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.

weaknesses: piece of heart missingPlease 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.

Overwhelming Loss 

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.

weaknesses: three white tombstonesThe 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.

weaknesses: woman writing

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!

Understanding Gifts 

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.”

weaknesses: girl's hand reaching out to guy's handMaybe my way of showing I truly care is by sending him an uplifting text. Perhaps even having him talk to someone that has the ability to commiserate with words would be loving.

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.

weaknesses: grieving man drinking coffeeSometimes God will answer us in the way we least expect it. He has different ways of achieving our requests, especially if we have much work to do to with our weaknesses.

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.

Handling Weaknesses

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.

weaknesses: brick wall with red line

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?


        

12 COMMENTS

  1. I sometimes have a hard time being as verbally affectionate as my husband needs as that is his love language. So every morning I write a short devotional and encouragement for him to look at while he is at work. He has saved each one and wants me to get a scrapbook for them, they mean so much to him.

  2. I’m a Christian mental health therapist so I sit with other people’s emotions all day long and I’m good at it. However, I am not as good sitting with my husband’s emotions or checking in with him the way I do my clients. I take advantage of his analytical and intellectual presentation and glean over his potential emotional side. I have asked God to help me focus on loving and supporting my husband in the ways he needs me to. We’re all a work in progress! Thank you for the honesty and openness of your post! God Bless!

    • Don’t we take advantage of our loved ones? It’s so challenging to dedicate just a little part of ourselves to sow into our relationships, but so worth it! Thank you for being honest and that’s so cool you are a Christian therapist:))

  3. Wow, what a beautifully transparent post about what so many of us struggle with–the giving of comfort, especially to our spouses. I think television has numbed our hearts. We don’t feel for other people the way that Christ does, unless we are willing to enter into their pain and lift their burdens. It’s so worth it!

    • It is worth it, but it can be exhausting when we already have so much to do throughout the day. I guess that’s where God comes in, helping us to re-prioritize our day and spend quality time with those that we are close to. Thanks, Susan!

  4. Right off the bat I knew this post was going to be relevant to me (not just as pertains to marriage, I’m not married yet, but relationships in general) because I am a HUGE perfectionist — there’s a little thumbnail of me in the dictionary next to “Type A.” Your closing statements regarding our limitations is so truthful.

    • Thank you, Neva! I find that God helps me to combat my perfectionism by reminding me that there will always be more to organize, more to improve upon, and more to do. It’s a repetitive cycle, and so when I spend time with Him, I learn to not get caught up in that cycle over and over again. Have you experienced this in your walk with Him?

  5. This is a wonderful read. My husband and I are in the thick of raising young children, and it’s tough to have those deep, connecting conversations – even when going through tough life “stuff”. This article reminded me of how important it is, no matter what. Thank you!

  6. When my husband & I first married he didn’t share his feelings freely. Mostly because of being hurt in past relationships. I’m a sharer & a carer so I was never going to be comfortable letting him internalise. I asked him a simple question once or twice a day. “What are you thinking?” It was enough to start a conversation. We’ve been married 22 years now & I still ask him that question daily, sometimes a couple of times a day. He has even told me that he appreciates me asking that. We are a great team & he is now my full time carer as I have a rare bone disease. That question is even more important now, along with “Are you ok”?
    Thanks for your beautiful post xx

    • Wow, what an amazing love you two have! My husband is not a sharer and I’m an introvert, so it is still challenging for both of us to meet in the middle. Even when I ask if he’s ok, he usually shrugs his shoulders and says “nothing”, even though I know that’s not true. He has a lot of tragedy in his life and so I believe God is really the only one who can help him move through it; I will take a page from your book, though, and continue to reach out even when he shuts the door. Thank you!

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