It came out of no where.
We were sitting down with the kids having lunch and a nice conversation. I said something, and he responded in a way that I perceived as very critical and unkind. And I was deflated. Immediately.
The conversation ended there, and he could tell what had happened without me even having to say anything. We have talked about this before. He knows how important words are to me. He knows they have the power to build me up or destroy me. And he knew what he had just done. He apologized, and I could see in his eyes that he meant it. I believed he was sorry, but that didn't change the way I felt.
As lunch ended and I cleaned the kitchen up (I declined his offer to help), my mind kept going back to what he said. I stewed on it. Angry thoughts came to my head. "Well, now I know what he REALLY thinks." "I'm sure not going to bring that up anymore!" A song came on the radio reminding me to forgive. I sang the song, but still the battle raged in my mind and heart. I recognized my tendency to hold on to hurt, and I really wanted to change that about myself. Yet I lacked the strength to change my own heart. Finally, I went to change the laundry. In my mind flashed an image of Scott and me laughing together, enjoying each other, loving each other. Quietly the Lord spoke to my heart, "Doesn't that feel so much better than this?" I agreed that, yes, feeling free to love and laugh with my husband feels much better than being held captive to anger and hurt feelings. He reminded me that in order to take hold of the one I had to let go of the other. That finally gave me what I needed to fully let go.
We can't control what the people around us do or say. We can't control how their actions or words make us feel, but we can control how we will respond to it. I must admit that the old me would have definitely held on to that hurt and let it affect the way I treated Scott for the rest of the day, at least. But this me, the one who is daily seeking to be refined and sanctified by Christ, allowed Him to break through my thoughts. And this me decided to act on what I know, rather than what I feel. He had apologized, after all, and he was authentic in his remorse. The burden of responsibility lay with me.
After the kids were in bed, we sat in the living room folding laundry. We were casually talking and enjoying each others' company. Gently I said, "You know you really hurt my feeling earlier, right?" He said, "I know, and I am so sorry." I told him I knew he was sorry, I could tell when he had said it. I had seen the pain in his eyes when he realized he had hurt me. I told him about my struggle to let it go, but that I realized that if I wanted God to change me I had to actually allow him to. He looked me in the eyes and thanked me for being the woman that I am.
I believe that this is one of God's purposes for marriage. He created us to sharpen each other, to make each other better. If that means that there will be conflict, I pray that God would always cultivate in me a spirit that is willing to grow.
We see it as pain and hurt and struggle in our marriage. He sees it as a way to make us more like Himself.