I sit, next to a tax document I was almost too lazy to search for and print out--in a business center of my apartment. It is quiet, and the task utilitarian enough, to make me ponder the big questions. That’s what quirky people like me do when confronted with drab walls, clacking keys, and low toner beeps. They try to think deep thoughts.
Sadly, I haven’t whipped up a beautiful poem from these deep thoughts, but I have had a recent epiphany about my marriage,and, I daresay, marriage in general.
It is the season of Lent and my life reflects that right now. With so much in my life to feel thankful for, I feel insecure about voicing my struggles, fearing that I present myself to the world as whining wimp with a bunch of first world problems. I struggled with what to give up for Lent this year. I do love me some chocolate, but honestly, I have pretty good willpower and after having my third baby, some extra weight loss wouldn’t exactly be penance.
Eventually I decided to give up my victim tendencies--that is, my habit of feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in hopelessness when circumstances don’t go according to my ideal--for these 40 days. It has been the most liberating thing I could have done for myself and my marriage; it has truly brought me closer to God.
Let me set the scene: a frazzled mother of three waits on pins and needles for her knight in shining armor to get home. Normally, I most anticipate seeing my husband at the end of the day because I need the help. I need more hands! Someone hit someone. What the heck is in the baby’s mouth? The kids ate their vegetable and protein, but I forgot to make a starch. I really should read them a book.
The inner mistakes and guilt trips prevail, putting me in such a state of confusion, irritation, and desperation that I decide to jump down my husband’s throat when he arrives home twenty minutes later than he planned. My reaction of the cold shoulder and wounded heroine routine feels both obvious and justified as I imagine him out doing things like enjoying a novel and latte at a ski lodge. Oh, wait a second. I recall that in reality, he spends his days busting his butt at work and finishing up his dissertation, all the while being a present and loving husband and father.
So I decided for Lent, I’d slay that tiny, whining, victimized dragon--the scaly, ugly monster who whispers, He just doesn’t care. I bet he was late because he was yukking it up with his coworkers. Does he even know how many disasters have happened today? To my surprise, silencing these thoughts has been easier than I anticipated.
Simply knowing and believing that the man I married is trying his best, and holding myself accountable to do the same, has freed me from tendencies to blame and wallow. If you’ve ever felt the same mentality as mine creeping in, strive to stop worrying about what is fair and what he should do for you because you already did x and y for him. Give like there isn’t a bottom of the barrel. Love like a hero who doesn’t need rescuing!
About the Author: Sarah Sliviak Sabo is a mother of three beautiful girls pretending her tiny, overpriced apartment is a log cabin. Most of the time it works. She is the owner of Be Not Afraid Learning LLC, a tutoring business.