Why is it so easy to be hurt by the ones who love us most?
Nothing gives me more heartache than hurting or bothering those I love. This is mainly due to the fact that I unintentionally hurt them. Sometimes I say things with the purest intentions–making a joke, stating the facts, or relaying a message–and the ones I love leave the conversation confused, angry, or sad.
When my husband hurts me, intentionally or unintentionally, it hurts. When I hurt my husband, intentionally or unintentionally, it hurts. We both feel the hurt, whether we’re the victim or the attacker. When one of us is hurt, there is no victory; there’s just pain that needs to be healed.
One night after a tiny squabble, I lay in bed with my arms folded over my chest and my knees curled into my stomach. Any touch from my husband would just make me withdraw within myself. My stomach was turning and my mind was racing. If I moved a muscle, my husband might try to reach over and touch me. I didn’t want him close because I knew I was wrong. As a result of my fear, he was deprived of the attention that he craved. However, I knew I hurt him, and any interacting with my husband would remind me of my shortcomings.
Those close to us are meant to make us better people by pointing out our shortcomings in love.
I was talking about this idea with one of my co-workers when I first got married. Why is it that people we live with get on our nerves the most? He reminded me of Proverbs 27:17: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (NIV). If you look up videos on what it looks like to sharpen iron, a lot of them involve loud noises, fire/coals, and a giant metal object getting all of up in the face of the piece of iron. To put it in human terms, a person gets in your face and points out your flaws, brings out something ugly in you, and (ideally) helps you deal with your weaknesses. And who do you trust enough to get that close to us and see us in our most vulnerable state?
Unfortunately, your spouse will hurt you. Unfortunately, you will hurt your spouse. But when either of you feel hurt, you can use it to bring you closer to God and to each other. Pray that God uses this pain to heal and transform your marriage. Be honest with Him about the severity of your pain or frustration, but trust that God is able to redeem your situation for His glory. Trust your spouse to speak the truth in love, and pray about how to respond to his/her admonishing. In the same way, if something bothers you about your spouse, pray about how to tell him/her what you notice in a loving, gracious manner.
Humans were never meant to complete us. We are all fallen images of perfection, and we unfortunately make mistakes that affect the ones we love. In the midst of these shortcomings, we can trust that God will never fail us.