I could fill you in on the whole sordid affair, but there really isn’t one. It’s not as juicy as you’d think it would be. It’s actually just full of heartbreak and disappointment. But that’s probably true about most things with the grass-is-always-greener idea. You think it will be great until you get there and you see it’s pretty much the same as the other side. Then you realize the problem is in you, not others, and that’s a rough, harsh realization.
The day my friend called my husband and confessed romantic feelings for him ruined a lot of things. It ruined our friendship. It ruined our trust. It ruined play dates and future birthday parties. It ruined the safety we felt in our marriage. Lots of ruins.
I don’t want to rehash the whole messed up story today, but the bottom line is there was no other intention in that phone call than to see how my husband was feeling about her. You don’t call your friends’ husband and tell him you want to be with him because you’re asking for help. You talk with your spouse about those feelings. Or your friend. Or you cry out to God to make these feelings go away and distance yourself from him. You don’t call your married crush, putting out feelers to see if the feelings are mutual.
The weird thing about this whole situation was it never really made me mad. I felt sorry for her. I pitied her and her marriage. I felt that she needed some help. I prayed for her, but I never got mad. I would like to think that shows maturity and grace, but really, it’s been a God thing, not a Mary thing.
Because my husband needed me not to be mad. We’ve had some major obstacles to overcome in our almost-eight years of marriage and one of them is my husband’s tendency to lie. The first few years of our marriage were a lie. The life we were living before I got pregnant with my second daughter was a lie. I just wasn’t in on it at the time.
And when it all came out, there was such distrust and hurt. And lots of years spent rebuilding trust within our marriage. So that day this woman called my husband, his response to her was “This isn’t right and I need to call Mary.” But then he was afraid to tell me, afraid I’d think he had something to do with this, afraid he had acted inappropriately, afraid of my anger and words.
As I think back to that moment, the instant the words came out of his mouth telling me about the phone call he received that day, I wonder why I didn’t get mad. Mad at her. Mad at the situation. Mad at my husband for “letting this happen.” But God handled that for me. He knew I’d mess things up big time in anger. That I’d hurt my husband when it wasn’t his fault. Hurt my marriage by the rash decisions I was bound to make in rage. Accusations and words would come tumbling out that I couldn’t take back and that would never be forgotten.
I tried to get mad, but I couldn’t. We had a really honest conversation (and many more followed), but there was never anger to get in the way. My husband needed to see me react to a bad situation without immediately getting upset. I would have loved a different situation to test out this lesson, this try-not-to-get-immediately-furious reaction, but no one consulted me.
Hot tempers cause fights; a calm, cool spirit keeps the peace. -Proverbs 15:18 (The Message)
It’s amazing what God can do with bad circumstances. If you had told me six months ago that this would happen, I would have predicted a response filled with hatred and revenge. But God is working on us all the time, breaking us, mending us, teaching us, making us more like His image if we ask Him to. And I am, but it still knocks me on my butt to see Him actually do it. It’s not that I don’t trust Him, it’s that I don’t trust my selfish, childish nature. And here He is, in the midst of a “friend” trying to break up my marriage, telling me He’s in charge, trust Him, He has a better way.
And for maybe the first time in my whole life, I’m listening.
Julie Jensen says
Um – that’s insane. I don’t know if I could have had a response with such grace and dignity as you. I love, love your writing! 🙂
Thanks Julie. It was definitely a God thing, I still think about how I would like to get mad and just can’t. That can’t be of me. 🙂
Powerful story of how much grace we can be given in something potentially deadly and how our appropriation of that grace taps into the power of the Holy Spirit in ways we could not have imagined. Thanks for your open reflection and transparency so He can be seen in and through you.
Pam, you’re so right. That was completely of the Holy Spirit–there’s no other explanation. I’m humbled by that power and love.
I really loved reading this today. I have more to say on this, but it feels too tender right now. Thank you for writing.
Brandi, thinking and praying for you and your tender heart today.