Sometimes I get frustrated with Lloyd because he keeps a lot inside. A third of that is that he's an introvert by nature. Another 33% of it is that he is an only child and the majority of his "conversations" in life are between the characters in the books he reads. The remaining half is that he's just a man--a man who believes it is his sacred duty to "protect" his wife from all hardship and pain. So, inevitably, he doesn't communicate to me the way I would like him to and that results in frustration and my feelings getting hurt at times. Now, if you know me at all, you know I'm a sensitive soul. It isn't necessarily the hardest thing in the world to wound me emotionally. I own that. (Don't, however, label me as "moody" because I view that as a negative word tactless people throw out to absolve themselves of wrongdoing rather than seeking forgiveness for their lack of sensitivity.) However, the good thing about me is that I am a communicator. If my feelings are injured, and I care enough about the other person to even bother, I will tell him what I'm feeling and we can talk things out. Another good thing about me is that I'm very empathetic and I don't hold grudges very well. Once I start talking with said person, I usually come to understand why he said X thing and my empathy kicks in until I'm no longer hurt. I now UNDERSTAND and that's usually all it takes (although, admittedly, a sincere apology always helps speed the enlightenment and healing.)
Over the last couple of days Lloyd and I have had a few "misunderstandings". A large part of it is probably due to my having cabin fever (couped up inside due to icy roads and poor weather conditions). Another part is likely a result of the pressure of his job right now. Tonight came the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back" , but thankfully we were able to take some time to sit down and talk things out.
I'm so blessed to have a husband who cares about communication. Lloyd was married before. He explains that he and his former wife had very poor communication and that was part of their marital problems. He vowed that if he ever fell in love again, before deciding to remarry, he would be sure that the object of his affection would be a good communicator. He knew he wasn't inherently the best at communicating, but recognized the importance of it in relationships, especially marriage. During our whirlwind courtship (we met and were married within the course of 8 months--and would've married sooner had it been possible), situations arose that were challenging. He said he knew he loved me the first time one such situation arose and we worked through it together honestly and openly. We're on our 7th year of marriage now and we still try to always maintain that standard in resolving conflicts or other challenges. We're not perfect, but we try.
I intermittently follow a psychologist online, Dr. Brene Brown, PhD. I have a couple of her books and the things she talks about really make sense to me. The quote of the week on her blog is by C.S. Lewis and couldn't be more applicable to what I am feeling this weekend in my relationship with my husband. It is equally valuable for me to remember in all of life's relationships.
I grew up in a family where I felt that being openly loving, vulnerable, and honest were wrong. When I was being myself, inevitably, it caused problems. Ergo, throughout the course of my adult life, I've tried unsuccessfully over and over to close my heart so it wouldn't get hurt. But, because of who I was born to be, I've yet to be fully able to accomplish the task.
|Morgan Weistling - The Promise|
Now, I'm trying to learn that for me, success is about being vulnerable--about loving fully and freely, in spite of the pain that inevitably accompanies such love. It hurts so much at times and I cry bigger crocodile tears than anyone I know. But, I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that this is a good thing. It's good to be who I am. Being "sensitive" is ok. It's better than ok. Being sensitive and vulnerable, in my mind anyway, means that I'm attempting to be more Christlike. We know from The Bible that Christ was perfect in his love for others (John 15:3). We also know from the book of Isaiah, that he has felt our pain and borne our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4). If we are to emulate Christ and live his example, then shouldn't we, too, be willing to open our hearts, even if it means that at times we will experience pain by so doing? I think it does.
|Hand in Hand - Greg Olsen|
When feelings are hurt or I feel alone or unloved, I'm going to try to remember that this is okay. It's part of being a loving and vulnerable being--even part of trying to follow the Savior's example. I shouldn't fear the pain that inexorably will at times accompany being a loving and vulnerable person. Perfect love casteth out fear (1 John 4:18). If I continue to try to live openly with my whole heart , then my fear of being hurt should diminish. Sadness and sorrow should turn to joy. Who wants their heart in a casket anyway?