This is one of the hardest posts I have had to write to date. I think because I am right in the middle of this chapter in my journey, I feel incredibly vulnerable talking about it. But that is what freedom means to me. Vulnerability and willingness... And to remain sweet through it all. So here goes...
Eighteen months into my marriage (5 years ago), something broke between Chad and I. I remember falling to my knees, feeling completely ruptured on the inside and not being able to fathom how I could –how we would survive it. There had only been a few times in my life where I had experienced brokenness, and this surpassed them all.
It was during this time we formed some far from healthy habits to cope. I would often dwell on the negative and wallow in feelings of worthlessness. I started chanting the tune of lovelessness. I would accuse Chad of not loving me enough, as though I loved him more. The sad thing was, I was pushing my husband away.
He was afraid to be vulnerable with me, because I was so raw and emotionally unstable. So he would try to lighten things up, but it left me feeling like our relationship was shallow.
We were willing to do whatever we needed in order to heal, and become whole again. So we worked incredibly hard on ourselves and our relationship. But it wasn't until I realised something dreadful in myself that I really started chasing change!
It was a sudden awareness that hit me like a wall of concrete... I was an abusive person in my relationship with Chad (his silent nightmare). Emotionally manipulative and verbally abusive. I didn't know at the time why I was that way, but upon seeing myself like that, I never wanted more to be the change in our relationship; to find redemption and a fresh perspective; freedom.
Today, we are still learning (of course). But we have come a long way, and our marriage is stronger than it has ever been. I no longer try to control our relationship with abusive and manipulative behaviour, and he is learning how to love me without walking on egg shells.
I have discovered though, that whenever I feel vulnerable I am tempted to walk on that old battered path of lovelessness. My lips curl around those words far too easily "you don't love me as much as I love you". Just recently, life has once again brought me to my knees, and I have never been more vulnerable. And of course, the lovelessness has felt strong.
One night while laying in bed, tossing and turning, I gave up on trying to find sleep, and looked for something to read. I came across this article about a single guy searching for wisdom and truth on genuine, real love. I was skeptical when I clicked on the link...
As I started reading I found myself nodding in agreement to the wisdom and advice on love that this guy had gathered from couples all over the world. He had searched far and wide to find people who were undoubtedly in a wholesome and loving relationship. He didn't discriminate... He unpretentiously found love between people, and then asked of their wisdom. Most of what I read I could already recognise in my own relationship with Chad, as we have always tried to live by similar principles... Until I came across this:
I felt myself break into a million pieces, tears streaming down my face as I read that small and simple piece of advice from that old lady in Georgia.
As I wept, I could feel a huge sigh of relief leaving my body. Of course, it made so much sense. For as long as I can remember, I have been riddled with a fear of being the one who loves the most. Only now was I seeing it for the first time as the chain holding me back. Those chains fell to the floor that night.
My relationships have always been based on a calculation of love. Every move is watched and carefully noted... Exhausting! My abusive behaviour, the bottomless pit Chad could never fill, the worthless feelings... It derived from a fear, which became my reality. I would push love away because I thought I never had it.
I made a new commitment to freedom that night. To take responsibility for my love, instead of placing it in someone else's hands. I can't make anyone love me, but I can choose who I love. And I can choose to believe I am loved despite the frailty of our behaviour towards each other. The choice to love without reservation is setting me free! Oh to love without fear of no return, to not be afraid of being the one who loves the most, that is a high calling.
Nothing or no one can take away your love! You can choose in what and whom you place your love, and that is one of the most powerful examples of freedom I know. And it doesn't matter if you are married or not, there is always opportunity to love. Love your family, love your friends, and to love those in need of connection around you.
This is still a huge journey I am on. Fear doesn't just disappear over night. I know this will require time and a diligent spirit. In fact, since starting to write this post, I have come up against many "missed the mark" moments in trying to live out this newfound freedom of love. But I am willing, and I will keep at it. Positive change is on the way.
Love Heids Xx
You too can make a commitment to freedom! It doesn't have to be a big, spectacular "bells-&-whistles" kind of plan for change... Just a small one will do, as long as it brings a positive shift in your world so you can walk towards freedom for yourself, and those around you!