I recently had a big fight with my husband, or is that an argument? I don’t know. The fact is that he made a very hurtful comment in front of my relatives last week. We were having a family reunion and he started talking about my sister in law in a way that pretty much showed us that he “really liked her”. So I made the mistake of participating in a conversation that was not my business, or was it?
My husband made very clear that between her and I there was a huge gap in personality and performance as wives and I don’t mean it in a good way for me. I didn’t say a thing. After all, who wants to ruin a great family reunion? Also, anything I could say would be used against me, since this was supposed to be “a man’s joke.”
The next day my husband came to me, bragging about his good behavior at the party, at which I replied, “well you almost behaved perfectly”. He wanted to know how it was not 100% perfect. I remind him of his “funny comment” about my sister in law and how humiliated he left me after his unconsidered answer. He was surprised, open mouth and all. He couldn’t believe he said something mean to me. He didn’t even remember the comment that was bothering me so much. Tears came out from my eyes, something that I hate, by the way! I ran into the bathroom trying to stop them all at once.
I have to say that it didn’t work. The feeling of embarrassment, humiliation and lack of appreciation came to me like a great river dragging everything in its path, huge rocks included. Now we were in a different mindset, or at least I was. Who he thought he was, he was not that important to treat me like that! I was a great wife who only cared for him and my children with all my heart, but for him? He didn’t give a… well a dime about all I had done for him in the past.
Revenge is sweet, maybe too sweet. Being a Christian, (I have omitted the word “mature” here) my choices weren’t many. There were things like forgiveness, grace, understanding that everyone, including me, makes mistakes, empathy, honoring God. Wow! Hundreds of reasons why not to revenge, but this one time, just this one time I was not willing to buy into it. I talked to Christ seriously about it and gave him every reason I had to revenge. I imagine he was just listening to me patiently and like in Jonah’s story he replied, “Is the right thing being so angry?” But I wouldn’t surrender, not I, not this time.
After two days of hurtful recriminations from my part, many I’m sorries, and lots of tears I realized two things. 1) Even if I think I am doing great as a wife, this may not be the way my husband perceives it, or said in another way: I can be the best wife in the world but that doesn’t mean I will be appreciated. 2) Men are ritual human beings. They get used to the same routines every day, they want life as they know it, and if life changes, they get trapped in a world of uncertainty and despair, which for me was my turning point. Let me tell you how it happened.
During my worst moments, when I recalled the scene over and over again, yes, we women do that; I started feeling trapped myself. I wanted to breathe; to be alone; to be away from him and even from my children. So I took every opportunity to escape away. Once during the visit to the dentist, while he was waiting for them I just… disappeared! I went out from the office and start walking, just because I needed to recover my sanity, my happiness and my beaten self-esteem. A few minutes later, there he was, looking for me with a fearful look in his eyes. Next day as I saw this kind of worked, I disappeared again before he got home. I invited my children to a bike ride, just in time for him to come home. I wanted to show him that I didn’t need him to have fun or do things or be… you know... valuable.
When the kids and I returned, about one hour later, there he was with the same despaired look in his face. He even offered me to help me to store my bike. I asked him if he was hungry, if he wanted something to eat, to which he replied, No, I am not hungry, I don’t care about food, who cares about food when we are fighting each other? I have to tell you, I’ve never seen him this despaired. Right then and there the war was over, I was ready to forgive and extend to him what the Most High has extended to me so many times.
Grace! That is what this story is about. GRACE with big bold capital letters: something impossible for us to do if it weren’t for the Redeemer who lives in us. Grace is what I choose, yesterday, today and in the future. Because grace is what lets us see that behind all masks and appearances our husbands have a heart. A heart that suffers and feels lost when the ground underneath their feet shakes because of uncertainty. Grace is also what I have been granted by my father after all my stubbornness and lack of maturity.
And Grace, that heavenly Grace is all you need to win your battles as well.
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