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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Acknowledge What Is... and Then Let Go!

What’s Wrong With Me?

I am probably one of the few males in the world who really does like the old movie, When Harry Met Sally.”  If you have seen it, you may remember the scene where Meg Ryan’s character finds out her boyfriend got engaged to somebody else, and she cries out that it wasn't that he didn't want to get married, it was that he didn't want to marry her, struggling with what is wrong with her that nobody wanted to marry her.  That is an emotion lots of people feel in one way or another during or after a divorce. 

What is wrong with me? 

That can be experienced lot so of different ways.  What’s wrong with me that he/she left me for another?  What’s wrong with me that I treated him/her so badly?  What’s wrong with me that I didn't learn my lesson and work harder to make the marriage good?  What’s wrong with me that he/she didn't want to live with me anymore?  What’s wrong with me that I couldn't see this coming?  What’s wrong with me that I couldn't make it all work out?  What’s wrong with me that makes me so unlovable?  What’s wrong with me that I didn't make the changes I should and so drove him/her away? What’s wrong with me that I chose to marry somebody like that in the first place?  As I look around at all the happy couples who have good marriages and love one another and manage to keep theirs going so well, what’s wrong with me?

Maybe I could offer a few possible responses that might be helpful, if you have ever felt that way (whether you are divorced or not!).  Let me illustrate first from a wedding I recently performed.  At the front of the sanctuary, as the ceremony was proceeding and it was my turn to share some thoughts for the beaming couple in front of me, I told the groom I had some bad news for him.  I explained that this woman he loved and was about to marry was, indeed, NOT PERFECT.  She had issues, struggles, shortcomings….she just was NOT a perfect person.  But then I reminded them that HE wasn't perfect either!  Marriage is the joining together of two imperfect people, with radically difference perceptions (remember, she is from Venus while He is from Mars!) to go build a home in an imperfect world.  So, part of what is wrong with you, or with me, or your ex is that none of us is perfect or were married to a perfect person, and that combination of imperfection can sometimes turn very sour.  This imperfection, by the way, is what the scripture refers to as our sinful nature, the fallen state not only of humanity but of the world system damaged by sin that leaves creation groaning for redemption, says Paul in Romans.

Secondly, maybe the breakup with your spouse isn't so much about what is wrong with YOU, as it is what is wrong with your EX!  I know some individuals who were abandoned by their spouses and left us all wondering, “WHAT was he/she thinking?  This was a GREAT person left behind!”  Or, maybe you beat yourself up asking why you couldn't have chosen more wisely in the first place.  There is truth in the old saying that love is blind, and so sometimes we cannot or will not see things that might have warned us.  But sometimes we made choices the best we knew how at the time, even under the guidance of God, and then life happens.  We just need to give ourselves a bit of credit that we did the best we could given the knowledge we had at the time, and reality is that we didn't

 know then what we know now, and that makes all the difference.

Finally, you can waste a lot of time trying to figure it all out, all to no purpose.  Sure, if you can identify things you could do differently in your life, or ways you can grow, or things for which you need to forgive your ex…these things are all helpful when looking back and asking where you have failed.  But to be able to identify the 30% that came from your issues and the 70% that came from your ex’s (or vice versa) really accomplishes nothing usable.  Truth is we each contribute to the successes and failures of our marriages, and we always have the opportunity to become more than what we are, to become more of what God desires us to be, and these are really the only useful purpose of asking what is wrong with us.  And I believe it is also useful to acknowledge that there are some things we cannot change on our own.  We need the alcoholic support group, we need the encouragement of friends, we need the help of our doctor or counselor, and most of all, we need God’s Spirit to guide, forgive and strengthen the things in our life that will create the futures that could possibly be. 

So what’s wrong with you?  Oh, probably lots of things.  And lots of things are wrong with me, too.  But neither of us is stuck there.  And it is the same boat that all of us are in.  So acknowledge what is, and then let it go.  Limit the time your rehash the past so that you will have the energy to build the future.

TL:dr  We can obsess over what we did wrong, or we can focus on the things we could possibly do RIGHT in days ahead. 


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