Seen, Known, Loved
I had kept secrets, the kind that I thought I just couldn't tell anyone because I was so afraid I would be rejected. I would share just little snippets of my troubles but hold back that last 2%. And I was dying inside. Dying to be accepted. To really be known. I'm talking the things I wasn't even willing to tell my best friend. I was so full of shame and just believed that letting the story come out would cause way more pain than I was already carrying.
So many of us don't give ourselves completely to our relationships because we have so much fear. What if my worst nightmare comes true? What will happen to me if.....? I'm so inadequate at my job, I'm probably going to get fired any minute. If he really knew what I was thinking he would leave me.
For years I struggled with really allowing anyone to know me. And then I just got tired of pretending. Pretending not to need anyone. Pretending that by hiding I was avoiding more pain. Pretending that hiding kept me safe.
We were struggling in our marriage. To be honest, I thought that I was wanting to be done with it. After 25 years I was tired of hiding all the hurt and pain (so much of it self inflicted because of the lies I believed about myself) and was ready to give it all up. John was "fine", he didn't think there was a problem. Wanting to go to yet another marriage counselor (We went to our first one before we got married, and so many others over the years) seemed to be the last thing anyone would want to do, kind of like, "hey, lets just pull a few of our good teeth while we avoid fixing the decayed ones". . So when I boldly proclaimed that I knew neither one of us was really that "happy" or "fine" and that it was either one more effort with a new counselor where I started to become really honest with myself, John and the counselor or the only other option I thought was available at the time was to seek a divorce attorney (boy I didn't believe that other options were available at the time) well neither one of us were very happy or fine about the entire messed up thing. But we decided to go to someone new and to be completely honest, this new guy looked and sounded like Mr. Rogers and I thought, there is no way John is going to connect with this guy and this probably won't work for either one of us. (I'm glad I was so very wrong-who likes to admit that?).
I started to get real. I confronted all of the pain that had been hidden away. I started to get a little loud about all of it. I was not calm or kind. It was not pleasant and so many times I left that office thinking, yep-this is just not going to work.
I told the counselor that there were certain things I had experienced in counseling before that were not allowed this time around. The issue was I wasn't completely honest the last time around, and I felt wounded when I did speak up so I would just shut down and pretend everything was "fine" again. I needed to be able to be 100% honest in a safe place without someone telling me I needed to just be a more biblical wife. I was angry. And for the first time in our marriage relationship I allowed that anger to come out.