We got married when our daughter was 7. We ended up having our first son when she was 8, another when she was 9 and yet another shortly after she turned 11. Let’s just say 3 babies in 4 years was a lot.
My husband at the time, was working for Microsoft. Lots of long hours, crunch modes and long commutes through traffic each day. When he would come home he was spent. When he would come home I was spent. Our poor daughter was old enough and helped with everything and she was spent. I tried so hard to have everything done or at least attempted so that when he got home things could be peaceful, relaxing and calm. I dont know what I was thinking. Three small children and a pre-teen who was feeling overlooked by her parents and a completely lost and exhausted wife is a disaster waiting to happen. There is no peace in that equation. But I strived, and controlled everything into the ground like a drill sergeant. There was no room for grace. The more I tried the more things got out of control. By the time my husband got home I was yelling, angry, tense, exhausted, defeated, or all of the above.
He would come home to utter chaos. Even if dinner was ready and things were at least manageable, I was not at peace. I projected all my striving and unrest onto my kids. I made them feel like they were responsible for the fact that I was not at peace. If the house could have been a little cleaner, if they could have done “whatever” it was differently and better then I could calm down. Oh so very ugly.
Anyway, my husband would come home and I would try to keep the kids quiet or keep them from bothering him. Trying to give him some peace. I really wanted him to want to be home more. So instead I ended up micromanaging everyone and everything. He tried to help out with the kids. Everytime, I stepped in and either changed what he said and have the kids to something different, or I completely dismissed the kids (in my ‘twisted thinking’ thought I was relieving my husband of this difficulty). Then it engulfed me. I was overwhelmed as though a tidal wave had washed over me. I am irritated that he is not around enough to help me. All of this spiralling out of my control.
Luckily for me, my husband stood up and said, “I am done trying to help you. You obviously do not need my help. Everytime I try to take care of the kids or something for you it isnt good enough and you change it. If you do not need me then I am going to stop trying. You are on your own! Dont get frustrated with me about not being willing to help you. You wont let me.”
I loved it! I mean…. it sucked on many different levels but I felt like I was being rescued at the same time. Realization about what I was really doing all along was brutal. Obviously that was not my heart but that is what I was doing. I wasnt trusting that his heart for me was good. I wasnt trusting that he would come through for me or that he wanted to. I didnt understand it at the time but I had broken trust with my husband. I didnt know that it hits guys like that but that reality still remained. Micromanaging, controlling or withdrawing is all manipulation. Manipulation is deceitful. If I found out my husband had been deceitful about something with me I would be wounded.
Whether or not I meant to hurt him was not the issue. I did and I needed to make that right. It kind of felt like a 2×4 to the forehead! I had to stop in my selfish mode of blaming everything and everyone and really deal with myself. I was so very thankful that he rescued me by speaking out the truth of what I was doing. I was so very thankful that he did not abandon me by not saying anything and shutting down his heart. He was in the process of shutting down his heart but he had the fierce mercy to stand up for what was right and expose what was really going on.
Referring to the earlier blog “You both have the same enemy….” this was a good example of what it looks like to be standing there holding the instrument in my hands that took out my spouse. My heart in it, even though I got it way wrong was deceived into thinking it was good. It is not good or right if you have to sacrificethe hearts of others. I just ended up in a Godless place. I was doing everything in my own strength trying to create my own peace. I ripped the pen out of God’s hand and said, “I dont trust you. Im going to write my own story” I did not believe that God’s heart was for me, or that He would come through for me. So then of course I walked right into the trap of the enemy.
In talking it out with him later he was grieving more over the hearts of our kids and over the withdrawing of my heart from him, than he was worried about his own feelings. That made me feel even worse. This wasn’t the end of this battle but it was a start to crying out to God for help and answers. I still didnt understand why I went or why I would go there.
Control is so ugly. Control is a self-protective mode. When you are in a self-protective mode you withdraw your heart and take it into your own hands. If you are self-protecting then you are not trusting. But when I go into that mode, what it boils down to is that I am not “really” trusting God.
In spite of myself, I am still Jennifer, being rescued daily by the fierce love of a God and a man who love me. They are willing to stand up for truth and not leave me spiralling away from the truer things about my own deep heart.