Thursday, November 7, 2013

Undercurrents.

     In any relationship, I've come to realize that there is a deeper, more primal dialogue happening beneath each interaction. There are undercurrents that swell and toss about, and they define our perceptions about others. This has been a profound realization during Hannah and I's healing process, but sadly, I have so often failed to see the gravity of it.

    In Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller, the author says that there's a conversation beneath every conversation, and I believe that's true.  Whether we are discussing the weather, entertainment choices or food options, we are also perceiving how a person feels about us. Do they like me? Do they care? Do they understand? These are the seemingly child-like concepts that arise from our interactions with others, regardless of the topic at hand.

   In these unspoken, often-unappreciated discourses, we send and receive signals about a person's worth and their value in our lives. It's the music of the conversation that matters.  In light of my horrendous actions, the stakes are raised higher and the implications become even more severe.

    There are countless consequences that come along with infidelity. Like a thousand tiny fractures, they cause friction and damage in every possible area, from the spiritual, to the romantic, and even in matters of finance. Everything is impacted. Although the cost of unfaithfulness is great and it's effects are complex, there is one simple question that we struggle with more than anything.

"Does my husband like me?"

    Hannah's mind taunts her with this question. It concludes, in the dark and freezing shadow of my actions, that I despise her and that she's unworthy of affection or adoration. This question can very quickly leave her feeling unwanted and unappreciated.

    This question is a vicious battlefield, because in the madness of daily life, paying bills, and cooking meals, the undercurrents can quickly turn against us.  If I lose my temper, speak crossly, act in harshness, or remain distant, my actions speak a larger and simpler truth about how I feel about Hannah. I've learned this through a shameful amount of trial and error. I must do more than shower her with words of affection and monologues of penitence. I must prove to her, in the unseen places of our hearts, that I like her, want her, and treasure her.

   As I continue to hear stories of marital strife and difficulty, I must conclude that these heart postures play a pivotal role in whether a couple struggles or thrives.  Today, if you are facing challenges with your spouse, examine the simple questions that you both answer and ask beneath the surface. Do they like me? Are we friends, or enemies? Do I value or despise them? These foundational matters define us, and they can ruin us as well.

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