Yesterday, I chose to be stubborn.
I’ve been feeling hurt and sad and alone and abandoned and raw and indignant and helpless. (Need me to add any more adjectives? I’m guessing you have a sense of how I’ve been feeling.) This season I’m in with my relationship to my wife seems to spin from one extreme to the other at a rapid tempo. Sometimes I am flooded with hope and confidence and refuse to back down from my faith that God is healing us both and drawing us – in His time – back together.
Other times, I feel as though that confidence is completely unfounded. As though no amount of patience or understanding will have even the hint of a positive impact on my wife’s proclaimed lack of love for me and, after all, what’s the point in even trying to believe that the path we’re on ends anywhere other than divorce?
Yesterday, I had a choice to either help my wife prepare for her jewelry open house or stubbornly stay out of it and let her toil alone. I chose to be stubborn. I chose to turn away and drink my tea and pretty much ignore what she was doing. I think it’s the first time I’ve done that, even since she moved out. I’m usually her faithful assistant, packing out all of the jewelry cases, loading them in to the room where she’s having her open house, and spending nearly an hour carefully laying out and organizing each piece so it’s ready to be perused by potential customers.
Not yesterday, though.
There was, honestly, some satisfaction in letting her do it herself. Sort of that “Let her see how much I do for her! Then she’ll miss me and think twice about abandoning me!” There was also some guilt in shirking my role as a faithful helper to my wife. It is a complicated mess of feelings and emotions.
In the end, though, I think I chose incorrectly. I chose my response out of hurt and disappointment. Out of the feelings I have after being abandoned by the woman I imagined would always be there for me. I chose my response after considering the record of her wrongs against me.
That’s the problem. Love keeps no record of wrong. Period.
I have another choice today. My wife is having a recital with her voice lesson students. As with most of the things my wife does, I have a traditional role. I’m the equipment carrier, the sound technician, the video recorder, and the morale supporter. In honesty, I don’t feel like being any of those things today. The same hurt and disappointment I mentioned at the beginning of this post is still pretty much intact today. I’m thinking now, though, that my choice must be based on love – on God’s perfect love – and not on the record of wrongs that my nature wants to maintain.
Today, I’m going to make my best effort not to be stubborn.
Today, I’m going to try and show mercy.