How To Not Pick An Abuser Over And Over Again

Picking The Wrong One

The story we hear often. The girl who has finally made a break away from the abusive chaotic man, only to have fallen in love with his twin brother. The question is what causes a woman to find another abuser, and another, and another.

Some say it’s what she knows. Her childhood was abusive and chaotic. Her dad was unpredictable, her Mom complacent and shut down. She might have been passed around.

That’s not always the case, however. Sometimes these women have not grown up in abusive addictive environments. Then what’s the draw?

The draw is the first abusive relationship. Even if the first one was with a teacher, a sibling, a boyfriend or husband.

The first thing I will say is that when we are harmed, say a slap in the face, its not just the slap that causes the harm. It is the element of surprise. That being the case, times of calm because frightening. The body has learned that experiencing calm and feelings of saftey is a dangerous place to be, because calm is where the shock of abuse occurs. Therefore being with someone who is volatile feels almost safer than with a man who is always kind and caring.

Another aspect to this is that when we are in relationship with someone, and when we are close to them, our body produces a chemical dump in response to that relationship. When we move near the one we love, our body responds by dumping hormones into our body — driven by the brain. Research shows that the juices dumped into the body for bonding are significantly stronger in an abusive relationship that in a safe healthy relationship. That means the sparks are much stronger with a dangerous man if you’ve been abused before, than with a good solid man. If you’ve been abused and bonded with an abuser, teach yourself to RUN when you feel the strong sparks. Then teach yourself to slowly bond with a good kind man. The healthy relationship takes time. Take the time. Love that is deep is amazing. The sparks will come, they just won’t be there the first minute you meet him. Or the first couple months, either.

Picking the wrong one is what you’re use to. Fight what you’re use to. True love simmers slow. Life is short. Don’t waste your precious short life on the roller coaster.

In conclusion, bullies are triggered by weakness. The more someone is harmed, the weaker a person presents in relationship. Work to tap back into your compassionate strong self. A bully looks for someone he can push around. Try out the word ‘no’ on your first encounter. Try it out again and again. How ‘no’ is tolerated is telling. Make sure you have a strong group of friends who are truth tellers. Most of the time, abusers are sniffed out by strong types right away. Listen when a friend cautions you.

Change is possible. You can do this. A gentle safe life awaits you.

By; Lisa Boyl-Davis, LICSW

 

First posted on Medium on a Publication called Better Marriage 

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Bill Died Yesterday

 

Yesterday Bill died.  Bill, our friend.  The Bill with a smirk, always a wonderful smirk on his face.  The mischievous tinkle.  The face I always looked forward to seeing, I’d search for Bill across the crowded Sunday Morning service.  Worried he’d someday be gone.

What will the world be like without Bill?  Our kind-hearted friend.  The guy always with time to listen.  Who loved to see me.  The smile he’d get when he saw our kids.  The stories he and Ted shared, standing out in the church parking lot, unhurried – they would talk.  A car where they were standing needed to back out, they would move to one side, and keep talking.  They’d have to move again.  And still, so much to say.  Never too busy to share another story, he and Ted could talk about anything at all.  Bill holding onto his stick (“It’s not a cane”, he’d say) – his son had carved it for him.  He’d tell about the trips across the states.  All about the adventures.  About the wind at one of the rest stops so strong someone had to help him to the restroom.  Into his 90’s, he was still on the go.  He’d tell about his flying days.  He was a flight instructor during WWII.  Ted and Bill both loved airplanes, they had that in common.  Ted knows which planes he flew.  I can never remember. 

Bill would come along on church campouts.  He’d join the kids for the campout bike parades.  He’d decorate his bike up fancy too.  And always the twinkle, the smirk. 

Bill, such a thoughtful guy.  I remember telling him one Sunday that Marty, our son, who he was fond of, had graduated from H.S.  I invited him to the graduation party.  I really didn’t expect him to make it.  His wife had passed away and doubted he was getting out much.  He came walking up, a bit unsteady on his feet even then, but came to congratulate Marty. 

Losing his wife I think was so hard on him.  He’d tear up anytime he talked about her.   The wife he’d spent a lifetime with, raising so many children that at her funeral I lost track of the count.  Their children, birth children and foster kids.  A lifetime of giving love to each other, and to their many kids and friends.  Grace had a stroke and for years Bill took care of her, bringing her to church in the wheelchair, his patient easy-going ways.  It was definitely true love.

Bill would steal purses.  You’d be chatting with him, and get distracted.  A few minutes later you’d realize your purse was gone.  After scrambling, you’d notice across the room, your purse and a few others hanging from Bills shoulder.  He did this enough times that the church finally presented him with his own purse, which he faithfully wore with his Sunday best. 

This story, it happens everyday.  Good people are born, live, then they die.  He was 96, after all.  And still, I can’t make it OK in my head that it will work for Bill to be missing.  I suppose that would be due to the significant lack of Bill’s in this world.  The eyes that see you from across the room.  The sideways smile.  The twinkle.  The dry jokes.  The smirk. The trust to share a story.  Taking the time to do so.  The interest in others. The caring questions.  The lifetime of giving and loving.  A man whose choices benefited so many. 

I suppose he stole things other than purses.  Like hearts.  It’s a habit.  Whenever I find my seat in church, I hunt for the site of Bill.  Bill died yesterday.  Finally with Grace again.  The twinkle.  The smirk.  Though he’s gone from us, he’s where he’s been headed all along.  A little support through the windy patch, and he’s arrived.  

 

All I Ask

by Gordon Jenkins

Beautiful girls, walk a little slower when you walk by me

Lingering sunsets, stay a little longer with the lonely sea

Children everywhere, when you shoot at bad men, shoot at me

Take me to that strange, enchanted land grown-ups seldom understand

Wandering rainbows, leave a bit of color for my heart to own

Stars in the sky, make my wish come true before the night has flown
And let the music play
as long as there’s a song to sing
And we will stay younger
than Spring

How to Treat The Fat Person In Your Life

Disclaimer:  Our culture has a distorted view of beauty.  That topic is for another blog.  Here I address the actual need for weight loss and how one might treat a person who is overweight.

 

This morning I slipped into some jeans I’ve not been able to wear for 3 years.  Thyroid cancer made my life miserable.  And still, with help from God and the people in my life, I figured out what I needed to do, and here I am, where I wanted to be.  It’s the most amazing feeling to wear pants that fit the structure of my body.  While soaking in the comfort of the thing, I knew I had to write.  Here are a few tips, in case you didn’t know, on how to treat the fat person in your life. 

Fat people know they are fat. 

You don’t have to tell them, remind them, or point it out. 

Fat people know the difference between good food and bad food. 

Telling them will not help. 

Fat people know that being overweight is bad on their health. 

Fat people don’t need to be made fun of behind the back or to their face. 

Fat people need acceptance.  They need to know they are adored, AS IS.  Adored in public and private.  Adored while eating.  Adored while walking.  While sitting down watching a show.  Adored.  Because fat is A WALL, FOLKS.  Fat acts as a barrier between the fat person and ALL THE DANGEROUS UNKIND JUDGMENTAL VULTURES out there.  Feelings of anxiety and feelings of hunger land in the very same spot on the body.  Each time anxiety is awakened, so is hunger, and vise versa.  Giving a fat person more anxiety gives them more hunger. Each time you point out how fat your “loved one” is, you’ve given them more reason to pack on the fat.  Did you take that in?  You might be the very reason your loved one is fat in the first place.  

Fat gives DISTANCE between the vulnerable one and yourself.   Fat prevents a whole host of activities, including love-making which by the way requires TRUST and INTIMACY.  Trust and intimacy can not be established alongside SHAME.  Not possible.  You might be blaming a lousy love life on the obese person in your life.  Lovers are made to love.  Bodies are built to heal.  The fat person has work to do, no doubt.  However if the fat person is living with an unsafe person, the fat will remain or return. 

Fat manages vulnerability.  And therefore every time you find it necessary to identify how fat he or she is (yes, it goes both ways) you are causing stress in which, even if your loved one wanted to, couldn’t release the weight.  Seriously, how many times have you known someone who found a lifestyle for healing and lost all their weight only to put it on again?  Have you ever wondered why he or she was almost driven to pack it back on, when they loved the weight loss so much?  Of course there are medical and life reasons weight returns, such as surgery, childbirth, thyroid issues etc…  When there are no good reasons and still the body reactively drives toward weight gain, that is when it’s time to start noticing how anxiety producing thinness is, and how comfortable obesity feels.  Either way, if there is weight to release, there is call for a healthy environment in which weight loss will be a good thing for all parties involved.  It’s the obese person’s job to learn to manage his or her vulnerability, however you can sure make it easier. 

Here are some things you can do and say:

Write down things you have done and said that were not safe.

Ask God to change your heart toward the heavy person in your life.

Tell her you have been an unsafe person.

Tell him you are done pointing out, criticizing, correcting and suggesting.

Tell her about your fears, that you don’t want anything to happen to her, that you are worried.  

Tell him you have decided to work on your health, including your emotional health, and want to be a safe person (please see the book Safe People by Henry Cloud and John Townsend)

Tell her often all the things you love about her, and what attracts you to her.  If you can think of nothing, you have grown a very hard heart.  Attraction is something we build  and work on, not something that hits us sideways from outer space.  No wonder she doesn’t feel safe.  Pray.  I will guarantee you, God will give you a very long list of things to desire and enjoy about the other person.  Because that’s how God sees us – our proud papa.  We are his adored children.  Prejudice, bigotry, and judgmental abuse cloaked in joking and jabs is a hard habit to break.  If not that overt, still, we our bodies are made to pick up subtle disregard and disgust.  What will change you is to have a good hard look at who you are.  You will notice what is ugly about you, and how God loves you anyway, and this will change your heart about the people in your life.

Remember, if your loved one has been harmed by you over and over throughout the years, he or she will have a hard time believing you are for real.  Allow time for distance, anger and sadness.  Yes, anger, and lots of it, toward you.  Grief takes time.  Trust comes along much later.  Time.  Let this healing take time. 

My family and the family I married into who are the worst about this issue.  I somehow managed to marry a man who, though not perfect, gets it.  He often tells me I need to eat more, that the reason I’m heavy is because my body is starving.  When I’m eating something not great for me, he tells me to enjoy it.  When I work hard at getting healthy, he tells me I look just as beautiful to him as I did before.  I’ve been obese (see picture) and thin ( now about 12 sizes smaller), and loved both ways.  I would have never lost weight if he had rejected me as a heavy woman.  He made it safe for me to get healthy and strong.  And I won’t ever take that for granted, because I know my situation is not the norm.

By the way, the body gravitates towards thin.  Make a safe-haven.  Learn to love the one you’re with.  Making these changes will make you both stronger and more healthy.  I guarantee it.  

 

 

Another Marriage Haircut

He is frugal.  He likes to save a buck.  And so before we were ever even admitting to ourselves the feelings we had for each other, I cut his hair.  I didn’t know how to cut hair back then, but that was ok with him.  Apartment across from the engineering building, along the cement wall, up narrow stairway and through door he’d arrive with his friend Joey, both with too much hair, needing a cut.  And that’s how I learned, by cutting and by the mistakes I made.  Ted’s hair has a little wave – helping to hide the wonderings.  Joey’s not so much… straight as a stick and wiry.  I really messed it up a couple times.  The fact that either one of them came back for another cut, and another was shocking to me!

Really, I started cutting hair when I was a kid, but it was for my Dad who was bald.  It amounted to trimming the length, and trimming his beard. Wasn’t quite the same as a bushy full head of too much hair.

The haircuts in the apartment were with sewing scissors or any other scissor we happen to have.  Never with the luxury of hair-cutting tools.  My roommate Ann and I were poor college students.  Our budget for food those days was 40.00 per month, each contributing 20.00, standing in the commodities line for free cheese and butter whenever possible. Nice scissors were out of the question.  I really should have hit the guys up for nice hair-cutting scissors since I was cutting their hair for free, but they were as poor, too.

Despite the lousy scissors and lack of skill, the event itself was grand. Ann was usually in the background making comments that made the guys nervous about what was happening to their hair, causing great hilarity – me laughing till my sides hurt, and most likely messing up the cut even more.  The cuts were usually followed by an attempt to straighten out what had been so badly damaged. And more laughter.  A couple weeks after the cuts, the guys started to look a little better and by the time the hair was much too long again, both of them had forgotten how bad the last cut had been.

I’m still cutting my husband’s hair, 28 years later.  Joey lives in another state.  I’m thinking he can afford a haircut now:) I wonder if roommate Ann has her own collection of cuts to provide, locks needing cut, cross the ocean in Cambodia.  So much time has passed.  So much has changed.  But I still cut his hair. And our kids hair.  I’m better at it now.  We’ve managed to purchase some hair cutting tools; scissors, clippers, etc..  My husband is still frugal – now with time. And so when his hair needs a cutting, he doesn’t want to take the time, waits way too long, miserable grumpy, finally weeks later agrees to let me cut his hair – he says the same thing every time “Oh, I feel so much better, why do you let me go so long!!?”

We have had ups and downs in our marriage.

And still we manage to make peace for yet another haircut.

Maybe I fell in love with him cutting his hair.

I suppose something so mundane might have that kind of power.

Maybe mundane need is where true love resides.

A scheduled glue that holds us strong.

A holy routine of nothing that special.

I wonder.

Living Together. Might it Help a Future Marriage?

 

Today a couple friends came over to spend the day with me – helped me piece together a quilt for my baby grandson.  It’s been a long time since I sat in a kitchen, barefoot on tile floor, adult conversation moving through the hours of a morning.  The topic we happened upon – What’s wrong with living together as a next step for a couple that is moving toward marriage?  The topic wasn’t the expanded version of people living the wild life.  It was all about committed Christian adults who truly believe it’s best to first get to know someone, date, and as a next step, move in before marriage.  And why doing so might or might not be the best idea.  Scriptures were discussed, the ‘one-flesh’ and ‘the break up would be a divorce’ ideas, hypotheticals, stories of heartbreak and stories of those who seemed to have made it work, and talk of our fears. 

After all the ideas turned and turned again, I thought to myself “A trial run wouldn’t have worked for my husband and I because it would have taken all the years of our lives to get a realistic representation of what we’d be getting into.” 

Because no two years – no two days have been just alike.

Because every time I think I know him, he’s someone new.

Because I’ve changed too.

Because what cuts me deep one season is what I desire most the next.

Because anything we set up long ago has gone along the wayside and  been replaced 100 times over by the current needs of life.

Because our goals and dreams have changed.

Because it doesn’t really matter what use to be, what is now is what we’re dealing with.

Because kids have changed us.

Because jobs have changed us.

Because changing a church has changed us.

Because having cancer once and then twice has changed everything all over again.

Some seasons in the game of life we’ve been top of the world. 

Others seasons we’ve been giant losers

– just trying to make it through the day.

A trial run would not have helped us to know if we could stay together and hold a lasting love, because we would need to have given our love a spin for about an eternity to know for sure,  which is why we said I do.  That’s what the promise for us was about.  Deciding he would be the one I’d take the lifetime chance on.  And I’d be his roll of the dice. 

It has not been easy.  Because I’m not an easy person to predict, and neither is he.  That’s the problem about marriage.  Who knows how to maneuver unless we know what to expect.  The year we fell in love, if someone had told me I’d better live with him to discover that he stomps around in the kitchen and slams things down loud when he’s mad, I’d have to tell them that it wouldn’t be a fair trial as a few years later he found his voice at which time I wished he’d start stomping again and stop talking!  If they’d told me living together would help me understand his struggles with God, and how that would affect our kids, I’d have to tell them that just as I have grown, so has he, and that our kids seem to have outdone us on their love for Jesus despite our struggles.  If they told us I better try him out to know more about the way he’d adore me one day and despise me the next and that I had found myself a moody man, I’d have to say nothing has changed in this department, and probably never will.  Moving in would not have helped me.  I knew when I said “I do” that I was marrying one part sweetheart, one part demon, and eight-parts kitchen table.  In the end, who would I have married that could have made my life as full and interesting and good as the one I rolled the dice for? And how would trying out one after another help me find a better man?

I know that if I go out and lease a brand new Suburb, I’ll love everything about it for the first little while because the engine hasn’t yet frozen up – 350 miles from home.  The door handle hasn’t fallen off in my hand.  The seats haven’t yet cracked and cut into my leg.  The frame hasn’t morphed and wobbled down the washboard road. 

The heartbreaking problems that have caused the most pain in this marriage didn’t show up for 15 years, and nearly tore us apart.  They would not have shown up in a 14 year trial.  That would mean that trying our relationship out for 14 years would have not provided either one of us security. 

Date.

Take your time. 

Big Issues will usually show themselves even when not under the same roof. 

But some things don’t show up for years.

What has pulled us from the brink has not been a guarantee of a predictable soul-mate, but a guarantee from God.  God will never leave us or forsake us.  We call on GOD and HE will show us great and mighty things.  The Lord will take our hearts of stone and turn them to hearts of flesh.  God is the reason we are still together.  This one thing we’ve done right in our marriage.  Turn again to God when hopelessness suffocates our functioning.  When I took a gamble and choose my husband, I was betting on GOD to get us through.  The Scripture says to not be unequally yoked.  That one’s a biggie, and we didn’t do that perfectly either, as a person can fake their love for God.  I think in some ways we were unequally yoked most of our marriage, but because there was a willingness for both of us to turn to God in tough times (“Will you pray with me?” says one enemy to another.  “OK” says the hated one), we continued to become more closely yoked then we had been before.  For all the horrid things I know about my husband, and he knows about me, I would still choose him over any other person on the planet, and I’m pretty sure he’d say the same of me.  Most days:)

The 6th Love Language – Bike

Theory goes that 5 love languages exist.  According to Gary Chapman there are five primary ways of expressing love and five ways of feeling loved. 

They are as follows:

Gift Giving

Words of Affirmation

Acts of Service

Touch

Quality Time

They forgot one. 

Bikes 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped by bike shops thinking to myself ‘if only Mom, Adored Husband, Sister, Daughter, Son, Teacher, Friend, Patient just had a bike that fit his/her body, their life would forever be changed’.  Bike is my own personal love language.  I know this to be true.  If it were simply a personal obsession, I would have filled my garage with fancy bikes for myself, which I have not.  I still ride my old trusty 20 year old beater that the kids have taken over a jump one too many times.  Yes, it’s my love language.  Rather odd, I know.  Especially if the person I love doesn’t happened to ride a bike. 

Some might say Bike fits into gift giving.  Nope.  BIKE is it’s own category, and all categories in one.  GIFT, TIME, TOUCH (If you don’t believe me, ride awhile and then tell me you’ve not had a physical experience), ACTS OF SERVICE (what could be more service – like than to work them muscles and get those corpuscles jump’n) AND WORDS FOR AFFIRMING THE BIKE AND THE RIDE AND THE GREATNESS OF THEM BOTH. 

Over the years I’ve bought two bikes for Adored Husband.  I could never get him into a bike shop, nor a test-spin around the block… an absolute must for finding a bike that is really an extension of your body and not just a hunk of metal to be ground beneath you. But what can I do?  He’s a farm boy, after all.  To him, bikes are simply parts and pieces.  Any ‘ole bike ‘ll do.  One of these days I”ll get him to the bike shop with me. I know there is a bike that will become his baby one day.  I just know it! 

My kids have experienced my love language.  Redline mostly.  I was visiting our oldest son a few weeks ago.  He informed me he was selling his bike.  I remember the day we bought it…. was a really big deal, even though he paid half, the total cost was amazing.  He’s married now, baby on way.  No space in life for fancy biking… so it’s a goner.  WHAT?!  I wonder to myself.  How in the world did I concoct a reason in my head for my son to need a very expensive bike?  Now, I know bikes these days have come down in price.  That same bike with same functions might be much less, these 5 years later.  Still, what was I thinking!?  Adored Husband helps me out.  Says he’s pretty sure that if I thought Martians were in need of bikes, although Martians have not yet been cited by most of us, I’d send a ships-load over, just in case. 

Yesterday I took our 14 year old son all legs and arms on a bike shopping excursion.  Cycle shop after shop, he’d point one out, try it – and onto the next shop.  We finally found the one.  No need to look further.  An absolute beauty mountain bike with matted paint and bright expression.  All the important pieces, solid and usable.  He has to work another couple weeks to afford the extra, but it’s love, I tell you.  LOVE.

If you happen to ever get a bike from me, think of it as a kiss.  Or in your case, think of it as a handshake.  Think of it as a smile.  As a good floor scrubbing.  As a thoughtful hour of listening.  Because some of us are made more of tires and spokes then roses.  Just Say’n.

I Collect Good Men – Oops… stories of:)

This past couple years disrespect of women has become more public than in the recent past.

The Stanford Rape Case – girl gets left like garbage out on on the ground and swim jock rapist get community service.

Bill Cosby – 60 women destroyed and he calling it “casual sex”, admits to using sedative hypnotic methaqualone with the women – admits knowing that giving it to another person is illegal, but won’t call it rape.

Mark Driscoll the lead pastor of Mars Hill is off’d his mountaintop for a variety of reasons – I’m sure his graphic sexualized prophecies and hyper-fixation on teaching women in the church to provide certain kinds of sex to headship husband lest they neglect their Christian wifely duty have added to the list of reasons why.

Seventh day Adventist Church:  Women’s Ordination.

Donald Trump.  Lets see, strip clubs, objectifying his own daughter.  Filth spoken to his buddies long ago, (‘We all do it’, quip the supporters.  No, many of us have never had thoughts like the words that came out of his mouth, or ever heard such words.  And needed a shower after hearing such words.  No, we don’t all act like that and talk like that.). Reports that he raped a 13 year old girl (read the reports. Yes she dropped charges after her life was threatened.  This was a group effort, the other man accused, Jeffrey Epstein, Trumps buddy, is a registered sex offender and payed the girl off for his part.) 

This is the year it became impossible to talk about the happenings in the news round the dinner table. The year we couldn’t have our kids involved in the election process as it became X-rated and revolting.  The year an old family entertainer we all love and who made us laugh was found to be too violent and grotesque in his secret life to be funny at all anymore. 

Today I ran across a short little video about a single Dad who started classes in his community to teach other Dad’s how to do their daughter’s hair.  This Dad says knowing how to care for his daughter’s hair became one of the challenges for him and as he figured out what to do, he decided to share what he learned with other Dads.  Thirty-four classes later and 800 plus guys through the program, he reminds the guys it’s not a gender thing  “Even a messy braid is still time spent together. It’s not about the braid, it’s about the bond”.

I ran across a story about a woman who went to her husband’s work because he had been working late.  She found him sound asleep in his chair, feet up on desk, holding a little two year old on his chest.  This man works for Child and Family Services, the baby had been taken, and was between placements.  A big kind-hearted guy sound asleep on duty, helping the little one during this terribly painful time of transition. 

There are the abusers.  The selfish.  The toxic and manipulative.  Liars and users.  There are monsters.  The types who say words with a smile, but words that cut holes in the souls of those around them.  There are people all about power over.  There are small types who have to talk filth to feel big.  Small ones who drive giant trucks, suck up gas and burn tires to prove how important they are.  The people who do not care the scars they carve into those who trust them.

And then there are the others.  Not perfect, and still day after day he goes to work, brings home all that he has been earned, rarely uses money just for himself.  The guy who grocery shops.  He cooks.  The one who still tell bedtime stories, he doesn’t do it all just right, but cares deeply for the people in  his life.  The guy who doesn’t spend his life angry because he is hamstrung by the old lady and a couple-a snot nosed dependents.  No, a guy who loves and adores his wife, still finds her hot despite the way they’ve both aged… the marks grooved deep into her being, stretched lines telling a story about their love and their love babies.  A guy who doesn’t want the plastic of porn.  It’s his wife he desires.  Not just her body, but her friendship.  

This year I hope to collect stories of respect given by men to women and women to men.  Men and women to children.  Not tales about why it’s so important for women to respect men and why women don’t need respect but love.  The church has contributed to the abuse by ideas that we have propagated.  The Bible is crammed packed with why respect and love are important for all.  Male headship, leading and following.  Balderdash.  He who is greatest must be servant of all.  Jesus, God himself, says he calls us FRIENDS.  Men and women are all in this together, we either all contribute to love or to destruction.  We all need each other.  I am collecting stories of mutual care and love given between equals.  Help me collect the stories. I look forward to each one. 

P.S.  Happy Birthday Adored Husband.  Thank you for the little ways you remind me every day that not all guys are like the horrific males who make the news.  The kids and I are blessed.   

Love Unreturned

 

 

Wrote this song somewhere between Phoenix and Seattle on Southwest jet headed for home after being gone a week.  It’s a rather somber song.  But somber is OK sometimes, too.

 

Love Unreturned

I See You there

I stir inside

I reach

And cold you turn away

I must be wrong

I try again

It’s true

My love is unreturned

Now kind your face

When my heart’s stone

You try so hard

To win me back

All safe with you.

It’s trust again

I reach

And cold you turn your gaze.

I must be wrong

I try again

It’s true

My love is unreturned

Cello (This is you, Annalee:) Think soulful baltic sad and tears sounds with piano

We must be wrong

We try again

To stop

This dance of no return

 

Here’s to today, taking love gestures from the others around us:)

 

 

 

Early Betrayal and Marriage Prayer

Stepping into crust of snow, I walk into the stinging white beside a man keeping pace, together faces pink with low temperatures.  He is alone this day.  His Marriage, like the crunch under our feet, is on especially rough surfaces.  We walk and talk.  A long time I listen. 

And then respond. 

I tell him about the early stages of betrayal. 

The small shifts in attitude that occur before a heart of stone takes shape. 

The betrayal of another – the pull away. 

The secret thoughts that say to self “I can do better”, “I shouldn’t have to put up with this crap”. 

“She says that to me all the time,” he says to me.   “And so do we all,” I reply.  The past 35 minutes have been descriptions of all the ways she is no good and impossible.   He hears me. 

The story is the same for all the couples I work with, and for my own life.  Unique scenarios, with the same deterioration of love. 

The toxic seed of heart that abandons the other while still sitting beside her. 

While still holding his hand. 

Which is why she says she can’t trust him

…says he feels unsafe around her

the loneliness 

feeling invisible

–hated. 

The heart feels abandoned, even when words and actions of the other acts the part of a husband, plays the role of the wife.  A heart betrays the loved one – in exchange for ‘my rights’. 

We talk about how much easier it is to see another persons rot than our own. That even in marriages looking quite put together we indulge in betrayal thoughts dozens of times a day. 

I ask “Do you pray together?” This couple attends a Bible study and support group, attends church.  They are believers.  The type who walk the walk.  Christians who want God’s will, who weep at the kindness of the Lord.  And I ask if they pray together.  “No, we don’t,” he says.  “How would we do that?”  And I pause.  No one has ever asked me what marriage prayer looks like.  And as we move ahead a step and then another, I hope my words match the stirring at the core of me.

Then I laugh.  I catch the puzzled look out the corner of my eye.  “I know a lot about what not to do.”  Prayers can’t be used to blast the other person.  “Dear Lord, I pray that you help my husband to not be such an absolute selfish narcissistic jerk”.  The sad eyes wrinkle into a smile.  “A prayer like that will ruin prayer for the two of you.”  I know, from experience. 

Doing the opposite works better.  “Lord, I am selfish.  I’m blind to the garbage in me.  I can only mostly see (my spouse’s name) faults clearly, and not my own very well.  I pray that you show me how to love _______ ( put your spouse’s name here).  Help me see how I hurt (him/her).  Give me clues for making (his/her) life a joyful one.  Life here is short.  Let me be a blessing for the days (he/she) has left.  Let me be a warm place for (him/her) to come to.  Please forgive me for harming this person I love so much.   I’m not good at love, we are so different.  I pray this all in Jesus name, amen.” 

We walk in silence.  He understands.  I encourage him to not use this prayer script, but to pray from his heart with her near him, and plead for God to give him what it takes to love his wife.  Its hard to do when the other person feels like an enemy, but it works. 

The reason my adored husband and I are still together is that we pray.  We would have strangled each other if we hadn’t continued to pray.  We are just naturally too dysfunctional, selfish and warped to follow simple directions for making changes.  God has had to change us one prayer at a time.  We don’t pray just right all the time, either.  Sometimes we break all the rules for praying and harm each other in our petitions to God.. .especially me.  But we move back towards each other and God.  It’s our only consistent healing habit that has saved us from ourselves. 

It’s easy to betray. 

The heart finds ways to reject the one who knows too much about me.

The reason the subject of betrayal belongs with marriage prayer is that betrayal,

even at its earliest stage

is the invisible aggressor that destroys love

and prayer is what stitches love back together  

God is the one who kindly reminds us of all the ways we harm the other and shows us again how to love, even when the other person is unlovable. Especially when the other person is unlovable.  White underfoot, we move beyond despair toward God love.  To the only thing that stops betrayal and brings us together again.