I have decided to fast from now until the end of the year. Not food. I have low blood sugar and can't go more than 3 hours without eating or I'll face miserable consequences (except overnight, where I can sleep longer than 3 hours, but have to set my alarm for 6 to get up and take pills and eat--in case you were curious).
I'm not fasting TV (don't care too much about TV), my computer (how would I get any work done?) or sugar-free chocolate (torture!).
No, I've decided to fast something regarding my marriage.
If you read from last week, you know that I have been realizing my unrealistic expectations are actually worse for my marriage than the things I feel are missing.
Therefore (drum-roll please), I have decided to try to fast expressing my disappointment or anger or whatever ends up coming out my mouth in the form of:
"Why didn't you just ___________________?"
"You could just just ___________________."
"I wish you hadn't ____________________."
"Couldn't you have just __________________?"
"I am irritated/angry/frustrated/upset that you did/didn't _________________________."
"Why can't you just _____________?"
...or any indirect version thereof. I've noticed how most of my "I'm frustrated" statements include the word "just," as if saying that shows that what I want is really a small thing, not so hard to do, and therefore I have the right to be unhappy and say so.
From now until January 1st, I have decided to fast my right to express what I wish my husband would or would not do, did or did not do differently.
If he comes home late and didn't let me know, not a word or reproach.
If he says something insensitive, or forgets something important to me, not one unhappy word.
Not to say I'm going to stuff it. I'm an excellent stuffer, and I used to be good at squashing down my feelings and disappointments because I didn't want to cause conflict. Well, if you do that, you know that is not good for anybody, as the stuffed stuff festers and combusts eventually. Thanks to my husband (who really is wonderful, in case you got the idea he was a jerk), I have learned how to express my feelings and actually address conflict in a healthy way.
However, as I seem to be an extremist, I seem to have swung to the other side of the pendulum, and now want to say whenever I am unhappy about my unmet expectations. Sometimes the thing itself isn't that big of a deal, but my feelings are, and I think, "If I just say it out loud, then I'll be able to get over it." That's good sometimes, but not something I should get into the habit of always doing. Not everything needs to be expressed.
As someone once said, "A great marriage is the joining of two good forgivers."
And so this will be my fast. Not for my husband's sake. For me and for the Lord. Just like fasting food gives us a chance to exercise self-control, as well as giving us an opportunity all throughout each day to choose to re-focus on feeding ourselves spiritually rather than physically, so this fast will give me an opportunity to grow in the Lord and honor Him. Each time I want to say something negative to my husband, it will be a trigger to me to hand that thing over to the Lord. I need to make a habit of giving the Lord my emotional needs, rather than dumping them all on my husband.
Will I be able to do it? Not sure. Do I really want to? Um....let's just say the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak!
Want to come along? I am putting this here to be accountable, and plan to keep you posted on how things are going. If you want to join me, add your name below and we can pray for each other!
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