I felt the urge, that automatic reaction to conflict that I get to walk away from it… or maybe even run. But, this time was different, and I didn’t run away. I never want to run away from such things again when staying is so much more important.
We (my ex-husband and I) were sitting with our pastor/ counselor sharing our views on what we like about each other, and then about what we want for our marriage. Who knew that something meant to be so positive and reinforcing of our journey towards a strong reconciliation would turn the other way? My answers so far have been very positive and reinforcing. Hopeful and optimistic even. Imagine my hurt when his reactions to them took a spin down a dark path that has been a little frightening.
Short background on our mangled marriage and divorce: He was an angry alcoholic in spite of being the best dad and husband he knew how to be. I was an isolator, dealing with depression and inadequacy. We lost trust and friendship at the first major crossroads we encountered. Of course, with 23 years of marriage, and over half of it in disarray, there is more to the story, but this is the base of the trouble.
Anyway, back to the meeting – my radar went off when he starts by explaining that he is waiting for me to be fixed. Like I am the only one broken? Like I am still too broken to deal with? I am fearful of asking for more clarification on his interpretation…but eventually I will have to do so. And, I vow to sit still and see the whole discussion through.
One of our big differences is that he is a rambler…. he can talk to anyone about anything. And, if it is something on his mind he will tell the story by not only beating around the bush awhile, but by beating around the whole neighborhood. Sometimes this trait is entertaining, sometimes it can be time consuming, and yet other times it can be downright frustrating. It is however, enlightening in it’s lengthiness. In direct contrast to his rambling, I am a thinker, quiet and reflective. I analyze and worry too much about what comes out of my mouth because I seem to stumble over my own spoken words.
The meeting was a big example of this difference – he rambled on and on about our divorce mediation in answer to my declaration that my hope for our marriage (marriage to be) is that it be forever. I thought that my word, wish, plan, hope would be met with welcome, maybe even a little joy. I did not see the fork in the road that took him down that dark path complete with the dark and ugly memories. His rambling broke into tears and emotions, with us all reliving the hurt and anger of that dark memory. I felt my body react, my feet got itchy, the spark of adrenaline to flee the scene… and I admit I really thought about it for a good moment or two. Then I experienced a little mini miracle.
I sat still. I endured the pain and the memory as well as the guilt it was meant to inflict. Finally I was encouraged to respond or counter with my own version. I did not deny his version, rather I gave the history that had brought me to that end. The desperation and hurts and anger that drove us there. And then the miracle came:we were able to admit forgiveness and a vow to learn and overcome the dark and ugly stuff.
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
That is why we were in that room meeting with a Christian counselor, known for his ability to promote healing in broken marriages and relationships with God’s help. That is why I did not run away and will not run away. Wounds will not ever heal if the infection beneath the scab is left untended.
” Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” Hebrews 12:15
So, another week down, many more to go. I thank God for the courage, wisdom, and humility to press on – together and towards Him. And to not run away ever again.
In the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, AMEN!