It started with a banana peel.
Specifically, it was about where to throw away the aforementioned peel. Yes. Seriously. I wish I were making this up.
Big Guy ate a banana in the car as we were headed to the home improvement store, and we disagreed about where and how it should be thrown away.
He moved to discard it in one way, and I had a conniption fit. I grabbed it out of his hand and said that since it mattered to me, I would take care of the banana peel.
My reaction was irrational, and when he looked at me puzzled by the fact that it was even an issue with me, I began to feel very agitated.
So we drove along, banana peel sitting in the cup holder between us.
When we arrived at our destination, my husband grabbed the banana peel and discarded it in the way he wanted to—despite my request and my agitation.
I felt my heart sink, and I fought tears all the way into the store.
I found myself thinking, “If I can’t trust him with something as small as throwing away a banana peel, how am I supposed to trust him with my feelings about bigger things?”
Next thing I knew, I was sucked into the vortex of “I can’t trust him/he doesn’t really love me/how does he expect me to care about extension cord when I have a bruised heart”?
My mind knew better, but my agitation about the banana-peel-but-not-really-about-the-banana-peel had stirred up my emotions. It was hard to talk myself down.
My agitation wasn’t because I genuinely had an interest in the banana peel’s final destination. I didn’t care about the banana peel—but I did care about some other things that that banana peel and its disposal brought to the surface for me. It was related to some of my lingering childhood baggage that I haven’t yet worked through.
It didn’t take me long to realize that it wasn’t really about the banana peel—but my feelings lasted for hours.
A couple hours later, we had a planned rendezvous, and I found that those same feelings of agitation followed me right into bed.
I had a hard time relaxing because I was so busy trying to push the banana peel incident out of my head. I didn’t want to touch my husband because “he doesn’t deserve it,” “I feel used,” and “he doesn’t really love me” were floating through my head. Then Big Guy did one thing in a way I didn’t want, and I completely shut down.
However, I’d made a decision to try not to let my feelings drive the way I treat my husband, and I knew that if I could pull myself together, I would be glad that I’d done so.
I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and prayed for help in blessing my husband with our time together. God came through.
It is easy to feel discouraged when we’ve worked hard on sexual intimacy and we still find ourselves right back in the middle of the old icky feelings.
Go to God for help in overcoming those feelings. You don’t have to do it alone.
The banana peel incident was much more recent than I would like. In other words, it was, um, yesterday.
I am still a bit agitated about it more than 24 hours later. I was shaken up at how quickly my feelings got out of control.
The fact that I am still somewhat upset gives me a strong message. In the past, I would have thought the message was that Big Guy must’ve really messed up if I was that upset.
Fortunately, I have learned to look at my feelings differently. I used to see them as reflections of my husband’s actions. Now, however, I see them as indicators of what is going on inside me.
The fact that I was so shaken by the disposition of a banana peel was a clear sign that it wasn’t really about the banana peel.
The incident brought to light something I need to work on in my relationship with God.
I used to use my agitation to point the finger at Big Guy for something or other.
Now I use my agitation to point me to the next step of growth I need to take.
When we are in the process of growth, we’re bound to hit snags on the way. It is easy to feel discouraged.
Do you have a history of seeing your husband’s actions through lenses that assume his lack of love and care for you?
When you hit a snag, are those still the lenses you use to view the incident?
What if you held up a mirror instead? When you find yourself experience some of those feelings that dragged your marriage down, don’t look to see what your feelings tell you about your husband.
Look instead at what the feelings illuminate in our own heart. Where do you need to go next on your walk with God?
P.S. Please dispose of banana peels properly.
Image courtesy of Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net