Valentine’s Day Part 2

The second thing that came to mind is, if I don’t get The Director something does he view this as me not loving him?!  What happens if this year I’m just not in the mood to give him a Valentine card?

First of all, after attending a Love and Respect conference I found out that most men don’t like mushy, flowery, overflowing lovey, romantic cards, it’s not their language.  According to Emerson & Sarah Eggerichs, men want manly cards that speak their language of love (different from The Five Love Languages  that Gary Chapman writes about).  Cards that use words that appreciate a man’s work, achievements, the protection and provisions he makes for his family, appreciation for his strength, leadership, his desire to analyze and counsel, his insight and how much he is respected and admired.  While men want to know they are loved and don't mind hearing I love you, they are shown your love by using words of affirmation that speak to their God given wiring and desire for respect.   Most of the cards on the market today are filled with flowery love and romance sentiments that appeal mostly to women.  I would say the exception, at least for The Director, is a card that hints of physical relations with the sender, in this case me.  (The Director assures me, any card that hints of physical relations is welcomed!  In his words, “it’s a guy thing!”)

So back to what if I don’t feel like sending a card this year.  Let’s be honest, The Director and I have been together for almost 27 years.  He has been in my life longer than he wasn’t a part of it, more then half of my life.  Anyone in any kind of long term, committed, relationship knows that relationships ebb and flow.  I once heard a speaker explain marriage like this – everyone has highs and lows.  Highs may come from your world flowing well, the house is in order, work is good, you have low stress, the kids are in a groove and behaving well,  things go as you plan, finances are good, life overall is going in the direction you want and it is good.  Lows may come from your world unraveling, work is stressful, the house is a mess, your finances are in the toilet, the kids are in a stage that’s making you crazy, you have high stress, your dealing with aging parents, cranky kids, unruly teenagers, overbearing bosses, overall you are stressed out, life is not going according to plan, the weight of the world is on your shoulders and you are NOT happy.  When I think of lows, I think of the lyrics from the Godspell song All for the Best: 

When you feel sad, or under a curse
Your life is bad, your prospects are worse
Your wife is crying, sighing...
And your olive tree is dying,
Temples are graying, and teeth are decaying
And creditors weighing your purse...
Your mood and your robe
Are both a deep blue
You'd bet that Job
Had nothin' on you...

As I said, everyone has lows and highs, the speaker said that in a marital relationship when both partners are in a high, life and their relationship is great, it thrives!  When the man is in a low but the woman is in a high or vice versa the relationship survives, holds and continues.  This happens because the person in the high helps to carry, and help the partner in the low.  Life can be a bit harder or more hectic, there are hiccups, but overall it is still good.  When both partners are in a low, this is when the relationship is really strained and begins to become unglued.  Both partners are cranky, tired overwhelmed and don’t have the energy to do much more than the daily tasks at hand.  Often this creates for an environment of fights, arguments and nit-picking.

I once heard an author talk about margins in our life, how hard would it be to read a book with no margins?  If we don’t have margins in our own lives, every little thing begins to bother us.  An example of this would be a story I heard about a woman, who felt very worn out and in need of some margins; margins, in the form of a vacation, less stuff on her plate, for school to go well, margins that would get her back to the high.  I had to laugh, as she related the story of driving with her husband and family, to the next state over, for a small family vacation.  She was so spent, that every little detail bothered her, including the fact that her husband was driving in the left lane.  She herself usually drives in the right lane.  This habit of her husband’s was nothing new, he usually drove in the left lane but because of her state of mind (caused my no margin, hence a low) this annoyed the heck out of her.

Every person in a relationship, out there can relate to this, it might be a toothpaste cap, a toilet seat left up, an unmade bed, clothes left on/in fill in the blank because they are going to be worn again but usually never do, slurping milk while cereal is being eaten, dishes left in the kitchen sink, talking during a football game.  Any little annoyance that usually isn’t a big deal, it’s just that, a little annoying, but when you are in a low or are without margin it’s one of the first things to set you off!

Frankly, because The Director and I are both currently in a low, I don’t feel like giving him a card.  This is NOT because I don’t love or adore him!  I do very much!  It is mainly because all of the cards out there talk about your spouse as being perfect, the person you want to gaze at the rest of your life, how their undying love and devotion moves you to tears, how there is absolutely no other love, ever, that could be more perfect than the one they have for you.  When I read them, I wanted to throw up!  First of all there is and has been only one perfect love, Jesus’ love for us.  He loved us so much that he stretched out His arms and died WILLINGLY for us!

No matter how much we want to, we can never give or receive love as Jesus does.  Because of our human brokenness, our love is given selfishly, or is tainted by past hurts and baggage.  No matter how hard we try we can not give it 100% freely and unconditionally not like Jesus can.  Also, even if we try, with the best intentions of giving our love openly, and freely, and unconditionally it may be perceived and accepted in the wrong manner, because the recipient in their human brokenness, comes to the table biased, and or tainted with their own past hurts and baggage.  No one can receive love unselfishly, and see it for how it is exactly given other than Jesus!  He and only He is the perfect Valentine!

I just didn’t feel like giving The Director a card that spewed all of that mushy sentiment that I’m not feeling right now!  It’s not that I’m mad at him or haven’t forgiven him for something.  I’m just feeling guarded right now.  Because of my own current low situation and my own past STUFF and it is my STUFF, I perceived wrongly and took personally something The Director did last week.  It hurt my feelings!  I forgave him and I’m not mad at him, but I’m guarded.

Everyone in a relationship knows that there is one or two topics that come up repeatedly in arguments or fights through out your relationship.  Had we had better preparations, or maybe if we had paid better attention while preparing for marriage, maybe we would have learned tools and skills that would have lessened these reoccurring arguments.  Or, maybe we would have solved them/worked through them a long time ago and we wouldn’t still be dealing with them 20 years later.  What ever the case is, we still have this reoccurring argument and because it is reoccurring and I have past pain from these arguments.  When the argument rears it’s ugly head again, my past pain resurfaces and I find myself guarded not wanting to be completely open in our relationship.  I know logically that this guardedness creates a wall that keeps us disconnected.  However, when I’m feeling this way I often think of fight attendants explaining emergency procedures.  They ALWAYS tell you in the event of an emergency, put your oxygen mask on first before helping small children or others.  I feel like I need to take care of me and sooth my pain before I can openly connect with The Director again, otherwise I have found that I build up resentment and anger over time, towards him, and that is not good!

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