Little Magpie: Bill - I find it hard to be gracious about some things. I have found that years of dealing with the same situations/disappointments has hardened my heart
Bill: Little Magpie: Thanks for your honesty. I think your experience is very common and, quite honestly, the expected response. From a human point of view, people's failures, obstinate behavior and foolishness should deeply wound us and cause us to lose faith and hope in them. Grace somehow keeps these things alive and sets the stage for transformation. I don't exactly get it and I think God asked this current group of people to do things nobody has a right to ask. It is, however, working. I am not sure why this group decided to pursue grace when so many others can't quite get there.
Little Magpie: Bill - He will make meals, get fuel in the car, etc. but though I appreciate him doing these things it doesn't speak anything to me.
Bill: Little Magpie: This is, IMO, where the expectation battle is at its most intense. Let me use your description as an example. Your H is expressing love by doing things for you (because this is the language he speaks). You don't feel the love because it is not the language you speak. If you felt free, you would give H gifts to express love. He wouldn't feel loved because it is not his language. As a result, you are both saying, "I love you" but neither of you is hearing this. The best scenario is for each of you to learn the other person's language and speak it often. This would make both of you feel loved and add confidence to all you do. This is a very selfless pursuit, however, and many couples find this difficult. The next possibility is to train yourselves to recognize the love that is being expressed. To use myself as an example, Pam likes to do things for me to let me know she loves me. I would rather have her sit with me, talk over what is going on in our lives and enjoy a relaxing meal or cup of coffee. This often makes her feel restless. On good days, I accept her acts of service as statements of love. On my less than stellar days, I am just frustrated that she "won't" speak my language.
Little Magpie: Bill - on this vein - I was listening to "Live the Promise" and the guest Robia was speaking on "Counterfeit Comforts" and spoke about asking the HS to help. How do you connect with the HS when you are empty??
Bill: Little Magpie: You just connect. We tend to think the Holy Spirit is only interested in helping us when we are doing well and on our game. The reality is He is a constant help to anyone who is humble enough to ask. The other part is, of course, is resting in Him so our ears are open. We all have a tendency to overwork our requests. In other words, we ask and then we strive to find the answer rather than just rest for the answer.
Bill: LM: Since you admitted to "self-destructive" tendencies, what is it like when you picture yourself staying in the situation you are in? What is it like to picture yourself living outside your current situation? Is one better than the other?
Little Magpie: Bill - I don't know. I have hung with him for 25 years at the end of the month and can just as easily keep existing in our broken world though it isn't ideal. I pray for blessings, joy and connection. I just want the depression and oppression gone and want positivity, joy and uplifting. Christian life to surround us, does that make sense? My self destruction has to do with finding ways to medicate to feel good and not in such pain
Little Magpie: Swan and Bill - I guess I should look at him having gotten my vehicle emissions tested and tags in one day as my Valentine.
Bill: Little Magpie: Spot on!
Little Magpie: Bill - okay. Oh, at counseling last night we spoke about Valentine's Day and our wedding Anniversary. He talked to H about making some type of plan since celebrating is important to me. He even suggested that H ask one of the d's to make a reservation some place if he didn't "have time". So, we shall see
Bill: All: Yeah, us guys are relatively simple and prefer situations that we perceive are easy for us. We don't mind complex problems as long as they are "easy for us." When we encounter what looks like a no-win situation we lose motivation to put much into it. Not good, but real.
Little Magpie: Bill - I know I have made lots of mistakes with him and shut him down because I didn't understand. I am trying to make changes to fix things but he does hold my mistakes and judges me by the past. He throws the past in my face all the time.
Bill: LM: I hope you recognize that his "accusations" are defense mechanisms. He obviously wants to be with you but is afraid of getting hurt so he pushes you away. My experience is that these are reactionary tests to see if you will withstand the criticism until trust reemerges. It is a tough process but I don't believe he would have much of a response at all if he wasn't interested.
Little Magpie: Bill - I was a trusting person and I was a loving person but then my skepticism and control, being matter of fact and working on accomplishing tasks made me more stand offish. But, I am starting to want to find out what the triggers and such are that caused all of this. I know some is my MLC and Trauma prior to the MLC.
Bill: LM: Way to go. You can get back to who you "used" to be. You just have to work at it smart. Self-evaluation will help but self-condemnation will not. Forgiving yourself will help, giving up on yourself will not. Identifying steps you can take will help, criticizing yourself will not. We all make mistakes, we all need grace and we can all become who God desires for us to be with His strength working inside us.
Little Magpie: Bill - In a way might that training be what we are getting thru our Couples counseling?? We actually let our guard down a bit last week and it ended up really painful for me. I was blasted with both barrels by my H a couple of times.
Bill: LM: I believe so. Your H is probably opening up more than he ever has which can be exciting and scary all at the same time. New skills are always awkward and the fear of failing will raise defenses. Pray for the grace to accept the fact he is opening up without taking everything personally. Behind what he is saying are the real reasons he is with you and the real reasons he is upset.
Little Magpie: Bill - My Prayer Life needs improvement. H pointed out a lot of OUCH!! Things that I thought I had been improving on and making better but obviously not as much as I had thought. I felt like I had been run over by a steam roller. We talked a little bit on the drive home and then I listened to Adventures in Odyssey to repair and watched TV with YD when we got home and went to bed.
Bill: LM: I don't know how to say this tactfully so please know I am trying to encourage you by the following statements: We all think that sharing feelings is supposed to be a happy, heart-warming experience. In reality, it is very difficult for most people. In fact, most people start out this type of disclosure with reactive statements that are not the real issue to see how the atmosphere is. I am sure your H is doing exactly that. He probably said things to see how reactive, fragile or defensive you would be. If you accepted it and held it as a gift rather than an indictment, it becomes irresistible. It is very hard to do but it is what opens up real intimacy. Please pray for the grace to give him permission to share without thinking that everything he says is a conclusion. More often than not, the hard statements are a cry for help rather than an attempt to push away.
Little Magpie: Bill - he likes the lights and we sometimes take drives to see them but he hates all of the commercialism and that has been a problem for hundreds and thousands of years. The Victorians even commented about that being a problem. I would love for him to embrace showing love and giving physical gifts to his family. He also complains about budget and stuff. We come up with fun things that cost little or nothing but it doesn't help much either.
Bill: Little Magpie: I suspect it all has very little to do with the circumstances. It easier to say there is too much commercialism than say I feel l like a failure because I can't provide what I would like to, or my family manipulated us with gifts which is why I don't like gift giving, etc.