It seems we’re all in agreement that yes, we probably shouldn’t run here and there and everywhere telling every single woman we encounter about the last horrible, inexcusable thing that our rotten, no-good husbands did to us without any provocation whatsoever. (Ahem.)
We also seem to be in agreement that bottling everything up inside is probably a recipe for disaster. I don’t know about you, but if I never get to air my grievances to a trusted friend then they all come out in a rush of overly-carbonated fury hell-bent on taking my husband down once and for all.
I know y’all are all much more composed, compassionate, and caring than me, but I get all Wicked Witch of the West when I’m mad. (With a little less impulse-control.) It’s not pretty.
Once upon a time she was on retreat and decided to consult a monk known for his wisdom and faithfulness for this habit she and I had (er, have) where we share our hearts with one another when we’re feeling tested. (Yeah, you can go ahead and read between the lines there.)
God bless that sweet monk because he quickly assured her that our trash talking was absolutely fine and something to be embraced! “Carry on, girls!” said he!
No, what he said was that she and I are currently in a pretty high-stress phase of life and that we do need a “pressure release valve.” He said that there is absolutely a time for venting as long as you watch out for sin and don’t let it get out of control.
Which was a huge relief. Because I do need that in my life. And so does my marriage.
After I wrote last week’s post, I started to think about the ways in which my friendship with Jen has blessed my relationship with Dan. For those of you who are still seeking that kindred spirit or have reservations about someone you’re currently confiding in, here’s how she builds up my union and helps me to be a better wife during times of trial:
- She believes in my marriage and wants to see it thrive. Every piece of advice she gives is to that end. For example…
- She never tears down my husband. Ever. She listens with compassion, she commiserates a little, and then she gently helps me to see what good intentions or stressful situations may be motivating my husband’s behavior. She points out certain personality traits of mine that might be clashing with his so that I can better understand that this is more an issue of our dealing with things differently than of him being a terrible human being (just kidding, love bug).
- She never betrays my trust. She understands that everything I tell her is in the strictest confidence and she respects that.
- She makes me laugh. Nothing cuts tension better than that.
- She doesn’t covet drama and sincerely desires a return to peace when Dan and I are struggling.
- She really likes my husband. She knows that he is a good guy and in some ways I think she gets him better than she gets me given that they both have artistic temperaments.
- She never fails to steer me toward forgiveness and contrition. And somehow she does this without ever making me feel judged. It’s really quite something.
I don’t tell her everything about my marriage and she doesn’t tell me everything about hers. But she is always there for me and truly, I would be lost without her friendship.
All this is to say that we all need support as we try to navigate this wondrous and complicated little thing called marriage. We just need to make sure we pick the right people to invite into our corner.
(Oh, and our friendship is a mere five years old and an answer to fervent prayer so please don’t despair if God hasn’t yet brought someone like this into your life. Just keep pestering him about it. He loves that.)
(Oh, and speaking of Jen, the last episode of her reality show, Minor Revisions, airs tonight! More details here. It’s a must-see!)