I have asked God recently to make me a better comforter.
One of my weaknesses is being a perfectionist; I hold myself and others to a ridiculously high standard. When I personally fail, it is crushing; when I succeed, it’s never satisfying, concluding that I could have done it all better.
So it has always been a challenge to empathize. My inner critic cuts down any compassion I may have… even to myself.
Please don’t be put off by my struggle to give or receive such a simple emotion. Some individuals in this world have trouble providing words of encouragement and affirmation; quite simply because they have an internal deficit to begin with.
More than likely, you know of someone that is like this, where giving compassion doesn’t come naturally. This is certainly true for me, which is why I have reached out to God for help with this.
What brought on my specific prayer is my husband’s recent loss of his sister, Mindy. And if that wasn’t enough, he has lost two friends to suicide & one to an aneurism.
The amount of tragedy in his life is inordinate, to say the least, but over the years it has become apparent of my deficiency to comfort him when needed. For one, my husband is not an emotional guy, so when he does open up about anything, it catches me off guard.
One time, I walked into our bedroom to find my phone and my husband was sitting on the bed with a troubled look upon his face. Any normal person would have immediately asked if everything was alright, but I felt like I had intruded upon him and left the room as quickly as I could.
After leaving, I realized that I should go back and ask what was bothering him. By this time, he had shrugged off his momentary sadness and continued with what he was doing.
Struggling With Apathy
What’s really disheartening is that my husband has learned to keep his grievances short with me. I am to blame for withholding consolation at any time, and he knows it’s just easier to not expect it.
Truthfully, I have always been better at writing from the heart than speaking from the heart. Since childhood, I have had extreme difficulty in communicating that I would often shut down.
I would correspond on note cards because I could take my time to process everything while writing. You could only imagine my relief when e-mail, SMS, and even emoticons became a thing!
So speaking eloquently from the heart is not my gift. Yet, despite my challenges in this area, God gave all believers the fruit of the Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control […]. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Rather than think I am incapable of providing like a companion should be able to, I should pray to show these gifts innately. Maybe my form of comforting is giving my husband a hug and simply saying, “I love you.”
On one particular evening, my husband was talking to his grandmother on the phone. I remember listening to him unloading all the devastation he had over his sister passing. Initially I thought, Why did he not come to me for that? I’m his wife!
Seeing Answered Prayers
The immediate jealousy is from months of worrying about him not talking about it. I would constantly pray for him to open up. I also prayed for safe grieving, however that may be, and for me to be a better sympathizer.
After fretting for a good ten minutes over it, I realized that God had answered my prayers. My husband had opened up and was safely grieving.
Personally, I try to improve in those areas because they are barriers in my relationship with God and others. However, He has shown me that there is no reason to become jealous of those that perform His work.
His grandmother, for example, is a great sympathizer and an inspiring Christian woman. She was perfect for fulfilling that role for God and for her grandson.
My job is to discern God’s work and to appreciate what others can contribute where I have difficulty. My role is to be sensitive to answered prayers, thankful for them, and to continue working on disseminating His fruit.
I believe God wants us to find methods to adjust for our weaknesses because, in reality, every person is hindered in some fashion. Every person has one or many limitations that tend to interfere with the quality of his or her relationships.
God doesn’t want us to be a carbon copy of one another, but to recognize our impediments and to ask Him for aid with them. He wants us to find ways to disburse His gifts of love and kindness, genuinely, and in our own unique way.
Post Question: What weaknesses in your marriage is God helping you work on?