A couple of months ago, I mentioned one of the things that being a new mom has exacerbated in me (in a bad way) was/is my tendency to be a "dripping faucet" toward DW. I've been working on that but, with my recent post on us visiting our Safe Zone (that careful place where we get to speak freely and candidly with one another about our happiness factor), I thought it might be a good time to share another thing I'm having to work on as a wife.
More? you might be thinking...ha!
I'm not sharing to say, oh, I'm this horrible person and definitely not to say, oh look at me, I'm this good person...I am firmly a little of both at times and more often neither. ;-) I guess I find myself wanting to share these personal details (with DW's permission, of course) because surely other women deal with these feelings, too. This issue, I'm realizing, has less to do with motherhood and more to do with womanhood in general, I think...but I will admit it's something that I've truly have to fight against now more so since I've been a mom.
Anyway, enough stalling...one of DW's well-received-but-a-little-painful statements the other day (about things that I can work on) is the fact that I have the memory of an elephant. And while having a great memory has its benefits, it's also somewhat of a curse when it comes to martial conflict. The man doesn't stand a chance sometimes against the things I manage to pull from the vault that is my brain...well, five years ago, you said blah blah blah...and he will look at me incredulously sometimes and say something along the lines of...you know that sentence started with "well, five years ago" right?"
Right. Good point. Five years ago is a long time. Why do I do that? Why in the world do I store up a record of perceived wrongs against someone I love over all others and bring them out as ammo sometimes? In my defense, I don't remember these things simply to be mean...its just when something hurts or wounds me, I often fail in really letting it go.
But shall I go a step further? God is really starting to show me some surprising things (for me) about pride. I'm starting to understand that pride isn't just about being too proud of yourself or being egotistical...pride, I'm realizing, can also occur when you simply think about yourself too much. Period. Even insecurity - because it draws the focus back to yourself - is a form of pride. Egocentric is just as bad as being egotistical in a way.
In my case, my insecure feelings as a person and regarding my ability to be a good wife result in this unhealthiness I need to address in our marriage and this is my first step...acknowledging it.
If DW says he doesn't like X about the way I handle something or he doesn't like the way I say something or the look on my face (I can, admittedly, be a sass)...he might as well have said, "I don't like you."
I know this is untrue. I know it is a fear-based, pride-based reaction. But I don't want my husband to be disappointed in me...and sometimes I try to convince him why he shouldn't be disappointed rather than hearing his heart and trying to see where he is coming from. I've been an UN-safe place for him in this way and that is not what marriage should be. He shouldn't have to worry that if he says something I'll write it down in the "history" books and never let go.
Specifically pertaining to motherhood, I've recognized another area that fits in with this "historical" issue I've got. I just recognized in recent months that I have a mental list I keep and I didn't really know I was doing it. A record, if you will. I've done this and this and that...plus this and this...and that...and handled this for LC and that for LC...and...and...and...
...and in my mind I start to feel good about myself. It's like I'm trying to rack up "points" or something. The bad part comes in when I allow this to take a negative mental turn and I start tallying up all the things that I've done today or the day before or the day before and my list gets really long (in my mind) and DW's list is "shorter". It's then that my selfish (so selfish) pride kicks in. And God help him if he doesn't notice and say something. ;-)
No, seriously. God help him.
So I realized the other night, I don't want to have just a "Safe Zone" in our marriage every now and then when things feel out of sorts. I want our marriage to be an entirely "Safe Place". The world puts this unspoken (and spoken) pressure on people to perform and succeed and be better than the next person. The world says life has to be fair. But what I hope for us going forward, is that I learn how to become a woman who offers DW grace from all of that. I want to stop trying to make sure things feel "fair" and just do the things I do because they make his (and our) life better rather than this being a "points" system.
I feel like I should be taking a lesson from "history" itself: it is possible to win the battle(s) but lose the war.
Lord, help me stop being "historical". Help me to toss the list and not do things simply to earn bragging rights. Help me to do my tasks with a generous heart. Help me to serve his needs simply because I love him and not because of any merit or favor I might earn. Forgive me for being unsafe and unloving. Father, teach me how not to be "fair" in a world where we are taught that things should be fair!