IOne of the biggest consequences of conflict and pain in marriage is the loss of emotional and physical affection.
I recall during the darkest times of Garrick's addiction I not only didn't want him anywhere near me, I didn't want to speak to him or hear his voice.
It was devastating to feel this way inside. I recall the crazy making confusion I felt inside of wanting SOOOOO badly to be close to my husband but feeling SOOOOO hurt and angry it was not even remotely possible.
So now that we have worked through the first 4 steps of forgiveness it is time to move on to step 5 which is learning to reconnect in your marriage. The Song of Solomon is the perfect book to use for this step as the entire book is flooded with depictions of a couple madly in love with one another. They had certainly achieved becoming ONE flesh.
Garrick and I used to share an intensely close relationship, but when the addiction took over this are of our marriage was greatly affected.
Today we are on an uphill fight to regain what Satan came to steal, kill and destroy!!
Garrick shared with me that basically any skin showing on my body is beautiful to him. Now, I thought this was a little excessive, however, he informed me it was very true, even my belly button. He also shared that apparently he could not keep his eyes off my ankles in church today, as that was really the only skin that was appropriate to show in church! LOL
Internally, he shared he loves what he referred to as my innocent and silly sense of humor. He stated that even though he does not find a lot of the same things as funny as I do, he can't help but laugh because I think they are funny!
What I find most beautiful physically about Garrick is his manly physique!! Now, Garrick has been a rough and tough construction worker type since I have known him. Even in High School you saw him in nothing but t-shirts and jean. I told him I am most turned on by him when he is in his dirty construction worker clothes than a three piece suit. That is just him. He is a hard working, strong manly man and that is what I find beautiful about him.
As for internally, it hands down his patience and calmness. In the 20 years I have known Garrick, I am not lying when I tell you, I have NEVER EVER heard him yell or scream in our home. Ever. I know he gets angry and frustrated but he has an uncanny ability to express his anger appropriately. The last few years have not been our norm but as a whole, he has self control with his emotions like no one I have ever known.
Garrick shared that he still feels excitement when he hears my voice and sees me coming. He shared that when he is on the road and gone for a few nights, he gets excited just to hear my voice on the phone or face time.
I shared that my best memory or most recent memory of feeling that excitement to see him or hear his voice was one time in the past few years during the depth of his addiction. It was a Sunday morning and we were getting ready for church. Garrick was not preaching and was also feeling extremely anxious and depressed from withdrawals. He didn't want to go to church. I took the kids and went. We were standing up for worship and began singing when I saw him walk in the back doors. My heart jumped and I ran to him. I remember feeling so excited to see him walk in, especially when I did not expect him.
I also get very excited to see a sweet unexpected texts from him throughout the day!!! AI text with no demands from the world, just a simple I love you or I miss you.
Garrick shared that the only thing that makes him feel separated from me is when I am worn out, tired and exhausted because it makes it very hard to connect with me.
I, on the other hand, struggle more with pulling away with daily stress and/ or marital stress. I have especially struggled throughout Garrick's addiction as it has made me feel "unsafe" which has caused me to self protect and pull away. One of the ways I am beginning to heal from this is to put step 2 in action and placing my faith and trust in God rather than in Garrick. This is allowing me slowly to reconnect with Garrick on every level.
I loved the last scripture that we focused on. "Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it." Song of Solomon 8:7 When we discussed how to keep the spark alive in marriage we both agreed it was imperative to learn to separate our daily stressors from our marriage. Garrick told me he is easily able to do this, as when he has had a bad day he longs to come home to spend time with me. I shared that often I look at him as more of a reprieve coming than my husband coming home.
I shared that part of the struggle in me not being able to separate my day to day stress from our marriage is when I feel like I my feelings are not acknowledged. Garrick is learning to do this much better. Just to listen and understand.
A couple years ago, I gave a mother's day speech at church. I told men that they make things way too difficult. It is actually fairly simple to speak to a woman's heart. I explained that women just need them to have compassion. I told the men to come home with a candy bar or her favorite drink or candy, tell her to go take 15 minutes to herself in her room or hot bath and eat it. Acknowledge her feelings and show her you care. It is that simple.
This is why women most often call women and may choose not to confide in their spouses. Women will take the time to understand and even if they can't completely understand, they will listen, they will extend compassion and they will offer to help in any way they can. They won't try to fix it or make the problem go away, they will just support her and help her to feel as though she is not alone.
For most women... the most painful place to be.... is alone.... with her emotions.
When I know my husband cares, that spark is very hard to put out!!! I love him even more and long to be with him, snuggle with him and feel his arms of protection around me. When I feel he makes no effort to hear me or care.... I want to do bodily harm to his arms!! LOL Joking aside, we agreed the spark is kept alive by a constant intentional striving to hear our spouse, help our spouse and be the extension of Christ in our spouse's life.
We also agreed that another vital thing is to always remember who our spouse is at their core. Why we fell in love with them in the first place and trust in faith that even though the core of who we are can get buried under the stress of life..... it is always there is we dig hard enough.
When life happens.... it can change us...not always for the better. Helping our spouse to remember who they truly are at their core...... is a priceless gift.... with eternal benefits.
Peace and Blessings
Missy and Garrick
Marriage Moments with Missy and Garrick Week 16! Journey to Forgiveness Step 5.... Relearning to Express Our Love.