Once upon a time my husband, Brian, was this cool guy who drove a big truck and took me out to eat. He made me peel with laughter as we drove out of town almost every weekend to explore new places. I loved watching him play softball one night a week. In our spare time, he would work on a project around the house and I would read. We did our own thing, and then we would do something together. It was wedded bliss.
Then, we had our precious little boy. Our days were consumed with making 852 decisions, and I guess we lost a bit of ourselves. For the most part, we were okay with this. We wanted kids, and we were grateful that we were getting to live out this part of our dream. But, something switched in me. My husband became my lifeline to the outside world. I needed him home by 6:00 every night, or I would lose my mind. I needed him to not have any faults because this mothering thing was so tricky. I needed things to go my way, so that my day would not spiral out of control. For the most part this fit my husband just fine because he was, also, overwhelmed by becoming a parent.
It worked well until the day we decidedly disagreed on a major issue. Then, I started to feel like he failed me. I could not understand how he could not see things my way. Weren’t we supposed to be one? Why would he not just fall in line and do what I wanted? I could not handle him not having it together (and by together, I mean, be just like me).
As I wrestled with this one day in the car on my way home from Target, I was so frustrated. My toddler was babbling in the back as I sat at the intersection of Sunset Rd and Peachtree. I sat there and contemplated leaving. I didn’t know where I was going to go, but I just didn’t want to fight this battle anymore. Then, this quiet thought came into my head and it felt like God was saying, “I am doing a work in Brian, and you are going to have to be quiet.”
This thought was so revolutionary, it switched my entire point of view. I said to that voice, “Wait, what? The fight we are having is because Brian is going through his own thing? This might not have to do with me? You mean we might not learn the same lessons at the same time?” Hmmm. It gave me enough pause and something to consider that I turned left at that intersection and went home.
As I sat quietly over the next few years, praying every time this issue came up, I began to see how God was writing a new chapter in my husband’s life story. I realized, that in some ways, I had nothing to do with his story. I began to see my husband as a person again. He wasn’t just a money maker, a pipe fixer, the equivalent of a ladder to get things on the top shelf, a mechanic, or a disgusting bug catcher.
He is a person who is actually living his own life. He is building a career, making friends, enjoying his hobbies, learning how to be a father, dating his wife, and growing in his walk with Jesus. Most times I need to be a quiet actor in his story. Sometimes I get a speaking part, but mostly he needs to write his own story. Our stories are intertwined. Our stories are dependent on each other. However, at the end of our lives, we will both have our own story to tell. Some stories will involve each other. Many stories will draw from the assumption that we were in each other’s background, but most stories will be uniquely our own.
There is beauty in this uniqueness because it helps us to bring one-hundred percent of ourselves to each other. Instead of me molding him into a mini-me or a puppet that says my words, I need him to do his own exploring. He needs to listen to the Holy Spirit on his own. I need to give him permission to be imperfect, so he can organically grow and experience grace.
- What is your husband’s story?
- Can you be brave and allow your husband to write his own story?
- How can you give your husband space to be his own person?
- Where do you need be in the background to let him shine?
- Where can you speak good and strong words into his life that will build up his life experience?
This does not solve problems, but it breathes space into a marriage that might feel stifled and stuck.
Consider the end-game story. May you capture the vision of you both at 98-years-old looking back on a life rich with experiences, struggles, resolutions, and wisdom. Give your husband the gift of his own story. You might be amazed by what he