Chris left last week for six days at a monastery in New Mexico.
We had become lost in the vast and fathomless sea of conflict, alone and afraid. Daily, we were both struggling to stay afloat, amidst relentless tidal waves of emotion.
While we were struggling to survive individually, we were drowning each other in the process.
The weird part is, nothing big happened to get us to this point. A bunch of small things. Insignificant, minor frustrations. Things that at one time we would have let go of. Over time, they accumulated, silently building up and suddenly, one day he realized he was suffocating.
And as he started to shut down, I did my thing and started clinging. I worried. I feared. I obsessed. I could not give him the space he needed. The Enneagram describes the 5-2 cycle perfectly.
Becky tends to become frustrated by the Chris’s lack of immediate response to her—sometimes Chris is so taciturn and involved in his own mental world that there is no response at all—which hurts Becky’s feelings and feels like a rejection to her. Feeling rejected triggers deep anxieties in Becky relating to the fear that she is unwanted and unloved. This may make her redouble her efforts to get some kind of response from Chris. She may become more talkative, more curious and questioning of Chris, and more demanding – waking him up in the middle of the night to talk. Much of Becky’s activities become a form of intrusion that has at its root the need to reassure herself that Chris is still connected with her. But the more intrusive Becky becomes, the more Chris internally withdraws and detaches emotionally from what feels like a threat to his autonomy and competence. (Read more.)
The tipping point, the other night, was watching a TV show.
This is Us.
Season Two, Episode One.
Jack has left and Rebecca goes after him.
And he shuts the door to her.
And she stays and knocks again and tells him to get in the car.
That he can’t leave because that’s not what they do.
“You are my husband, I’m your wife, and if you have a problem, we’ll fix it together.”
After the episode we tried to talk about it and it quickly devolved into an argument about why I love watching real life play out on TV but cannot handle living out the real life version of the show.
Seriously. This IS us.
We watched that episode and then we lived it.
The details are different but the story’s the same.
Two people madly in love.
Passionate and hopeful.
Then … LIFE.
And it’s hard.
And it’s wonderful.
And it’s messy.
Pain and hurt sneak in and take up residence.
So we have no choice but to make intentional space.
We are currently in the midst of a relational Harvey-sized disaster, devastating our fragile construction of a marriage. We’re both being broken apart. Stripped down and laid bare. And it is terribly painful.
But there is hope.
God is Redeemer.
The fixer of our messy.
The repairer of our broken.
He makes beautiful things.
He will restore us and redeem our marriage.