I remember the exact place and moment she said it. It was early in our marriage, she had arrived home late after the train she was travelling home on broke down. She was at her wits end in our marriage and in the heat of the moment, the words I extracted from my wife’s mouth were “I hate you.”
It’s strange how she has told me she loves me a thousand times since then and yet I can still remember the one and only time she told me she hated me.
Human nature is like that, we tend to hang onto the negative and let go too quickly of the positive. Imagine if we celebrated the victories for as long as we sat in the defeats.
I thought that my marrying Lenore as a 19 year old boy was just too good to be true and sooner or later she was going to up and leave.
I treated her like she would, and my actions towards her were in response to that belief.
Ultimately, I got her to say what I believed she thought. It was not what she thought or believed but I could not accept that she loved me and so I pushed her away. There was no way, I believed, that this could be real and forever.
I’m sure there are reasons in my childhood that fuelled this emotion. I was afraid that one day I would come home and she would not be there. It was what my mum did to my dad when I was 13 years old. He came home from work and we had deserted him and our home (I now know mum had very good reasons but I was just a kid).
Even when it came to our finances, I was riddled with insecurity. Lenore earnt more than me and I thought I wasn’t experienced enough or bright enough to handle our finances, so left all of that responsibility to Lenore.
I feared failure, not just in and of itself but also because of what it would look like.
I was incapable of believing my wife’s love for me because of my own fear and insecurity.
With those emotions manifesting on a daily basis, our marriage could not win.
Lenore was sowing good seed into the poisoned soil of my heart.
That’s why today my challenge to you is to not look at other’s responses or behaviours as much as you look at your own heart and behaviour.
If you can be honest about your own condition then maybe the good seed of others will find soil to thrive in.
I can tell you today, whatever state your relationships are in, you can overcome fear, insecurity and failure. How can you do that?
- Realise that no one person on earth is identical and we all respond differently. You do not need to be a product of your past.
- Face your insecurities so that change can take place. I had to share my fears with Lenore so we could work through them.
- Understand that everyone who lives and breathes will sometimes fail. Failure is just another way of moving forward in life.
- Marriage is the joining of two imperfect people and it can get better if you are willing to work at it. Sometimes that includes seeking help from a counsellor.
- Love yourself so others can love you.
- Find unconditional love in God’s love for you.
Three painful years of marriage out of 36 years was well-worth it. Trust me, the plates will stop flying if you are both willing to change. I am so thankful we did that together.
No matter your start, you can have a better tomorrow.