Recently I was beautifying a wedding party, elbow deep in mascara and lipgloss, and the women that sat in my makeup chair began asking me how I met my husband. I love this question. In fact, it is one of my most favorite questions to ask anyone. Most people light up without even realizing it when you ask them how they met their spouse. They could be married for 30 years, and the light shines in their eyes when they begin thinking of that moment in their lives.
And of course, the same thing happened to me. I love telling others how I met my husband in the most unusual place and at the worst time. My divorce wasn't even final when I met my husband, and honestly it took more than his cute face to even get me to talk to him. I describe our meeting as a divine intervention, because honestly it was! But that day I was asked about James and I meeting? Well that very morning, James and I had the worst argument. And I sat there describing how I knew God had placed him in my life, my heart was heavy at my own behavior toward him that morning.
Fairy tales often end with the "happily ever after." But what happens when the 'happily ever after" actually begins, you know, when real life sets in? When two people who love each other more than they ever though was possible suddenly get caught in the stress of children, bills and the mundane tasks that life requires? What happens when we refuse to let go of our past hurt, and realize that doing so is causing havoc on our current relationship? I can handle the mundane of life, but that whole our past follows us...well that's a whole other thing. A thing that I tend to not want to deal with, like ever.
Our past is so hard to let go of. It is a comfortable place where when we look back on it, most of the time we can only recall the good times. How true is that about past relationships? We may have had the absolute worst, unhealthy relationship but when we recall it in our minds, we only remember the good moments. Every time my now ex-husband and I separated, and it was 5 times over a 10 year marriage, I could only recall the good about it and how safe it felt. Because in our dysfunction, unhealthy, toxic situations start to feel safe and familiar.
My 10 year marriage that is now over, broke my heart on so many levels. I lived wounded, broken and bitter for most of those 10 years. It was a very disfunctional relationship that sucked every ounce of life from me. I made it a habit to shut down emotionally to protect myself. Feeling nothing was better than feeling pain. I learned how to operate, function and mother my kids in a protective shell, hiden from the person that hurt me the most. In that wounding, I made many of my own dysfunctional behaviors a permament habit in dealing with all other relationships.
Enter James....I call James my soul mate and I mean it! I know without a doubt that God hand picked him for me, and dropped him into my life at just the right time. Just as I know the sun will rise and set each day, I KNOW he and I are meant to be together. But if I'm going to be honest here, the beginning of our new life together has not always been smooth sailing. In fact, we have had some turbulent days. I would love to say it all falls on him. but the truth is...my past has been making itself present in my current relationship. I have found myself more times to count, reacting and operating from my past woundings from my first marriage.
And those habits, that are so familiar to me are wrecking havoc on my God-sent newer relationship. I find myself reacting irrational to situations and conversations over and over again. James and I have been in a period where my past is CONSTANTLY interfering with my future. The smallest misunderstanding between us is filtered in my heart through deep canyons of pain and the need to defend. I am always on the defensive. In every misunderstanding or arguament so to speak, I find the need to defend my actions. James is so quick to forgive and apologize and to say how he will work on XY or Z, and I place blame, make excuses and don't take personal responsbility. If I were to see a video reel of me in the middle of an arguement I most likely would be grieved by my own actions and decisions. My choices are damaging the gift that was given to me.
When we don't let go of the past, and the pain that is associated with it, we can never fully enjoy or operate to our full potential in the future. It has taken me a really long time to realize this, and yet it seemed so obvious. I think I deep down I have been aware, but just felt too comfortable in my past to let go if it. Because sometimes the ickiness of what we've always known feels more safe than an unknown future. Ain't that the truth?
Today I am making the decision to write down the thoughts that play on repeat in my head. I often hear, "you are not good enough," and "he doesn't accept you for you" in the middle of an argument. I defend, defend, defend my stance, even sometimes when I know I'm wrong. Maybe deep down I believe "well if you admit you are wrong, than he won't accept you." All of those thoughts were true of my first marriage. My ex did not accept me because he couldn't even accept himself. But James, who is confident in who he was created to be? He accepts me. He loves who I was created to be, and encourages me to accept responsibilty. I don't need to every defend myself unnecessarily with him. He is a safe place.
I know if I don't let go of my past relationship it can ultimately destroy the one I am in. I've seen first hand the destruction that can be done when you choose to live and operate in the past. It causes strife and discourse. It locks us into a very narrow way of thinking. We react without thinking, and hurt those around us. God can and will speak TRUTH to the past, but we have to be willing to go there. I have to be willing to feel the pain, recognize it for what it is and then step into my future. It's a process and more times than not more painful than the original hurt. But oh if we can just have the strength and courage to go there...well, the TRUTH will set us free. How do we get to the truth? For me, journaling is helping me through this healing process, and praying and meditating on God's word is un-doing all I've held on to in my dysfunction. I have found counseling to be incredibly helpful. But healing always starts with a decision...1. to go into the pain and 2. to continue to go there over and over and over again until that pain is gone. How do you know when it's gone? You are no longer reacting and triggered.
When you can't let go..well, you are just re-living the past every day in every decision and action. I don't want to stay stuck and I definitely don't want to hurt or destroy my current relationship. I want to watch it grow and protect it. Today I am making a decision....my past will not dictate my future. I will say it again..MY PAST WILL NOT DICATE MY FUTURE! And neither should yours.