I used a very strong word yesterday when I was talking to my husband concerning how I felt about him. I think we try to water down our words sometimes, especially nowadays, because of concerns over not sparing feelings, but I have always tried to be honest with my spouse of nearly a decade. So I used strong words. I told him I hated him. And you know what? It didn’t even bother him one bit.
“I’m glad we’re in a place where we feel the same, understand things the same,” I told my husband, “where I can say that and it doesn’t offend you.”
I believe one of the main problems with marriage, or with any relationship for that matter, is the extravagant value we place on it. And not just the value, but the responsibility. I mean, in all reality it’s totally unfair to place such lofty expectations, such power on another human being. Love is the most wonderful thing in life, but in itself it cannot save you. Love doesn’t change people. Not human love anyway.
My spouse and I had been driving down the road together when I told him that I not only hated him, but also the children. Really, though, it didn’t come out as harsh as it sounds. In fact, it was in love that I spoke such a detachment.
I believe that all of mankind is built with a hole in their heart. Not the kind that requires surgical intervention, but the kind you cannot see. It’s the kind that can only be filled with love and acceptance. The kind that holds you dear no matter your faults or how difficult you may be to deal with.
It’s the kind of longing for love that hurts when a daddy leaves his daughter.
It’s the kind of need for love that makes a young woman seek her worth in the arms of a man.
She ruins relationships with her talons, digging deeper into the flesh of man.
Love me, hold me, make me feel worthwhile.
Don’t leave me.
Tell me that I am beautiful.
When I make mistakes, when I lie, when I drink too much, when I cry for no reason at all…
Love me anyway.
When I make stupid decisions, when I pull away from you, when I text you too much. When I don’t text at all…
Love me anyway.
When I cheat, when I want to cuddle too much, when I cry and beg you not to leave me.
Love me anyway.
In all my faults, with all my clinginess, with all my neediness, with all my unintentional meanness.
Love me anyway.
Don’t you dare die on me! Don’t get sick, or old. Why can’t what we have last forever?
Why does it all have to end? Why can’t your love sustain me, complete me, or take away my pain? I mean, your love is wonderful, it’s amazing, but late at night I still feel alone.
The hole is still there.
It’s the human condition.
My husband and I had been discussing the words of Jesus.
If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple.
I didn’t hate my husband in the sense that most of us think of when we hear the harsh world. I mean, I loved him more than the air I breathed. But he was not my reason for existence. He was my gift, my partner in life, but he could never completely fill the hole in my heart. Only Jesus could do that.
When Christ spoke of hating our family and friends, He meant to hate the worldly attachment. He meant to hate that part of ourselves that wants to place our worth on what others think of us. He meant to hate that part of us that believes we need them to survive, to continue, to keep on living. Again, only Jesus brings eternal life. And it’s that hope of eternal life that keeps us going when illness, pain, and even death come into our perfect little lives.
It’s hard to get to a place where you decide to hate the love of your life, but it’s the only thing that makes the relationship the most that it can be. After all, I can’t put the weight of my emotional well-being on my husband. That’s not fair. I can’t expect him to never hurt my feelings. He will. He has. I can’t put him higher than God, even as much as I adore my dear husband; it’s just not fair to place the title of savior on my spouse. He’s my helpmate, but not my living water. And therefore I hate any worldly, mistaken attachment that would tell me any different. That would be a lie. The devil tells women they can’t live without their man! God would say, “worry not, my child. I hold you both in the palm of my hand.”
And so it goes with my children, my family, my coworkers, my friends. I hate them all. So it goes with my job, my roles in life, the titles I obtain in this world. I count them all meaningless compared to my adoption into God’s family. I am a daughter of the King! The rest, it comes second place.
Perhaps this sounds terrible to you, but it’s actually a decision of love. I’m allowing the people who love me to not bear the burden of fixing my broken heart. Even the people who have hurt me can be forgiven. The father who left me, the boy who cheated on me, the husband who divorced me. They don’t have to carry the weight of my hurt. They don’t have to heal me. Jesus does.
Christ calls us to love! It’s a commandment. And boy, do I love my husband! I love him big time! But the greatest commandment is to love the Lord my God with all my heart. So if my love for my husband or my children tried to overshadow my love for the Lord, that couldn’t work. It would only make the people I clung desperately to feel inadequate. My desire for them to fill me would only hurt them, hurt me. I would resent them. They would resent me too. We might not realize that was the reason. We’d blame it on something else, but deep down it would be the fact that they couldn’t save me, fix me, change me, heal me, or fill me. And I couldn’t do that for them either. Only Jesus.
So, I hate anything I hold dear that tries to lie to me and tell me otherwise. Do I hate the people, per se? Of course not! We’re called to love, and my husband makes it pretty darn easy to love him. But I will hate all day long any lie from Satan that whispers to me that my relationships, accomplishments, or roles in life are what make me who I am, that those things fill the hole in my heart.
After all, only Jesus can do that.