Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Brokeness on the Mend

When I was growing up, parents had plastic on couches and baubles and trinkets and breakables everywhere. They didn't believe in moving things because the kids were taught "do not touch" at an early age.

One day, Twin2 and I were horsing around in the living room, a sacred place where we were told, was made for sitting and keeping neat and clean. (Obviously, my mom wasn't around or else there is no way we would've been in there in the first place.) Somehow, someone (probably Twin2) kicked over a tall vase/bauble that sat on an end table. It fell on the carpet and broke. I remember how all of a sudden, everything moved in slow motion. All I could think about was the spanking we were both going to get. But, with a little bit of brainstorming, and lots of Elmer's glue, we somehow put the tall monstrosity together again...minus a slightly small chip that we never found. We placed the vase back on the end table and turned it so that the best side was showing.

I remember the feeling of relief when my mom would pass by the bauble and not notice where it was glued together. That is, until one day, she yelled, "Who broke my vase!!!???" I remember feeling flushed and looking at my sister for help. There was no lying to get out of it. The obvious had hit us square in the face.

We were punished, I'm sure, for breaking the vase. I have no idea how we thought we could pretend that something broken was like new.

Life is like that too. Both J and I come from past marriages where there was brokenness. Together, we have come to realize that in order for our marriage to "make it", we have to acknowledge the brokenness from the past. Sure, it can be glued and we can pretend as if there weren't issues that needed to be dealt with but that would only mean bringing some of those damaged areas into our relationship now. So, together we have learned to do the following:

  • Talk, talk, talk so more about the past so that healing can take place and our relationship will not hit those same hardships.
  • Look at things from a realistic view. When things seem to be out of control and out of our hands, we need reinforcement. Reinforcement from God, family, friendship, fellowship and time alone.
  • Honesty - complete honesty. The biggest catalyst to a break in a marriage is the "little white lie". The "little white lie" may be thought to be little, but it is like a spark that can be the cause of a huge forest fire. Talk about feelings, disappointments, fear and longings and listen, really listen to what is being said.
  • Own up to your mistakes. Blame pushing has become the norm to most relationships. It's so easy to say, "Yeah, if you hadn't done "this or that" then I wouldn't have done what I did." Take responsibility and practice saying (even if it's alone or in front of a mirror) "I was wrong."
  • Look on the inside. It's easy to see something from the outside but try eating an Oreo cookie from the outside, while trying to to save the inside....not possible. Sometimes, you have to work your way from the inside out. Not everything is as it appears to be. Go deeper and explore. There are treasures waiting to be opened.
  • Just "be". J and I were driving the other day and the radio was background noise. Finally, he asked, "Does it bother you when I don't have anything to say?" I looked at him and said, "Sometimes, words aren't needed when we're together." I mean that. I have found joy in just being.
  • Forgive. Both ex-spouses will be a part of our lives as long as there are children involved. Recognizing that what existed then, no longer exists now. Let go of anger, sadness, hurt, and devastation. Embrace moving forward. What used to be no longer is.
Although the broken/mended vase is long gone by now, I'm thankful for the reminder of it. It has taught me that in my brokenness there is hope.


Mari said...

Simone - you are a wise woman! You not only have learned from your past experiences but you are sharing them. I really liked this post. :)
PS - my sister broke a vase when I was supposed to be watching her and we glued it together too. My mom didn't figure it out for some time. We must have done a good job because she even cleaned it and never noticed. When she did figure it out, we didn't get in trouble because enough time had passed that she thought it was funny!

Nezzy said...

Sounds like you and J have both earned your degree in the College of Hard Knocks.

Very insightful and wise advice sweetie!!!

I took my little girl self into the livin' room with my cereal snack and spilled it...blamed it on the dog...Mom didn't buy that one either. Heeehehehe!

Have a brightly blessed day sweetie!!! :o)

Lin said...

Every marriage is hard work and needs constant attention. There are always stress cracks, but it is the glue you use that determines whether or not it makes it.

Who hasn't broken something and tried to glue it together??? I think we all have.

Anita said...

Keep doing what you're doing. Communicating and being honest, and you'll get through the "year of adjustment" without too many bruises; bruised feelings that is. :)

Brian Miller said...

some very wise stuff here in regards to dealing wiht the past brokenness so that you move forward...it def leads to a much healthier life together...

Terra said...

learning from the past and moving forward in a better place is so so important and not always easy

Formerly known as Frau said...

I think that it is amazing how you both are so insightful and working so hard to move forward together. I love that and see success and a love like no other.

Helene said...

It's wonderful that you two have been able to heal from the past and move forward together.

I came into my relationship with my husband with a lot of unresolved baggage and it took years for me to finally trust him. It's so difficult to let go of the past sometimes but I've learned it's the only way to heal and move forward.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Isn't is surprising how much we learn along the road of hard knocks? You've grown so much, Simone. It sounds like you are truly doing okay :-)
xo jj

Leslie Payne said...

What an encouragement to read the honesty in your writing so that others may also learn. That's what it's all about.

Just Stuff From a Boomer said...

You are always so brave to let us into your life like you do. I think too, the older we are and the more broken we have been, when we get married the more we appreciate our new life. I know I appreciate my guy that I married at 31 after a bad first experience. We are celebrating 30 years married, this month.

I wish many many more for you too.

Sweet Tea said...

We're all broken, to one degree or another. We all need to work on relationships, don't we? Whether spouses, parents, friends, or siblings. What great, wise ideas you have for making things work. Kudos!

Menopausal New Mom said...

Wonderful advice on making a marriage work. I find listening is the key for me. As long as my husband validates or listens to what I say, I'm pretty good. If I feel he's ignoring me or not listening, that's when "all hell breaks loose" for me in the marriage.

Oh, and hearing that golden phrase from him "Yes dear." goes a long way to making our marriage work :)

Jill said...

Great advice! Hope you are doing well!


Anonymous said...

I think that's great advice for anyone going into a long term relationship such as a marriage, whether it's their first or their tenth. Thank you.

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

I always love your presepctive...and I always enjoy your words...You are a jewel

Rae said...

Wise and profound advice. You have learned a lot along the way. It sounds like your new hubby is a real gem and you are a blessing to one another.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Excellent advice, Simone. As a newlywed with three young stepchildren (and two kids of my own in their 30s as well as two grandchildren)I know first-hand that your words are true.

Beautiful post!


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