I hear our heavy back door thud shut. Husband is home. Thank God. I’m upstairs chasing a naked Bubby, trying to convince him that a bath is a good idea. I’ve got Sister squirming on the floor, waiting for me to nurse her so she can go to bed. Bedtime is pretty traditional around here: running, screaming, squealing, laughing, crying, bribery. Big emotions play out as we round up our day and our little family.
When I hear Husband trot up stairs, I look for him to enter the hallway. I see the subtle sag in his shoulders; he’s had a long day and is stressed. My eyes take in his demeanor and I think about how eight years ago our evenings were quiet, filled with uneventful TV and adult conversation. His shoulders didn’t sag quite so much.
The Present slams into my legs as I’m brought back to reality. Bubby grabs at my knees and sits on my foot, waiting for me to drag him around like he’s on some kind of circus ride.
And in that swift moment the resentment sparks; Husband comments about a dirty diaper that is still sitting on the kids’ bathroom counter from the night before. Something along the lines of “Why is this diaper still sitting here?”
A simple and justified question really. Why did I leave the diaper there? Because I was busy being a mom, duh. I forgot about it and when I remembered I didn’t want to mess with walking it out to the trash, so I kept putting it off.
But what my heart heard was him accusing me of not being enough. Why did my heart hear this? Because I was holding on to past resentment from all the previous fights about diapers and dishes and dinner.
I did what many of us do when we feel like we’re being accused of not being enough by our spouse. I went into defensive mode.
I quickly tapped into my “all-the-things-that-you-don’t-do-for-me” file and spouted off to my husband. I reminded him of all the things he’s left undone: making a date night, not being romantic when I wanted him to be, working outside in the yard instead of connecting with me inside my heart.
See how quickly I got there? I went from diaper to date nights.
And that’s when I realized my husband isn’t enough.
My husband isn’t enough.
He’s not supposed to be.
I come to him with my anger and my “not meeting my needs” or “not making me happy” list:
I want to feel more loved so why aren’t you speaking my love language all the time?
I feel lonely so why aren’t you making more date nights?
All I talk to are little humans who can’t really talk back, so why aren’t you talking with me in the evenings?
I unload on him with all that he’s not doing for me (and sure there’s some truth in what I’m saying) but I’ve put pressure on him to fix me at my core.
And while I know he can’t fix me, there’s this constant nagging in my heart I ignore about what it is I really need in its simplest form: I want to feel loved and I’m expecting him to fill that entire void.
It’s an ungodly cycle I get stuck in running circles.
When I take a hard look at my heart I have to ask myself, “how do I get rid of this void? How do I stop expecting my husband to fill this hole?”
The answer I receive is not simple. It’s not a five step process. It’s not a simple formula.
I hear the Lord say time. It takes time, Gloryanna, to break chains from the past that have held you all these years.
It takes surrender. Daily surrender to give up myself and embrace the abundance the Lord has to give me in return.
Forgiveness. Lots of forgiveness towards him and towards myself. Forgiveness is such a loaded word and principle. But for now, it’s a step I take so I can move forward.
I have to trust Him. I have to choose to trust Him. I have to trust Him during the time it will take me to heal. When it doesn’t look like I want it to, I have to trust that His way is better than my way. Clearly my way doesn’t work anyways.
To wait with time, to surrender myself, and to trust Him is going to require prayer. Not some legalistic prayer that says if I get up and spend 30 minutes every day then God will help me. No, a prayer walk that says if I don’t get up early, then I won’t pray like I need to for God to fill this void. If I don’t get up early, I will live as a slave to myself and to my fear. It’s not about legalism. It’s about freedom.
And grace. Lots and lots of grace. Grace for myself and for my husband. Grace for when he comments about the diapers and I want to argue with him about how he isn’t enough either. Grace for myself when I feel guilty after said argument.
Grace to know that my husband, a man whom I believe with all my heart was handpicked by God just for me, is not enough. There’s only One who is enough. And to live that truth and believe it daily, to believe it sometimes hourly, can be one of the hardest truths fully understand.
There’s so much in our world that clouds this truth from our hearts.
I allow the demands of the world to etch away the truth and promises from the Lord that I keep hidden in my heart.
And it takes an argument about diapers to bring me back. To scream “Gloryanna, you’re running in circles! You’re stuck in the cycle!”
It’s a cycle I fall into when I pull away from seeing what the Lord wants to reveal to me about my heart and focus on what the Lord needs to do in my husband’s heart instead.
I’m not saying we don’t have conflicts to work out. I’m not saying it’s OK for my husband to just ignore my needs. I’m saying that he is a flawed human just like I am.
But he is also a child of the King like I am. And he is loved more by God than I could ever love him. And when I come to the Lord on my knees with all my mess, I see the mess in my husband too but with grace eyes.
This new lens makes all the difference. It really is what it means to be broken together.
To not be enough together.
Because when we can come alongside one another before the Lord, then we become full.