For practically our entire marriage my mister has had this uncanny ability to divert a fight, err, I mean carefully constructed conversation, into a peaceably diffused interaction with 3 little words. I. Love. You. For years I thought this was his way of
- being cute (so cute)
- avoiding the issue
- avoid losing a battle because Mama is always right (hello pride)
- being apathetic
For the past year or so I’ve been letting him know that “I’ve figured him out”. That he’s really just trying to diffuse and de-escalate when I’m being a tough cookie.
Argh—-but really a little giggle escapes my lips and the corner of my mouth turns up in delight. He’s cute! And now I’ve figured out that he’s just really being cute. No. 2-4 above don’t apply.
Except I’m Wrong. None of them apply to the “why” of the I Love You statement. (but I want to be clear, he’s very cute)
What is it then? Why does he say I Love You when things (I) start to get opinionated?
He’s figured out that there’s no reason to win. No reason to prove anyone wrong. No reason for keeping records of rights or wrongs. He knows that anything he says to engage the conversation will do nothing but be the oxygen to my fire. Oh, he’s so smart. He’s not apathetic. He’s the exact opposite. He truly sees me as his soul mate. Connected to the core.There can’t be a winner and a loser in a relationship that’s honoring.
Can You Say, “I’m Sorry, I Was Wrong.”?
He sacrifices his opinion and ‘fire’ because he knows better. So much better! And I’d bet he’s been praying for me for well over a decade that my heart would not beat to win; to prove itself; to get the last word. We’ve talked about how I can now say “I’m sorry. I was wrong” which for probably the first 8-10 years of our marriage was virtually impossible for me. And he smiles, never saying anything negative, and sharing that he’s noticed and he’s proud. He’s figured it out long ago. I’m betting that if he shared his wisdom with me years ago though, I’d probably have some great opinion as to why I was merely expressing an opinion and had no desire to win or prove anything to anyone. So he prayed me though it.
What Am I Learning?
God is showing me that I owe no man nothing other than love (Romans 13:8). Complaining, lecturing, winning, getting the last word in a relationship,marriage or as a mother is the bondage that will keep me separate from contentment. It will keep everyone in our home separate from me. They will think mom was overwhelmed and suffered because of the burdens she carried and that she was sure to complain about all of them. No Way. Over the course of this year I have learned so much about myself. Oh, I always hoped the older and wiser thing was true (here’s to cliches!). I’m figuring it out and even though I’ve been married for about 15 years and have 4 kids ranging from 9.5 to 1 year old, it’s not to late to ‘figure it out new’. To start changing bad behaviors and walking towards contentment.
Figuring It Out New
(Chapter title of #10 in Desperate, hope for the mom who needs to breathe)
“Figuring it out new” applies to all things- not just a mom who needs to breathe. It’s about naming what’s been poorly done in the past and releasing it; then claiming a new start and perspective. Do you find yourself screaming at the kids? complaining that XYZ is not done correctly again? lamenting about the tough times that would go away if only ___happened? wishing your mister would shape up so you could finally be happy together? hoping that you could get more things done in the day and then life would be perfect? The list is endless and it applies to everyone out there. Let’s not wash away what’s happening with our lives though. Instead, let’s have a heart change. Learn from what we have done and don’t want to repeat. Come up with a strategy on how to figure it out new. Sally Clarkson gives a 3 step strategy to figuring it out new:
- love. “if you love well, you will influence your *children, and your love will cover over many inadequacies”. pg 122 *Substitute the word ‘children’ for boyfriend, husband, co-worker…. it all applies.
- lay down your life. I believe the author’s intent is that you give up yourself and your selfishness (my story with my mister is the example that speaks to me here. he is so loving, so selfless when it comes to me. sigh 🙂 )
- give up your expectations for your own life and instead give to the wants of our family. In no way does this mean you give up your own will to be miserable. It’s referring to servant leadership and sacrificial love. We are not seeking to fulfill our own needs but are looking to the ultimate good of the family. (pg 122)
And I will add a #4.
4. pray. Pray through the issue at hand and pray for the newness that you seek. What could it hurt?
Are you seeking something new? Or is something already happening 😉
Join me next week for ch. 11. All the Voices That Influence Us
Now you know what I want?! Your thoughts! This conversation was inspired by the book Desperate. If you’re reading it, comment below so we can have a conversation or just share our hearts. I covet your comments as I work hard to share a bit of myself and make myself vulnerable. If you’re not reading the book please feel free to comment too! My hope for Living Out Loud is that we can share a bit of ourselves as we grow to be better people.