I did a couple of things today to show that I honor and respect my wife, but I feel as though when it came down to the true test, I failed.
To begin with, we both needed to pick up items at the grocery store after work. During the work day, I sent her an instant message and asked if I could pick up her items and save her a trip. She informed me she was more than capable of doing so on her own and if she needed something, she'd let me know. I said that I know she's capable, but that I was just trying to be helpful and apologized if I came across as pushy.
When I got home I folded her laundry that was in the dryer and made dinner as well. When she arrived home she continued to avoid me and didn't talk with me. I told her dinner was ready, but she continued to go about her business while I ate alone at the dining room table. It wasn't until later when I left the room that she ate it.
After dinner, I approached her and told her that I got the impression that she didn't want to be around me tonight, so I would give her space, but wanted to let her know that I would be paying bills later this week. If she was interested in seeing the process, then I would be more than willing to show her. This is an area I have controlled for our entire marriage. An area she has often expressed interest in understanding.
She turned down my offer. From there things got a bit worse. I did my best to remain calm and respectful throughout the conversation that followed, but as always I approached the point of manipulation a few times and began to control the conversation. I did my best to stop when I felt myself reaching that point.
Long story short, she informed me that she doesn't like the way I've been acting lately (she is unaware that I am completing the dare). She feels like I'm being overly nice and tip toeing around her.
I asked if it hurt her to have me be nice for a change and she replied that everything hurts. Aside from being unhappy in our marriage she is unhappy at work and highly discouraged at the current job climate. She has applied for many jobs and hasn't been granted an interview. I told her that I feel as though she's hurt and since I'm the one that hurt her, she wants to get away from me. I said that I understand that she doesn't believe she can trust me to not hurt again, when in reality, I never will.
This where I felt as though I was manipulating the conversation in my favor and for that I am ashamed. I don't feel as though I was true to my promise to allow the Lord to take control. I was leading with my emotions and where did it get me? No where. Instead I made my wife cry which has always and will always crush me. Nothing makes me feel smaller than that.
She said she doesn't want me to continue to act the way I have been acting. She is afraid to be nice to me because she feels that every time she smiles at me I'll get the wrong impression. She said that she still wants to be friends and I replied that I still wanted to be her husband (letting my emotions lead again).
I apologized for tip toeing around her. She's right. I've been doing the dares, but in between I haven't known what to do with myself. She informed me that she hasn't found an apartment because she doesn't want to get tied to a year long lease.
It's been hard living in separate parts of the house and I haven't dealt well with the loneliness and isolation. My behavior in those times has led to an uncomfortable situation for my wife (the primary reason she wants to move out). I just long for conversation. I know that in those times I need to turn to Christ for support and let his love fill the void. He is always there to hear me.
I truly miss the time my wife and I spent together prior to our troubles and I'm ashamed that I took it for granted. I know the dares are to further strengthen my relationship with Christ, but some days it's extremely hard. I need to repeat "Be still, for I am God" in my head when I feel myself becoming overwhelmed, or when I'm anxious about not knowing what is going on in her life.
A few weeks ago, we received a card in the mail from a member of our church's women's prayer group. It's on the side of our refrigerator. I stopped and read it today. The member of the group told my wife to reach out to her if there is anything she requires prayer for. I felt like handing her the card, but stopped myself from doing so.
It's very hard to resist the urge to talk to her about Christ. I feel as though she has turned away from him and she needs to put her trust back into him, as I have (even if I'm not doing the best job of it lately).
I did tell her that I would pray for her tonight and told her that prayer has helped me significantly in recent weeks. But I feel that was manipulative as well. However, I will follow through with my promise and pray for him to work through her as he has through me.
She doesnt like the way you are being now because it no longer justifies her actions. So keep doing it.
Second, the best thing is do the dares and nothing else. Spend that free time in Christ, with prayer, reading your Bible, Church whatever.
It will take time for her to trust. So dont focus on that. Focus on the new life in Christ that is teaching you to love for the first time in your life.
Thank you again.
I agree that I need to fill my free time with Christ. I need to do better with that. It's just been very hard, as before things got bad, we spent all of our time together, even if we weren't talking we were in the same room or within earshot. There were times I wanted to be alone and longed for space. I realize now that I took everything for granted. Now that I no longer have it, I desperately want it back.
But, you're right. I need to do the dares and only the dares. In time, I pray she will trust me. I need to fill that time strengthening my relationship with Christ.
One other thing I've been struggling with and praying for guidance on.
Prior to our troubles I a) always made our bed in the morning and b) typically always prepared our dinner. We always discussed what we would have, but the majority of the time I would cook it.
Throughout the dare, I've continued to do both. They were tied to the dare from Day 2. I've made her bed every morning, even though I haven't slept in it in 16 days. I've always enjoyed cooking for us, and still enjoy doing so. They're actions driven by kindness and thoughtfulness.
In a previous conversation she has stated that she doesn't need me to make her bed, she can do it herself, but I've continued to do so.
This morning, I asked if she had any requests for dinner. She stated that she could make her own food and that I didn't need to keep cooking for her. I told her I enjoyed doing it, but she said simply that she would eat leftovers.
I'm conflicted. I feel as though I should continue to do so, because I'm doing both actions as gestures of kindness and thoughtfulness because I care. However, it seems to be upsetting her more than making her feel comforted.
Pray on this. My husband did the same thing to me even though I had continued to make dinner. What I ended up doing was making enough for the both of us and just put left overs in the fridge. They were there if he wanted it...if he didn't eat it then I just took it work for lunch.
She does not want you to do things for her because she needs to justify in her own mind her position.
The venom will get worse, but there will be a breaking point where Christs work on her will overcome.
You focus on your growth in Christ, and leave her to Him. So as for the gestures of kindness, I think it is OK to do.