Something Old, Something New

Posted: May 12, 2011 in Love and Marriage
Tags: , , , , ,

So what had I done, that got us where we were?  It was as much a question of what I hadn’t done, as what I had.  There are sins of omission and sins of commission.  We all do things we shouldn’t and later wish we hadn’t.  There are also those things we know we should do, but we don’t.  Both are part of being human and imperfect. 

When they happen as a momentary lapse in judgement, or in a moment of weakness, they are easier to understand and, perhaps, to forgive.  When they happen over a long period of time, or with intent, they are much more difficult to excuse, because the damage they cause is deeper and more significant.

In talking with my wife last Spring, I finally just asked her, “Does this go back to what happened with ________ ? (For the juicy details, visit the disclaimer page.  In other words, you’re not getting any, so focus on the point here).  She said yes, it did.   She was still hurt (even though I thought we had made up and moved on) for a variety of reasons.  She told me she could no longer trust me, and that fact that I had never admitted anything or owned up to my indiscretion was a wound that wouldn’t heal. 

While I’m sure that was true, and I would never make light of it, I began to see that long before that, I had already been on a path that would ultimately destroy our love.  When we got married, I was the person she not only loved romantically, but looked up to spiritually.  She believed me to be a man of God, who would lead and protect her always.  In those days, that is what I strived to be.  It was only years later, when I turned my back inwardly (while keeping up appearances outwardly), that the erosion of trust began.

I was also her fitness instructor prior to dating her, and fitness was a big part of both of our lives.  As the years went by, I became lazy and neglectful in that area, also.  That in no way caused her to stop loving me, but it altered the roles in that part of our relationship.  I didn’t care enough about myself to stay healthy, so I couldn’t care for her in the ways I had promised to.

Perhaps most significantly, she had told me over and over, for years, that she wanted to be cherished.  For her to have to come out and say that, even once, is an indication that my love for her was not the kind we spoke of in our wedding vows.  And how did I respond?  I failed to do anything differently.  I ignored her desperate pleas to be loved the way she was meant to be. 

I made it my quest to begin, from the moment of realization, to cherish her in all things.  In the way I looked at her.  In the way I talked to her.  In the way I honored her in front of others.  In the way I lived my life. 

I began to proudly display pictures of her.  I began to speak highly of her to others.  I bought her gifts that showed I really cared.  In short, I began to treat her like I was “in love” with her and that she was the most special person on the planet to me.  And I began to use the word “cherish” in talking to her.

Interestingly enough, while the actions paid huge dividends over time, the word almost seemed to have the opposite effect.  Telling my wife, “I cherish you,”  never got any positive response. 

Somehow, a new word emerged that seemed to please her heart.  That word is treasure.  She had asked me to cherish her and I hadn’t.  She didn’t ask me to treasure her, but I did.  And when I would tell her that she was my treasure, or how much I treasured her, it began to melt away the cold and bring us closer again.

Sometimes restoration means taking something old and making it like new again.  Sometimes it means replacing something old that can’t be repaired with something new.  In this case, it meant getting to know my wife’s heart on a deep enough level to understand what she needed and then provide it for her.

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