Over the past two weeks, Edric and I have been having a little more friction than usual, especially compared to the weeks following my surgery, when he was super attentive and sweet, and I was meek and gentle (I didn’t have a choice, I was too weak to be combative, and too appreciative of his care to see him as an enemy!)
So recently, I asked him, “Why have you been ‘mean’ to me?” I meant this in the sense that he seemed to be more irritated and impatient towards me. His response was, “Well, you have also gone back to your ‘opinionated’ self.”
I actually laughed when he said this because it was true. I had been challenging him more and less respectful, as well less appreciative. However, during our ride to church yesterday, as we dealt with another episode where he corrected me for several things that he felt like I had fallen short in — time management, being on top of the kids’ schedules — I teared and expressed to him something like, “Can you please be easy on me and more understanding? This is not a normal season in my life.”
I didn’t want to use breastfeeding a sixth child, lack of sleep, recovering from major surgery, digestive issues, dealing with early menopause, and feelings of sadness and fear about my health as excuses, but I kind of felt like they were valid enough to disrupt normalcy, orderliness, and efficiency in my life. I wished he would consider the season I was in, and not think that looking okay on the outside meant that I was totally okay on the inside.
Instead of getting into a conflict with him over this, I prayed to the Lord that he be the one to convict him, and he did. Initially, Edric and I sat quietly beside one other at church, but at some point during the service, he leaned over and motioned for me to come close to him. At first I shook my head to reject his attempts at reconciliation because I wanted some space. However, he insisted, and whispered into my ear, “I will always take care of you.”
Bingo! That was all I needed to hear– reassurance. Later on in the day, we got to talk some more. I listened to him. He listened to me. All was well again.
In marriage, you have to communicate. You have to be honest with one another when there is hurt. You don’t have to do it in a disrespectful way, but you need to be able to say what’s on your heart. If you don’t do this, the resentment builds up and you begin to pull away from one another. You begin to look to other outlets, people, and pursuits to fill what is missing in your own relationship, and to avoid conflict.
Edric and I have dealt with many moments of conflict through the years, mostly revolving around our personality differences. I can be super irritating to him. And there are things about him that irk me. However, we are committed to making our marriage work, and that means having difficult conversations when there is frustration. It means seeking to understand where the other is coming from, and laying aside self-centeredness and pride.
Edric and I are currently dealing with the consequences of surgery on my body, questions about direction and God’s will for us, and the addition of a sixth baby. It’s not the easiest time, but we are enjoying a depth to our marriage that this point in time encourages us to have, to love each other and to stick together through it all.
This year we will celebrate 18 years of marriage. One thing that has made a significant difference is to keep having honest conversations — to keep talking, to keep connecting with one another, to keep resolving conflicts as they come. In the Lord and with the Lord, issues can be fixed and hurts can be healed.