How many times have I told one of my children, “Worry about yourself please. You have enough of your own responsibilities to take care of before you can worry about someone else or tattle on them”
Well I am living that bit of advice out myself. Living out those words through my actions and reactions with my husband the last few weeks. He made a comment the other day, as we dealt with a trigger and a honest conversation following it, “…I’m just a sh#*ty person…”. And I’ll be honest, I could have gone off on him, listed fault after fault and made him feel just like a “sh#*ty” person. Truth be told I don’t think he is one. What he did was “sh#*ty” and some of his choices were “sh#*ty” , but he inherently is not, and I told him that. It was at that moment in our conversation that I realized I have made another choice in this path of recovery.
I am NOT responsible for fixing my husband and whatever is going on in his head and heart.
And I am proud of myself for realizing that, believing that and acting that out.
He is struggling lately, telling me he is stressed trying to make sure he’s doing all the right things since ending his affair and inappropriate relationships. Making sure I feel loved and see that he’s changed. I was touched and glad to hear him say that, I’ll admit it. I have needed to know he’s still seeing this time in our lives as recovery and rebuilding. This is huge and our future depends on both of us taking this seriously and doing all we both can to keep working through internal stuff. I told him if he is concerned he’s not doing enough, saying enough, proving (whatever it is) enough then maybe he should just do more and change his choice without me having to agree with his assessment and validate a need for more change. (That was HUGE for me by the way-another moment of the new stronger, out spoken, confident me shining through) In times past I would have done all I could when he said something like that to build him up, make him feel he was over reacting to feeling like a “sh#*ty” person. I would have excused away his comment. But I didn’t do that this time. Why? For 2 really big reasons.
1: He needs to take responsibility for the mess he has caused and that means facing the humbling self-reflection and internal evaluation of it all.
2: I can’t be responsible for fixing him, I can only be responsible for fixing me and facing my own self-reflection and internal evaluation.
I am sorry he is hurting and stressed right now,I truly am. Despite all that has happened I do not want him to be hurting, I love him, but the reality is we are going to hurt through this process. I can NOT be responsible for making all his stuff my stuff though. I can offer a strong quiet presence and listen to him vent about the stress. Offer a hug and let him know I am here through it all. I can offer constructive concerns. I can ask the difficult accountability questions of him but I can NOT do his work for him. He has to live with the stress, pain, discomfort if need be. There is no other side of this if he doesn’t.
Even our own savior called out to his Father
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42
But in order for God’s plan to be fulfilled even His own son had to suffer and walk through the process. We are told
“For each will have to bear his own load. ” Galatians 6:5
And my husband has to bear his. I can’t take away the stress or the discomfort, it would not be fair to him, me, our marriage and either one of our testimonies once we are truly on the other side of this if I did. I will admit on a selfish side I feel some comfort in knowing he is being convicted and has the stress he does. It means he is invested in this, us, his own change. I try not to let the human side of me find any joy in his struggle, that seems so harsh and mean but I am being honest here, I could if I let myself. Those moments when I catch the petty side of me I am reminded
“…God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2Timothy 1:7
If I gave into my human nature I could unleash on my husband with a whole long list of ways he can change, improve, “fix” himself. But what would that do other than build resentment? I don’t want that. Resentment is a nasty evil cancer to any relationship. So I have a choice on how I handle bringing attention to aspects I wish for him to change. Behind that choice is to let go his his healing. I can not heal him or fix him. He has to do this on his on his “own” and rely of his own faith and relationship with our God.
I will have any conversation he wants to have. Heck I bring a lot of them up myself, and come to him when I have a valid concern, but I address it with him in love. And I never ever go at him while angry or when I know I won’t be letting God go before anything I say. I feel blessed that he wants to do the work. On those rough days when I know I could go off on him and just berate him about all the mess ups I still see and feel I have to take a deep breath and remind myself of the choice I have made. His healing and his changes are not my responsibility. I have put it in the hands of God. All I can do is fix me and in return be honest and upfront with him about where I am and what I feel I need. To engage my husband and our marriage in this journey of healing.
Behind my choice to let go of his healing has been a liberation to take care of myself first. This choice has allowed a healthier, stronger, more self-assured me to come before my God and husband with respect, love and faith. Letting his healing be his responsibility in return blesses us both and brings us even closer to making his infidelity be a part of our history not the demon of our future.