The ego is real. The want is real. We are all onlies in that we want what we want and need what we need. When someone we love isn’t being loving enough, thoughtful enough, or respectiful enough, we’ve…well had ENOUGH. As a woman twice divorced, I can honestly say that I am the worst when it comes to throwing in the towel when I’m hurt. My first reaction to getting my feelings hurt is to swiftly speak my mind, walk away, and ‘block’ my significant other as quickly as I can before he retaliates. This is my pathology. It’s what I learned from my biological parents, and it’s also what I learned from my mom and step dad. Therefore, this is the thing I did in all of my relationships – be they marriage or romantic relationships. And I’ve done it forever.
For a couple of decades now, I’ve lived under the assumption that I could never be loved enough. That while I am not all ‘that’, no one would ever be good enough, love hard enough, or be sensitive enough to give me what I need. I’ve also had a little insight into the fact that neither of my marriages failed solely because of the other person. I had to have something to do with the failure because ‘it takes two to tango’ afterall. And two to tangle.
I just didn’t know why until now.
I’m 33 pages into a book called ‘Love & Respect’ by Dr. Emerson Eggerich, and I can see clearly already. I haven’t respected enough. Like…ever respected enough.
I’m not going to lie. It hurts to realize this. On the one hand, I’m usually quick to take blame in most situations, because (I think) if I am to blame, I can fix. There is solace in the fixing. There is solace in knowing I have some sort of control. There is not solace in knowing that maybe, possibly, probably, I could’ve fixed this stuff because this stuff went to hell in a handbag.
But on the doorstep of my third and final marriage – whenever it does happen – I am handed this gift of knowledge. I haven’t respected enough. And now I am in it forever – heart and soul, forever and for always. It’s the perfect time. It’s God’s time, and God is good. Always.
This book, it must be said, was brought to me by way of carrier pigeon. It literally landed on my doorstep by ‘Mr. And Mrs. Anonymous’. No one will admit to having delivered it, and the extra beautiful part is that they left not only a copy for me but for my wonderful fiance as well. It does drive me crazy that I don’t know where they came from, but I am grateful to the bottom of my oblivious little heart because I know this was completely planned by the great Lord above. And I know this because the message of ‘I don’t respect enough’ has been told to me before. Once.
In my second marriage, my husband became severely and intensely addicted to pain pills that he was not prescribed, and our marriage suffered greatly. We lost everything. We tried Christian counseling, and I was a huge fan. We were given books on how to be an excellent wife and an exemplerary husband. I read my entire book within the first week. My husband skimmed over his first few pages and declared that he ‘got it’ before we even darkened the door to our 2nd visit.
While our counselor was very hard on my husband because of his addiction and manipulation, he did also make mention that our boys’ lack of respect for my husband was due in huge part to my lack of respect for my husband. That recognition and awareness paused me, stopped me in my tracks. I remember thinking ‘Oh no!!! This is on me!!’. And it was, in part. And while I thought I had learned an invaluable lesson, it didn’t save my marriage, but only because my husband was too far gone.
In reading this book now, the memories flood into my head like a dam has broken down deep inside of my ego. This is on me.
My fiance and I haven’t had it easy. He’s a now 42 year old bachelor who is scared to death of failure in a marriage. Add to that the company of two kids – 16 and 10 – and you have complete reluctance and hesitation. Is this because of his lack of love for me? NO! Does it feel like that? YES! Do I disrespect him because of my lack of awareness of his love for me? YES. Do I mean to?…….NO.
But this is normal. It is sooooo completely normal that this book that I am reading addresses all of it. A woman needs to feel loved, and her man needs to feel respected. And yet, when a woman feels a lack of love, she disrespects. When a man feels a lack of respect, he turns cold and leaves his woman feeling unloved. This is why we need awareness and communication. We need to understand that a lack of Love and Respect are at the root of all of our misunderstanding and hurts.
So I challenge myself, and I challenge my readers to acknowledge this code, and recognize that we cannot blame one another. We both have work to do, love to give and respect to pay. Relationships are all about relating, not sacrifice. Love is about leaving your ego at the door and loving to the depths of our souls. Do that. Love with all your might, and respect with all your mind. That is the journey. The reward is a beautiful and untimely union of souls who understand. It takes two.