Oh my gosh! This has been an interesting week, to say the least. It has undoubtedly been a challenge. You would think that after thirty years of being with each other, my husband and I would know how to live together during this time in quarantine. Well, I am here to say that we have so far completely failed to be our best versions of ourselves.
We have managed to throw all of our knives and daggers at each other. It has not been pretty in la casa de Duran. I am not proud of this. Is there anyone else out there that is struggling to be a better partner with their significant other or is it just me?
Do not get me wrong, I love my husband very much. I want us to be better. I want to be the best version of myself for him. However, it seems that I have a lot of garbage tucked away in my thoughts that have decided to be revealed right now. Perhaps it is because we have been forced to be in small quarters with one another, or maybe it is the stressors of this pandemic. It could be that after thirty years, we must acknowledge that we have gotten away with never actually dealing with our issues because we were too busy with work, kids, finances, and all the things that we have allowed to overshadow our relationship.
The other day, I was livid with Dion, as I am sure he was fed up with me too. I was outside on the balcony watching the traffic go by, kids playing, people chatting, and the sun on my face. I was thinking about our marriage and wondering why I have put up with all the junk that we put each other through. I was so angry at him and kept finding more reasons to leave. I was putting all the blame on him because of course, it was all his fault. LOL.
Suddenly, it dawned on me that I was not even upset with Dion, rather, I have consumed myself with the insecurity of rejection.
The idea of rejection, to be left, drives me to be irrational at times. For thirty years, I have focused my energy on not being left or abandoned. I have not truly focused on my marriage for the joy of having a partner for life and all the goodness that God created for our matrimony. Up until now, I had an unconscious desire to sabotage my marriage and relationship with my husband.
Stay with me- I know this sounds just horrible, but I think it is important.
I watched a movie and the character was a professor playing a game of chess with a student. She said something that came to mind the other day. She said that she won because of her opponent’s mindset of “playing to not lose.” There is a difference in playing to win and playing to not lose- that is exactly what I have been doing for thirty years! I was motivated in my marriage to not get a divorce and all the while, I should have had a mindset to be married. I need to play to win not to lose my marriage. I hope this makes sense to someone reading this. I will elaborate more if not.
My mindset and my behavior regarding my marriage were subconsciously fighting for my marriage to not end, and that is not what God wants for me or anyone. He wants us to embrace love, forgiveness, and grace so that our marriages will be strong and intimate. He wants us to be focused on Him so that through Him, we experience unconditional love with our spouses and focus on being married. He wants us to thrive in our marriages, not just survive through it.
I realize now that I was playing to not lose in my marriage (and by the way, I know marriage is not a game.) If we play games in our marriages that means that someone has to lose, and in a marriage, if you do what I have done for the last thirty years, you’ve already lost.
The good news is that God is forgiving and if we listen well enough, we can restore and reset our mindset to make our marriages better. Be in it to win it with no other options. Do not be in your marriage with a mindset to lose it.
Some say that the longest sentence in the world is “I do.” This is an implicit testament of society’s view of what marriage is- a jail sentence for life. There is a negative connotation of loss of freedom or an option for parole or something. We joke about marriage quite often, but the truth is that marriage should not be taken lightly and we should all seek God’s guidance and adhere to His model of love and the sanctity of marriage as a covenant.
When I got married at the age of nineteen, I did not understand that it was a covenant, not a contract. Contracts can be broken, come with terms, and eventually expire. So all these years, I functioned within my marriage with an expectancy of expiration and my insecurities of rejection drove this idea that I would be rejected eventually. Then, my stubborn self fought to not lose. Aye chihuahua. I do not know how we got this far with that kind of mindset. Praise God that He did not give up on our marriage and has shown us that He is the center of marriage.
Since my realization, I actually feel lighter. The burden of not losing has been lifted and God has shown me a better way to navigate through this pandemic with my spouse. My lens has been wiped clean and I see all the goodness of my partner and I have been able to appreciate him and the fact that we will recover from our old ways of thinking in terms of our marriage.
It is my hope that all the married people in our church community can stop and reflect on our marriages and see how we can take advantage of the stay-at-home orders. If you are struggling or need resources to sustain in your marriage (Mosaic Church understands that we all need support, tools, and resources to work on ourselves and our marriages), we have a marriage coach available and she is awesome! I recommend that you connect with her soon!
Do not waste time being angry, trying to have the last word, or live with an expectation to NOT LOSE your marriage. Instead, expect to be champions within your marriage. It really is a simple shift to your mindset. The journey won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it. Focus on the things that your spouse does right, consider what you can do better, offer more grace than you receive, reach out to God to give you wisdom, and remember that our marriages are a covenant that will withstand the storm (or in this case, the pandemic).
Love and light to you all. We will get through this. God is with us and is using these unprecedented times to redirect our priorities, relationships, and our lives for the better! Faith, family, and then everything else should be our priorities and in that exact order. God did not put the coronavirus in our place, but He will be glorified and He will use the circumstance to make us all better people and to have better marriages!