My husband and I have been fighting all week. We finally talked things out and made up last night, but the week has been pretty crappy for the most part. Also I’m extremely tired. I’m not saying any of this as a complaint, just as an intro into what this crappy week has taught me. Papa said not to complain. I’m trying Papa, I’m trying.
There are just some things that they don’t teach you in RCIA or in Marriage Prep Classes. I’ve learned a lot of them in the last 4 years. I’ve learned even more in the last week.
First, living a faithful Catholic life in this fallen world is hard. Being a Christian today is not for wimps. It is a constant process of self-examination for me. I am constantly realizing that I have somehow gotten off the path and started going in the wrong direction. I have to humble myself and turn back around. It feels like I might not ever make it Home, but then I remember that Jesus is not a liar and He promised to always be there to help when things get hard as long as I keep putting one foot in front of the other, He will guide me Home.
Second, I learned that fighting as a Catholic couple is also hard. I have been programmed all my life on how to fight with people in all the wrong ways, and it has always ended up very bad. I don’t really know at what point I began to act out in rages, but I remember being very little and screeching at my mother that I hated her. I’ve pulled phone cords out of walls and broken all kinds of things when I get angry. I have ruined relationships with people I care about because of how out of control I can be when I get angry.
My kids have suffered a lot as well by having to be around a lot of screaming and yelling in their life. It was at its worse when I drank uncontrollably. Grey Goose was not a good mix when I was mad. I have no real clue on how to respectfully discuss issues with someone in a calm and rational way. Since my conversion it has gotten much better, but this past week proved to me that I still need a lot more work.
I also need help. In a world that says that when your spouse is no longer making you “happy” you can just divorce him and find someone else, it is difficult to be a faithful Catholic spouse. For me it is hard to be a faithful Catholic period, because our faith isn’t based on how we “feel”. My first instinct is always to pack my stuff and move out. It is always my goal to move, and that makes my husband feel terrible. Then he gets angry and says things that make me feel terrible and before you know it we are having WWIII and hate each other’s guts. The one thing that is different with Stacey is that I actually love him.
I don’t just love the idea of him and the fantasy of having a perfect married life, but I love who he is. I love how he laughs, how he smiles, how he calls me “darlin’” with his Texas accent, how he loves to talk about bugs, and many other things. I love him, even when he gets on my nerves. All it takes is a one second thought of life without him and I am reminded how grateful I am to have him as my husband. I quickly start trying to figure out what is wrong and praying for God to step in so that I never live a day in the rest of my life without the love of my life. I start looking at myself to see what exactly can I do to fix things about myself that have contributed to whatever we are fighting about. That is not easy for me because I am a blamer. I blame everything for my actions naturally. It takes intentional action to try and figure out my faults.
Marriage is hard. Disagreements with your spouse are hard. They do not really teach you how to fight in Marriage Prep. And who would listen? In marriage prep there is a lot of giggling about how you are never, ever, ever, going to fight. I think that is why Catholic couples still end up divorced and that is part of the issue with the breakdown of marriage and the family. We are called to be the witnesses of what Marriage is, and so the Evil One works hard to break up our marriages so that we can’t do that. We need marriage prep that is solid about the issue of divorce. We need marriage prep that shows couples how to fight. The fact is that every couple fights, but how do they fight and how do they forgive and resolve those fights is the question. What is the right way to resolve conflict as Christians? The idea of being a door mat isn’t Christian, and neither is shouting insults at your spouse. So what is the answer? Hell if I know. Any good advice is very welcome.
God did give me an attitude adjustment by reminding me what I vowed when I stood on that altar and just how I have been failing to keep those vows by putting things on my priority list where they do not belong. But I still could use some advice on how to not allow myself to take everything my husband says wrong and how not to let my past hurts rule my life and relationship with a man that I love more than words.
Two steps forward, ten steps back. That is how my life with Jesus feels this week. Thank God that He stays by my side with every step.
St. Michael the Archangel Pray for Us!
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