About a year and a half ago a friend came for a visit and with her she brought a copy of this beautiful book as a gift. While I was immediately drawn to its title, its gorgeous colors, its whimsical layout, after reading the introduction, I knew I wasn’t quite ready to tackle it just yet. Instead I put it into my nightstand drawer and would occasionally bring it out just to look at it and put it right back where I found it.
A couple of weeks ago, when my marriage had hit rock bottom and I was suddenly sent into a fit of despair, I got it back out. At the same time, a dear anonymous friend dropped by with a copy of this little book. Combine the arrival of the book with the state of my marriage and the fact that I had recently been leaving church not only feeling unfulfilled but actually more stressed out than when I had arrived and I knew that I was on a spiritual journey.
It was time to get out the book and actually start doing the work.
So far I have only completed two of the forty days. I’ve been taking a week for each concept. And that’s okay. Because during the first week, when I was meditating on truth, some major eye opening occurred for me. I had a break through and a truth was revealed to me.
A truth that has changed how I view myself, those around me, and my husband.
During the week, while I was meditating on truth, something very important was revealed to me.
For years I’ve been hung up on the many needs my husband wasn’t meeting for me. I have a deep need to be approved of, to be adored, to be complimented (especially on my talents such as my mothering, my writing, my cooking), and to be told I am smart and capable. My husband has never fulfilled these needs for me. I don’t know if it’s because he doesn’t feel like being complimentary or if he doesn’t see me as adorable, smart, a good mother, etc, or if he’s simply in such a pit of his own despair that meeting the needs of someone else is too much.
Regardless of the reason, I’ve spent years constantly reminding God that I needed those needs to be met. I mean, I’ve read the verses in the Bible telling me how great and special I am. But let’s get real, those verses weren’t written with me, Mandy, in mind. You might argue otherwise but it won’t change how I feel about it. I need validation from someone who is setting out to validate ME, from someone who knows and loves me. Well, after the years and years of feeling unworthy, unsmart, unpretty, ungoodenough, God revealed to me that He’s been using the other people in my life to fulfill that need. Um… yeah… I mean, Duh. Right?
My friends think I’m smart, I’m beautiful, I’m a good mom, a good cook, a good writer, a brilliant artist worthy of praise and admiration.
My children think I’m pretty, funny, awesome, capable, and a supermom.
And there you have it. There are tons of people in my life who, on a daily basis, are meeting this need. It’s quite simple. I have a need. God is meeting it through his children. He is using my friends and my kids to fill up that hole. Any idiot could see that. Any idiot but me, apparently.
It was wrong of me to expect my husband to meet that need alone. I have spent all of my teenage and adult years expecting a romantic relationship to fix me, to complete me. I’ve gone from boy to boy to boy thinking, “Oh, this is the one who will make me unbroken.” It didn’t work. It didn’t happen. It never will.
While the idea of my husband coming to a space where he sees me as beautiful and smart and a brilliant writer and a hilarious comedian and an amazing cook and the best mom in world sounds appealing, it’s no longer my life line. If he is never able to meet that need, I’ll be okay. And I won’t check out emotionally and leave the marriage over it any more. Instead, I’ll focus on the needs he IS meeting. Important ones. Like providing for me and my children. And giving my kids an awesome dad. And supporting us in our homeschool journey. And loading me up on hugs and kisses and tv watching companionship. He’s meeting SO MANY of my needs.
And I’ll just let God take care of the needs my husband isn’t able to meet right now.