Wrecked. Alone. Ashamed. Foolish. This is how I was feeling the other night. I try not to blog much about within my marriage, because those are, well, personal. We do have conflict and strife at times (like everyone does), and this past week was fairly eye-opening to me.
One evening last week, I sat down with Gil to talk about an issue that had been bothering me. It was something we had discussed previously, but I did not feel like he had been working towards making things better, and as time went on, I found myself growing bitter about it. Didn't he care? Didn't he see this was hurting me? I sat down with Gil to have a heart-to-heart talk, and he promised to work on the issue, although he still thought I was over-thinking things. It seems like a typical, boring, married-people discussion, right?
After we went to bed, everything changed. I couldn't sleep, and my mind was filled with doubts and anxieties. Did Gil really care? Had I screwed up our relationship? What if this issue was never resolved and we had to live with it for the next few decades? I oscillated between anger that Gil didn't seem to care about my feelings, and regret that I had brought this up in the first place. I felt like a terrible, unloving wife. Despite the anger and regret, though, my overwhelming feeling was shame. I was embarrased that I been so vulnerable in the first place. I was ashamed that I could not overcome my emotions. To top it off, I was ashamed of my shame, because I should have felt free to be vulnerable with my husband. The words that kept flashing through my mind were, “I feel naked and ashamed.”
You see, that morning I had attended a Bible study where we discussed Genesis 3. Although I've probably read that chapter a thousand times, being married brings it to life in a different way. When I woke up after that awful night of second-guessing my actions, I realized that Genesis 3 holds some answers for me right now. Firstly, that this struggle is normal. Shame is was one of the first consequences of sin: Adam and Eve were suddenly embarassed of being naked, even though they were married and one flesh (not to mention they were the only people around). To me, this means that my feelings of discomfort with being (emotionally) exposed to my husband are deeply rooted, and will take time and prayer to get over. Moreover, verse 16 pretty much guarantees that conflict will happen in a marriage, so if Gil and I have trouble resolving an issue, it's not because there is something wrong with us personally. It seems strange, but the idea that marital conflict is a guarantee actually gave me a lot of comfort, if only because it reminded me that we are normal and not failures at marriage this early in the game. On the other hand, Genesis 3 also holds the promise of redemption. Jesus came and He allows us to break free of the patterns of sin, so that even though I can be sure we will always have conflict, I can also trust that as we grow our characters in faith, we will be growing in our abilities to respond to each other with love and grace.
And our issue? We're still working at it. We spoke again over the weekend, and I apologized for coming on a bit too strong. Gil has also been doing his part to make things better. And I am reminded that there is always hope in Christ, for our marriage and for all other things too!