As I slowly find consciousness my hand feels around for the covers and I can tell they’ve shifted in the night. My exposed foot is no longer toasty warm due to it dangling off the edge of the bed. I turn slightly to peer over my shoulder, the blanket and sheet are pulled back where my husband had been sleeping, I realize a sliver of faint light is streaming in from the window, it must be morning. I missed him saying goodbye…
There was a time, not long ago, that my husband annoyed me pretty much every morning. Because every morning he would kiss me goodbye and whisper, “I love you” or something similar. They nerve, huh? Yeah, I know. I was totally and completely, 100% undeniably, selfish and ungrateful. But would you believe there was actually more to it than that (as if that wasn’t enough)?
You see, for me, there’s always been this underlying current of pain and fear that subconsciously compels me to respond to acts of love and kindness in the exact opposite way regular people are supposed to. My knee-jerk reaction is suspicion, anger, rejection. This comes from a life of ill treatment, misuse and abuse, and for me, well, I’m no stranger to any of that.
When I mentioned that I missed my husband saying goodbye to me, that’s actually a newer development. When we were first married I couldn’t stand him doing that and most mornings that he wasn’t quiet enough and woke me…you better believe I made sure he knew I was NOT pleased.
I’d grunt and groan and whine at him my disapproval and mutter something about “why do you have to…”, “can’t you just…” or the classic: “if you really loved me you wouldn’t blahblahblah…” and something else about “blahblahblahblah…”. Blech.
I was downright awful.
Where I was when we first got married, I honestly didn’t see how I was acting and how wrong it was and how much it was hurting him. He was reaching out to his new bride, in love, and for some reason she was spewing hurt and false accusations in return, slapping him in the face. I can only imagine how confused he felt. How had this once blinded-by-love-sappy-talking woman, turned into this awful creature he had committed to love and cherish? I’m betting he was wondering what he was doing wrong, and it wasn’t really him at all. It was me.
We tried taking care of our dirty laundry on our own, in secret, where nothing was ever truly exposed, but we made ourselves believe it was, even after a fairly decent fight where one or both of us stormed off in a heated huff, throwing something out of our way. We were kidding ourselves and we were lying to everyone else. Things really weren’t ‘ok’.
Finally, the proverbial last straw was broken and I did the unthinkable, I threatened to call his mother for help before things really spiraled out of control again. And this time, I did call his mother.
Now I admit, in part I wanted to call her to tell on him because over the first few years of me being awful, well, it rubbed off on him and he became awful too. In between that, I had so much guilt that I had created this ‘monster’ and had corrupted this poor woman’s once sweet boy, I needed to let it out, the burden was destroying me, it was destroying US.
With that one act, it was as if you could tangibly feel something happen. Like when a light is turned on in a dark, boarded up room and the cockroaches scramble to hide themselves again, the truth of the Bible was playing out in our lives. Darkness and light cannot co-exist. When the light is turned on, the darkness must flee! That phone call and then subsequently a meeting with our pastor was the beginning of our healing and the end of suffering alone in the darkness of sin and torment. Satan and his schemes lost that day and the victory now belongs to God!
We let the light of Christ shine in our darkness, exposing the rottenness our relationship had become. So many scriptures came alive at that moment and even though it was a brief moment, it was the catalyst to reclaiming our love, marriage and individual selves.
“Confess your faults (sins) to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” ~James 5:16
And in 1 John chapter one, verses 5-10:
“This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”
The truth in the word of God was instrumental in setting us on the path to restoring our lives. That one act of confession, to someone outside of us that we trusted, paved the way for us to get the help we needed…the help I needed.
I’ll be completely honest with you, it’s hard, really hard. It means being brave when you can’t and don’t want to be. It means taking the risk of having someone else know what’s going on and trusting them with your heart. (Be prayerful in your decision.) And it means doing what you need to do to get you better, even if your spouse doesn’t want to or isn’t ready.
We’ve been through a lot, on account of me and my past, or rather, I’ve put him through a lot on account of my past. Even after standing on the threshold of divorce on our first anniversary, and our second and almost our third, we are still together, poised to celebrate our seventh year(!) of being married to each other.
Thanks be to God, our counselor, pastor and family, we’re doing much better!
Now, when I wake up in the morning and realize I may have missed my husband saying goodbye, I get up and look around the house for him just to be sure. The times I haven’t missed him, I try to be sure to find him and hug him, kiss him and tell him how much he means to me and that I love him. The times I have missed him, I’ve stopped to pray for him and to let my disappointment linger, just a bit.