Last night my husband and I celebrated 35 years of marriage. While we sat in a romantic restaurant [and by the way, the picture above is not where we were, just the pic I wanted to share] steeling kisses and displaying over-the-top googly eyes and affection it was a huge difference from how the day had started. As the sun awakened I had opened my eyes to feelings of deep hurt and misunderstanding.
And it was our 35th wedding anniversary!
Prayer was my first step. I knew if I broached talking about my feelings I risked ruining our day, and if I didn’t, I knew I’d be stuffing resentment.
I decided to dive in and divulge my hurts.
Here’s my story…
We had celebrated my birthday the night before because I had been out of town on my birthday. Mike had asked me what I wanted. I spelled it out. I spelled it out y’all, ALL of my requests. All I wanted was a night with my family filled with take-out, balloons, candles, birthday cake, and no one was allowed to hog time with my grandson but me. All went well there.
The only gift I asked for was a new summer dress. That’s it. Simple. A gift card would have sufficed.
He bought me a bread machine.
Can you relate to this?
You may be thinking, “I’d love a bread machine.” Or “That’s hugely self-centered.” Or, “At least he got you a birthday gift.” And yes, that is all true. But for me, I felt like he hadn’t listened to me. I felt like he didn’t care enough to follow through with my request. I felt like I wasn’t important to him.
Have you ever noticed that when feelings get involved it’s hard to bring logic to the table?
I didn’t understand. I couldn’t process the gift. I couldn’t process the hurt.
I risked destroying our day and dove in and shared my feelings with him. He listened. And listened. He explained what he had been thinking, we exchanged apologies, and guess what happened?
I felt “in love” again.
Then, Mike said, “Can I give you your anniversary gift now?” What? We were not exchanging anniversary gifts.
He bought me not one, not two, but SEVEN dresses!
I. Felt. Like. A. Huge. Jerk.
Marriage is hard y’all!
We can never stop working on it. We always have to work through the pain it brings and forge through. I’ve often been asked, “How do I forgive a hurt?” And, “What do I do with anger?”
Let’s talk about anger…
Anger becomes a choice usually after we’ve been hurt. When we allow ourselves to be angry we bypass feeling pain and entertain being mad. Jumping right to fuming doesn’t allow us to make friends with our painful emotions. If we allow ourselves to feel the hurt, then, we can decide what to do with it. Sometimes we can work through the hurt on our own. Having a fake conversation or writing a letter we will “delete” right after can sometimes take away the hurt. But sometimes the hurt bottles up settling in our gut, chopping away at our insides. That’s when we need to be brave and talk with our loved one in a kind and respectful manner about the hurt we are feeling.
Once we are heard and understood forgiveness is easy. And please don’t forget the most important ingredient, which is beginning with prayer.
When we commit to working through all pain and hurts with a willingness to talk through misunderstandings your marriage will forge into a beautiful masterpiece.
Never stop working at making your marriage the best it can be.
Never give up.
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