On October 19th he me asked what day it was. “It’s October 19th”.
Actually on October 19th he asked, “Why are you so mean to me?”
As much as I wanted to blurt out “I am not mean”. This time there was no cheesy self-defense mechanism excuse that could save me. So instead, I said what any mature adult would say.
“I am not mean to you!” and walked away.
Rico and I have had our exchange of words, but this one? This one hurt. It hurt because I had been identified as someone I never wanted to be. A mean wife. And it hurt because for the first time I saw Rico as a person. I hadn’t realize that I had put him into this box of solely being my husband when in fact he is so much more than this one role. He is Rico. And every attack against his shortcomings of being a husband didn’t stop at this role, but pierced through to who he was as a man, a person.
I didn’t know how to say “You let me down” or “I expected more from you” without attacking him with wounding words regarding his character or building this wall around me to shun him out. And even in the times I thought I explicitly said those words, the objective became for him to hurt as much as me.
The irony of it all is that I would never treat a stranger like this. On my worst day I still manage to show compassion to those who wrong me. It seems to be the ones closet to us we become negligent of their humanism because we only want them to function in their role in our life. As if the expectation of who we want them to be should outweigh how we treat them. The revelation of how marriage is quite similar to sanctification becomes more apparent in my life. The role of a husband/wife is accepted by faith that we develop into every day. Because in the end, who really knows how to be married?
Sitting in my conviction of what I have done, I remember hearing “It’s not that you’re mean. You are not gentle”. I immediately became defensive against the spirit (much similar to my defensive nature against Rico) because I didn’t want to become passive or change who I was to appease him, let alone anyone.
To be gentle is to be mindful. To be mindful that my words, my actions have an expected end.
And at the other end of me was Rico.
Since then I’ve had to become intentional about displaying gentleness, which is a weird flex because in my mind I thought I’d mastered this. You know, being kind to people. Selflessly loving. Building up people. Respect! Yet, this is another thing that I am having to kiss goodbye. This whole mean wife syndrome.
In the end no matter how justified I may feel, a soft and gentle and thoughtful answer turns away wrath, but harsh and painful and careless words stirs up anger. [Proverbs 15:1 AMP]
I would love to hear from you and your experience(s)!
1. What does gentleness look like to you?
2. What characteristics hinder you from being gentle?