I hear our heavy back door thud shut. Husband is home. Thank God. I’m upstairs chasing a naked Bubby, trying to convince him that a bath is a good idea. I’ve got Sister squirming on the floor, waiting for me to nurse her so she can go to bed. Bedtime is pretty traditional around here: running, screaming, squealing, laughing, crying, bribery. Big emotions play out as we round up our day and our little family.
When I hear Husband trot up stairs, I look for him to enter the hallway. I see the subtle sag in his shoulders; he’s had a long day and is stressed. My eyes take in his demeanor and I think about how eight years ago our evenings were quiet, filled with uneventful TV and adult conversation. His shoulders didn’t sag quite so much.
The Present slams into my legs as I’m brought back to reality. Bubby grabs at my knees and sits on my foot, waiting for me to drag him around like he’s on some kind of circus ride.
And in that swift moment the resentment sparks; Husband comments about a dirty diaper that is still sitting on the kids’ bathroom counter from the night before. Something along the lines of “Why is this diaper still sitting here?”
A simple and justified question really. Why did I leave the diaper there? Because I was busy being a mom, duh. I forgot about it and when I remembered I didn’t want to mess with walking it out to the trash, so I kept putting it off.
But what my heart heard was him accusing me of not being enough. Why did my heart hear this? Because I was holding on to past resentment from all the previous fights about diapers and dishes and dinner.
I did what many of us do when we feel like we’re being accused of not being enough by our spouse. I went into defensive mode.
I quickly tapped into my “all-the-things-that-you-don’t-do-for-me” file and spouted off to my husband. I reminded him of all the things he’s left undone: making a date night, not being romantic when I wanted him to be, working outside in the yard instead of connecting with me inside my heart.
See how quickly I got there? I went from diaper to date nights.
And that’s when I realized my husband isn’t enough.
My husband isn’t enough.
He’s not supposed to be.
I come to him with my anger and my “not meeting my needs” or “not making me happy” list:
I want to feel more loved so why aren’t you speaking my love language all the time?
I feel lonely so why aren’t you making more date nights?
All I talk to are little humans who can’t really talk back, so why aren’t you talking with me in the evenings?
I unload on him with all that he’s not doing for me (and sure there’s some truth in what I’m saying) but I’ve put pressure on him to fix me at my core.
It’s an ungodly cycle I get stuck in running circles.
When I take a hard look at my heart I have to ask myself, “how do I get rid of this void? How do I stop expecting my husband to fill this hole?”
The answer I receive is not simple. It’s not a five step process. It’s not a simple formula.