Walking out of church toward God.

My husband's Kryptonite

 

It’s January! It’s cold out, and I have a 1 year old whose favorite new word is “No”. So in keeping myself busy and as to not lose my mind, I was cleaning out some drawers this morning. I found this old journal entry. I have to give Michael some major props here. He has really gone after what I talk about in the entry below. His kryptonite holds much much less power over him these days.

July 2013

My husband’s kryptonite is work. Let me rephrase that - “performance” may be a better description. This is problematic but really in a lot of ways I should be thankful. It could be much worse - women, drugs, who knows- video games. It could be anything. In today’s world his kryptonite serves him well. First, what I mean by performance is he is an “all in” kind of guy. And if he chooses to be all in…. He will succeed.

Let’s look at his past. He took up triathlons and a few years later he was asked to be a part of Team USA in the Amatuer WORLD Canmpionships. Next, he decided to get an MBA- He graduated top 10 in his class at Duke. Next he decided to dedicate his time to turning around a struggling small business. Now, it is quite profitable. So what’s the problem??? Why in the world am I complaining? This sounds like the dream- right? Well, it surely does look good on the outside. Very accomplished. I can sense the rolling eyes of wives out there who are thinking, “if you only knew”. BUT, his kryptonite can become way problematic when the month we've just had happens. The pace gets out of control. 16 hour work days after an out of town business trip and maybe 21 straight days of work. In the month of July weekends are a luxury he just doesn't get.

It is not always like this. Seasons! From time to time things ramp up in a major way and I’m a single parent till they slow down again. You know, I’m not all that tired because I am used to the ramp up now. Also, I know this is part of “it”. I shouldn’t logically get angry at him or resent him for trying his best to provide for his family. But logic sometimes flies out the window in these seasons. Time- oh the time. There is so much time with the kids - every minute. And that means lots of time to get lost in my thoughts. Typically I get lost puffing myself up and breaking him down in my mind. These are all the reasons why you are taking advantage of me and failing your children, and we don’t deserve this. It usually goes something like this…..I take care of the homefront 100% so you can come and go as you please. Sometimes it’s 6 PM sometime it is 9. Regardless, you expect us to be sitting here waiting on you with a healthy dinner ready and if we are out doing something and miss you it is my fault because I can’t magically read your mind and know today is going to be an early day for you. You can’t miss your weekly guitar lesson but can't find time to take your wife on a date. Speaking of… You talk a big talk about taking your kids to breakfast once a week and it simply doesn’t happen. This talk in my head goes on and on.

A lot of it is true, but more than that it is so so f*cking harmful!!! It feeds itself. It gets a firm grip on me and grows and then when the long work weekend is over I am ripe and ready for WW III. Meanwhile Michael walks into the scene totally worn out, clueless to the fact that the setting of our home has switched to a war zone and I am ready to attack on the couch with a glass of wine and and plenty of ammunition.  I’ve done better in the past year or so of seeing this yuckiness for what it is and dealing with it in a more healthy way. So, where am I now? Well, we still have a major-ish issue with the work / family balance. Btw, what marriage out there doesn't struggle with this from time to time. But a thought struck me last night mid downward spiral.

My thought: “I wish he’d do just one, just one, nice thoughtful thing for me”

A voice within (call it what you will): “What nice thoughtful something have you done for him recently?”

Me: “But he doesn't deserve it?”
 
The voice: “But you Mrs. Sour Grapes do. He’s killing himself out there for his family.”

Oh the ta-da moment. I am called to love him and treat him well EVEN when he doesn't deserve it.

Oh the ta-da moment. I am called to love him and treat him well EVEN when he doesn't deserve it.

Maybe more so when he doesn’t deserve it than when he does. It’s easy to love an easy person, so very hard to love a hard one. Well, shit. That is no fun! To me this right here is the hardest part of being married. Maybe also one of the most important.  The fact is our husbands WILL fail. They will not always do what we want them to, be who we need them to be, say what we want them to say. They will not always treat us all that well either. BUT, isn’t the same exact true for us? We can’t fill them up all the time either. We are not perfect and will screw up. We will fall short. It is just so much harder for us to see and own our own shortcomings. Don’t we all want our husbands to be patient, kind and loving with us when we don’t deserve it?  Okay this is important!! No one likes the cold shoulder. No one likes to be nagged. Important enough to say again - No one likes to be nagged. Everyone deserves some grace - a second chance. Or in the case of marriages, a 88th or 888th chance.

There is the book I read ages ago called Redeeming Love. In it the main character, a women, screws up like over and over and over again. It is a tad frustrating to read. A lent the book to a friend who stopped reading it half way through, and I get that. The other main character, a man who personifies God, forgives her time and time again. You read the book and want to scream at him, “Wise up dude. She’s a loser. She simply can not get itright.

There it is folks- marriage! A lifetime of living with someone who fails (and being someone who fails) and loving and being loved through it. It may very well be the hardest challenge we face.

Don’t take her back again”. So…..clearly we are all that women. We screw up over and over again and if you are Christian you can believe that each and every time Jesus says, “It’s okay. I love you anyway”. There it is folks- marriage! A lifetime of living with someone who fails (and being someone who fails) and loving and being loved through it. It may very well be the hardest challenge we face. Case and point, not too many married people out there who publically share what a delightful picnic their spouse is.

So now, back to my current dilemma, I have this great new outlook on my marriage and my husband and what a sinner I am and the grace I need to dish out and I snuggle up in the bed with the covers because Michael is still at work at 10 PM, and I go to sleep.Next morning (today), I wake up and Michael has left for work already. I get the kids dresses and we go to church. Crazy! The church message this Sunday ties perfectly into this situation. I had the insight before I even went to church- score one for me! Basically the one liner from church was, “When people screw up, deal with them gently”. Now I am feeling really good. After church I spend the day engaging with my children. I send Michael a sweet text for no reason. I am thinking I am such a good mom and wife I can’t even stand it. Michael comes home that night. Hello kids. Sweet kiss on the cheek for the wife and oh no…. It all rushes back. I have been so damn ON as a single mom the last few weeks, and I am totally worn out. Did I mention it is July in Georgia? It is 100 degrees out and I am due with baby #3 in 4 weeks. Rush of emotion, and I go from jolly to pissed in T minus 5 seconds. The set change from white picket fence to ditches, barbed wire and explosives was record quick this time.

Fact is…. I can’t fake it!!! I can listen to a good church message or some great music and get centered but the truth is I simply can’t fake how I feel. If I don’t address this then I am just burying it for another day, another opportunity for WW III. And that’s when I came to the bedroom and started journaling this. Also, that is when I focused on another part of today’s church message, “Deal with them gently”. Don’t be a doormat but also don’t be a bulldozer. Deal with the situation gently. Exactly how I would want him to deal with me if I had screwed up. Would I want him to nag me, guilt me, ignore me? So, that is what I am going to do. We will see how it goes.

Three Questions

1- What is your kryptonite? Go ahead try and think about it for a few minutes. Guess what? Chances are you can’t clearly see it. We can’t clearly see our own dysfunction because we are too close to it. This is soooo true. We can clearly see how everyone else is screwed up, but not yourself! News flash…. You are not God’s gift to the world. You have issues too and even if you know that, you can not see them to the extent that the rest of the world can. This should be helpful in understanding your spouse. He/she is not out to get you, ruin your life and make you miserable. He can’t see himself and his baggage clearly.

2- How do you react to kryptonite? Do you go silent, sweep it under the rug, use guilt, brew and then explode.

3- How could you “deal gently” with your spouse’s kryptonite