I learned something about my marriage today that I didn’t expect to and since the timing is right, it’s going to be something I will work hard at in 2011. What I learned is this: I lean heavy on thinking my role as Joe’s wife is to be his instructor, Professor emeritus, if you will, when what he needs more often is a safe place to land.
That sentence hit me right between the eyes.
I am guilty of leading questions, mining for “right” answers, answers that will satisfy my preconceived notions, answers that tell me I’ve been right, my way is the right way, that he now agrees with me and bows before me, the all-knowing Grand Wizard of Knowledge (GWOK, for short, thank you very much.) I am guilty of “I told you so’s” with raised eyebrows and “you should have listened to me’s”, conversational set-ups with the intention of leaning in and teaching him what I think he needs to learn. I have several sticking points I circle round and round, about what I believe to be his blind spots, his wounds that have gone untended, how things should be handled with relationships, parenting, his job, the church. Sometimes he spends these ambushes graciously listening but sometimes, understandably so, he defends himself, trying to say something in order to help me understand he has been listening, he has learned, is learning, is a work in progress, and yet I, with the deafness of a parent hell-bent on a good long lecture, continue to state my same points.
I have wrongly believed that my most important role as his wife is to teach him, but I am learning that actually that is not what my husband needs, especially for this season of our lives. He’s a good study, a willing learner, quick to admit his faults and his wrongs. I’ve tried to teach him lessons that I now realize aren’t mine to teach. What my husband needs most right now is a safe place to land. He needs to know I have his back, I’m in his corner.
Marriage is a funny thing; delicate and strong, desperate for discernment in determining it’s needs, fickle in the working out of meeting them.
So, here I go into 2011 with a little more understanding, a lot more grace, and the security that sometimes the lessons needing to be learned can be taught by Someone greater than me.