Friday, April 11, 2008

The Expert on Me

Here it is. The long awaited revelation from the shower.

I have to say first that it is really not uncommon for God to speak to me in the shower. This is for a couple of reasons. 1) He's got my as-undivided-as-it-gets attention. Think about it...lather, rinse, repeat...I've got it down, doesn't require much thought. And 2) I ask Him to.

So, I was rambling on and on. And on. Trying to understand my own feelings. Attempting to pinpoint exactly what I was struggling with because all I really knew was that I was struggling. In the end I felt at peace with the conclusion that what was bothering me was that I felt that my husband was not being sensitive to me. (Don't panic yet, Gary, this is not the part that God spoke to me!)

Once I recognized just what the issue was, I did the next logical thing. I started whining about it. He's being selfish. He's not being thoughtful. I don't matter at all. God I just want him to focus on me for a change and try to understand me and be sensitive. Sensitive to my needs, my pain, my struggles. Yeah, can you see why God had to say something? I was getting nowhere on my own!

He started with a question that ended my whining immediately.

"If you are learning that you need to focus on Me and only Me, why exactly do you feel that your husband should focus on you and only you?"

Good question, huh?

Out went the whining and I pondered the thought.

Going back to the beginning of my struggling with my struggle. I have a desire to be understood. To be considered. To be given what I need when I need it, for healing, for growing. To have my pain, my struggles, my doubts, fears, and concerns, seen and reacted to with sensitivity. I decide that it is my husband who is supposed to treat me this way because he loves me. And then I'm frustrated and feeling hopeless as I hear from all sorts of different sources that men are just not sensitive like women are. Where does that leave me then? Stuck. Stuck with a husband who can't be what I need because he's a man and I can have no hope that he can or will be able to meet my needs.

But something about that bothers me. (This is where you can really start feeling better, Gary, because I'm about to stand up for men.) Why can't men be sensitive? I am fully aware that we are different and I'm am fine with that. I know that when I have a heart to heart with Gary it will always be different than the way I have a heart to heart with a girlfriend. And I'm okay with that. But to be sensitive to be mindful of me and what I'm going through and then act accordingly in words and actions...I just can't believe that men are not capable of that.

So, I want a husband who is sensitive to, and meets, my needs. And now I am convinced that I can actually have that, despite what some people think about men.

This, then, takes me way back to counseling sessions where I was told that I needed to figure out what I need and tell my husband or he couldn't meet my needs. It made perfect sense but it flooded me with panic! What do I need? What do I ask for? What the heck do I do if I don't know! God made a very, very good observation at this point. "You are not the expert on you." He knit me together, He formed me. He knew my needs before I existed. He took care of my needs before I existed. I only know I am in need of Him because He revealed it to me. He is the expert on me.

By this point I can clearly see two different ways to approach my marriage.

1) I can feel needy and demand that my husband focus his attention on me, figuring out my needs and then meeting them in just the right way. I can then focus on me, because he'll need help figuring out my needs and being the expert on me that I am, I can surely enlighten him. (Notice, by the way, that in this first scenario both of us are focused on me. Yeah, I can't figure out why this won't work.)


2) I can feel needy (yes, in both scenarios, I will be needy, sorry honey) and focus on God, seeking Him and lifting up my husband in prayer that he and I will both be more sensitive. Not to each other but to the Spirit. Because the truth is, He is the expert on us and if we are sensitive to His leading we can truly begin to recognize our own needs and meet each other's needs. Our real, actual needs, not the ones that we, in all our wisdom, think we have.

Isn't God amazing?

And Gary, because I know and love our sense of humor, I'm going to clarify something. This does not mean that we are not supposed to communicate our needs to each other. If I have a computer issue or you find a spider you want dead, let's not just pray that God leads the other to come to the rescue.