If there’s one thing I’ve learned from God through the years, He loves paradoxes.
But God’s love of paradox is never more obvious than in the way He wants us to love. You know …
I must admit that sometimes I forget one of the golden rules of a counselor—you can’t and shouldn’t try to change another person. When I forget this principle, I end up trying to hold on to my life by “playing God” in the life of my spouse.
He does something that I perceive to be hurtful. (Sometimes I’m right about how hurtful it is, and sometimes I’m wrong, and sometimes it’s a mixture of both! Often, very confusing!)
I feel hurt and want to withdraw.
Sometimes this withdrawal can be good, if I use it to pray and get my heart right and my mind aligned with God’s perspective. But there are times when I use it to lick my wounds—or even worse, lick my perceived wounds.
Now, let me be clear. I’m not talking about major boundary violations here. If my husband were abusing me, then I would need to take steps to protect myself by removing myself from the situation, setting boundaries and seeking guidance and help.
But when it’s a minor infraction, where he’s being critical or giving me the dreaded “tone,” then I need to choose a different “tack.”
Because, honestly, what I’m doing when I withdraw out of anger is punishing my husband for not giving me the respect or whatever I want from him. (To be clear, I don’t consider it punishing in the moment—more like teaching. But who am I kidding?)
It’s my skewed attempt to show him that his behavior is not acceptable. When I’m really on a roll, I try to justify my actions, believing that he needs to feel my pain. Basically, I’m letting my hurt determine the way I relate to him so that he won’t want to hurt me like.this.ever.again.sigh!
As Dr. Phil might say, “How’s that workin’ for ya?”
The truth is … it’s doing the very opposite of motivating him!
This is where the paradox of God comes in. God commands us to
“… always protect, always trust, always hope …”* in the ones we LOVE.
Therefore, I must hope for the best in my husband, instead of believing the worst about him—even when he seems to be acting in the worst possible way!
I die to my self-protective and self-righteous maneuvering and sacrifice control of my husband to God. When I do that very paradoxical yielding by placing my faith in my God and my husband, I find exactly what I desire growing in my husband’s heart, attitude and life.
So my day to day challenge is to …
photo credit by F0t0Synth (Flickr)