Written by Kimberly Green
Messy Marriage Team Member
December of 1999 found me in a local supermarket purchasing a significant amount of canned goods, gallons of water, boxes of powdered milk, and a significant supply of batteries. January 1st, 2000 at midnight, millions of computers all over the world would herald the apocalypse. We would be without food, water, fuel, and Taco Bell for weeks while the governments of the world tried to sort out the “Y2K Bug.”
Law enforcement was beefed up in Time Square as the the Ball dropped, counting down the last ten seconds of civilized society. There would surely be looting and violence in the streets as neighbor turned on neighbor for the last can of tuna.
… the Ball dropped, the lights stayed on, and America remained free and at least as civilized at 12:01am as they were at 11:59pm. The hysteria and tension were over, donations of powdered milk to food pantries were the highest in recorded history, AND it would be five years before I had to buy another C battery.
We become very tense when we perceive a threat to our comfortable status quo lifestyle.
I only want change in my life when I am bored or in significant enough pain I can’t fake my way through. When circumstances in my life begin to shift, I feel very insecure.
My thinking is that as long as I can “keep IT together,” I can control my environment and manage the feelings of my spouse and children until “the storm passes.” I tell myself that everything is okay and deny the actual effect the circumstance (and my tension) are really having on my family.
My husband had a job he enjoyed. He felt confident in his work and trusted by his employer. The economy turned, and finding another job became a priority for him.
Preparing for the impending doom of change became a priority for me.
Wise planning for a possible period of unemployment or salary cut turned into paranoia. We were very fortunate, as he found a job before an inevitable lay off, but he was grieved. He grieved the decline of the business and the loss of co-workers who had become good friends.
The best way I knew how to encourage my husband was to deny his grief. My husband was sad, and my plastic smile cheerleading was NOT helping. I felt tense and insecure, but pretended I didn’t, which fed his and my childrens’ insecurities.
The lights had not gone out, and civilization had not ended, so I could still pretend everyone was okay. Life was still happening, but it was different, and …
I had to embrace the change and allow my husband to acknowledge his hurt or I would continue to make my family miserable.
My lack of faith in God communicated to my Beloved Spouse that I lacked faith in him. My denial had shut down the man I loved. I was worrying about hoarding batteries, instead of building up stores of confidence in those around me. Denying my own fears was not possible without denying theirs.
Programmers could not deal with the Y2K Bug by ignoring it. They established a foundation for their programs that allowed for a date of 01/01/2000.
Our marriage cannot be strengthened by ignoring emotions.
We need to establish a foundation that allows for times of grief and insecurity—to be “… rooted and established in love, so that we may grasp how high, how long, how wide and how deep is the Love of Christ, and to know this love which surpasses knowledge.”