was yelling at him to ” just own it”. If you’re hurt, angry or disappointed, at least, own it.
I am so disappointed in my own behavior. Not necessarily anything that I said but the fact that I became numb. I became “okay” with it. I had surrendered. Disappointed that I recalled times over the few days prior to this things that he had apologized for things that he knew would disappoint or maybe hurt me and I had accepted his apology and moved on. The fact I was pulling them to the front of my thoughts and counting the offenses- I felt like I had shown grace and mad now because I felt like he wasn’t showing me any grace. I am disappointed in myself that I even entertained that baggage I carry labeled “everyone says they love you but they only mean when you’re perfect”. I also opened the bag called “you aren’t worth it” followed by the bag labeled ” you can’t do anything right”.
The first thing that MUST be done is prayer. We clearly canâ€™t do this alone. Marriage is too difficult to think that we can navigate though it without the help of God Almighty.
1) Take Your Claim Ticket. We have to OWN our baggage. We must admit to ourselves that we are dealing with past hurts and struggles. Lieing to ourselves and our spouse only makes it worse.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But he said to me, â€œMy grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.â€ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2) Claim Your Baggage. You see your baggage on the conveyor and it will remain there UNTIL YOU pick it up.
3) However, you must unpack it or it will keep weighing you down. It can destroy your marriage, your relationships and YOU.
Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Last, but not least, you can’t continue buying the ticket, checking the bag and boarding the plane. You decide enough is enough. Stop booking the same flight to yesterday.
The Hutson’s 2015
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