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.