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(photo via Life in Balance )

I started 2012 off with a bang.  And by that I mean, I had emergency surgery on my gallbladder.   I woke up on the morning of my birthday completely out of my head and asking for cookie cake.(So, in retrospect I guess I wasn’t completely out of my  head.)  My girls brought cookie cake to the hospital, we sang Happy Birthday, and I wore yoga pants tucked into my new birthday boots as I hobbled right out of the hospital.

Oh, and one little tidbit I left out:  I made Stevie call my pastor to see if he’d come pray with me before my surgery because it would be JUST LIKE ME to die on the operating table. I did not.  But I wasn’t taking any chances.

My mom and sister decided to stay with me for a few days to help with the kids and my recovery.  I love the women in my life.  They know what needs to be done and they do ten times more than that.  I can only imagine the relief Stevie felt, knowing that my women were here to care for me—to look after the kids, to make the food, the fold the laundry, to keep things running like a machine. I saw the relief in his eyes when he collapsed in to his man-cliner and tilted back to watch a few football games.  Now, don’t get me wrong, he made the obligatory trip to the bedroom every few hours to check on me, to see if I needed anything, to see how I was feeling.  He rested knowing that all my needs were cared for and those ballgames weren’t gonna watch themselves, so back to the man-cliner he’d go,  with a song in his heart and a spring in his step.

After 3 days of this routine, I came unglued.

You can blame it on anesthesia or the pain meds wearing off or my general tendency to come unglued every six months, but I was on the warpath and I had the man-cliner in my crosshairs.   Now, before you go envisioning an all out scream fest, you should know this about me.  I can get steaming mad.  For exactly 12 seconds.   Then, I collapse into a weepy mess and the words I’m wailing can barely be understood.

What I tried to say was, “I CAN’T LIVE ANOTHER DAY WITHOUT YOUR EMOTIONAL SUPPORT!”

What it sounded like was the high pitched yelp of a coyote in the grips of a mountain lion.

Either way, I was ALL CAPS and Stevie’s worst nightmare was about to begin.

The words were so mutilated and mangled by my tears that he asked me to repeat them.  To say it again.

So, I yelped it out louder.

At which point, he took his iPhone out of his pocket and started surfing the internet.

Oh, yes he did.

Do you understand the gravity of this situation?  Did he?  I think not.

I briefly composed myself and did the angry snivel and then spit out the words, “What.  Are.   You.  DOING?”

He glanced at me above his readers and answered me like he was answering a question about Adrian Peterson,  “I just googled emotional support.  What does that even mean?”

Um.  Okay, if you need to google emotional support, mister, then we’ve got a problem.  And we’ve got a problem that could possibly be too big even for Google.

THEN.  He proceeded to read aloud from a list on a random page on the internet the 10 Ways To Emotionally Support Your Spouse.  There were things like always acknowledge your spouse when she walks in the room, touch each other often, listen deeply to your partner, speak in a loving tone and remember to smile.

Halfway through the list, I started to sob BECAUSE, why has my life come to this?   I’m on the brink of an emotional break down here and all we’ve got are ten cheesy ideas from Google. Is that what we’ve  come to?  I’d even take Dr. Phil over Google on this one.  The drama in my head was at an all time fever pitch.

All I could do was sob uncontrollably.

And, he did what he always does when I come apart.   He held me close and told me how much he loved me and that he was sorry if he wasn’t giving me what I needed and that all I needed to do was tell him and he’d do it.  He said all he ever wanted was to make me happy.  He said, “Don’t you know how much I love you?”

All the anger and hurt melted away.  The sun streamed through the cold January air into the bedroom window and I remembered what is so easy to forget.  This man loves me. He walked through fire for us.  He is strong like an oak tree and faithful like the seasons.  The only thing that predictably makes him smile is babies and he tears up at EVERY baptism.  He would fight for me to the death.  And he lives his life for us in the most heroic and ordinary of ways.  Sometimes, I have to come apart in order to remember.

Over the next few days, he upped his emotional support game LIKE A BOSS.  Every time I passed through the living room— like, I don’t know, 750 times a day—he made eye contact and gave me a little two finger wave.  As in, I see you. No, really,  I SEE YOU.

Then, when we talked, I could tell he was trying hard to listen deeply and gaze into my eyes.  His efforts were valiant and flawless.

I think it was the pleasant tone of voice and frequent smiling that finally pushed me over the edge.

I cried UNCLE.  Okay, you’re off the hook.  No more emotional support.  It’s driving me crazy.  It’s not even you. You never smile like that.  Smiling is my job.  Why don’t you go back to stone face glancing over your readers with mischief brewing under the surface, because that’s the you I know and love.

Yeah, that you.

what love sounds like

No, more like that one.

DSC_7312

See how fake smiling could totally ruin that handsome face?

So, the moral of the story is this.  Life is hard and there are so many things to grieve over and cry for.  But, there are also SO very many reasons to laugh.  Sometimes, there’s even a reason to completely lose your stuff and howl like a coyote.

But, whatever you do, don’t take yourself too seriously.  Marriage is hard because we’re all so darn self-centered.  The key is confession, forgiveness, dying to self, giving the benefit of the doubt, and plenty of good old fashioned laughter.

I’m learning to let Stevie be who he is, even if Google searched emotional support is not his game.

He reminds me how much I am loved.

And for that, I am so grateful.

****************************

FYI:  My spiritual memoir, All the Pretty Things, is now available for preorder.  Keep your receipt number to claim your preorder bonuses once they are released!

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51 comments on “Ode to Emotional Support”

  1. Awww……I love the kids drawing in the background! It’s like a sequel to 31 days to a Heart of Hospitality!!! I finally got my chandelier for my new (?) sultry bedroom. I love it. <3 This is a great post. It made me laugh. A lot. Well written.
    Happy valentine's day, early! <3

  2. Hilarious! I could envision this scene. It could have happened here. Wait, it has happened here. (And what would we do without our women in our lives. Even daughters grow up and come to the rescue!)

  3. Oh my goodness my guts hurt! You just took from giggling to tears and back to giggle-snorts. Funny stuff. Loving stuff. Crazy women, clueless men kind of stuff. I can’t believe he looked it up!

  4. This post couldn’t have come at a better time. I have to admit I was so upset with my husband when I told him guess what I am taking a half day and coming home at noon today. To which he replied well I am out in the garage doing side jobs for our upcoming trip. It took me reading this post to #1 calm down and realize he is doing this for us. His job as a firefighter takes him away from home so much that I thought I was doing this big gesture of love and leaving work early only to rain on his parade of him trying to earn extra spending cash for our trip. Thanks for the swift kick to the rear I needed that today to put things that he does back into perspective.

  5. My husband and I are young 71 year olds, we will celebrate 50 years of marriage in May. You have to talk and you have to laugh. There have been many days of anger, on my part. I journal my feelings and when I feel less emotional I talk about what disturbed me…if it still does. He will try harder to be ‘sweeter’ till he forgets the ‘talk’ again! It is work but at this age I realize the job has been worth while. We are happy together.

  6. Boy, did I need this today. I am home with a stupid cold/sinus, cough and not happy. I could just see this enfold and I laughed then laughed some more, and I plan on laughing every time this cough gets to me.

    Men, ya gotta love them.

  7. You are just the best. I love how much your husband stepped up his game, but even more, I just loved hearing that every six months or so you go through a meltdown AND that you sometimes feel like you need more emotional support. I feel like I get there about every two weeks! Oh well. Like you, I usually calm down and remember what I’ve got before too long…

    Thanks so much for hosting the linkup! I was happy to have a place to link up, and I’m enjoying reading the other ladies’ thoughts!

  8. edie, i loved this post. and the post marriage is hard.( i read that to my husband.) love. for a long time i thought marriage was only hard for me. i am surrounded by a sea of perfect marriages and i felt like i was the odd one. you were like a best friend, grabbing me for coffee and letting me know it is all okay. it is hard for all of us at some time. i love that my husband loves me well enough to let my crazy minutes pass and grab me and hug me too. lucky me.
    thanks for your wise words. you just have no idea.

  9. Edie- I have said it before & I will say it again: I find myself standing in the exact spot or experience you have just shared. Earlier this morning I just said those same words to my husband. EMOTIONAL SUPPORT. Kind of makes me feel like there must have been a microphone in our bedroom recording our conversation…Thank you for always sharing your experiences in a way that comes straight into my heart. And I am with you about the women in our lives that show up and always do 10 x’s more! God bless them. And God bless our “Emotional Supporting Husbands” 🙂 and God Bless You Edie 🙂

  10. oh wow.. this spoke right to me this morning after being mad at my sweetie all weekend and giving him the silent treatment .. I have these meltdowns every now and then and its good to know Im not doing it alone. Thanks Edie.

  11. Seeing as we have already discussed how similar our husbands are I’m thinking, “OH MY GOSH! She is totally describing so many moments I’ve had with Jeremy.” Haha. But we love them. They love us! Thank you so much for sharing your heart Edie. Love. love. Love it!

  12. I adore your story. Mostly because it is so “normal.” We think we are not getting what we deserve and we forget that “My grace is sufficient for you…” That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t communicate about what we feel in our marriages. God must stay pretty amused by us. Carry on my strong Sisters!

  13. The very first post I ever read on your blog was your fire walking post. It touched me so, that I have never forgotten it. God has given you many gifts and others are blessed by what you share. Thank you! I love your style, too!

  14. Edie, my husband and I are wailing right now. That was hilarious and so true. I love the “stone faced” in his readers. Thank you for keepin it real!

  15. Um. Him googling emotional support? Priceless. PRICELESS. He sounds like a good man. 🙂 This is such a great post. My hubby and I have been married almost 16 years. And what you are talking about here is what has been the key for me over the last 5 years or so. Just letting him be who he is. And learning when to keep. my. mouth. closed. Amen.

  16. This story is just awesome. Googling emotional support-the best!! And I am crying, I’m laughing so hard at the reality of this. It happens to all of us-fake smiles included.

  17. Thank you so much for this story and thank you for the reminder that they show us they love us and support us in very different ways.

  18. When your book comes out I will be one of the first to order it! I am so thankful for you, even though we have never met. Your beautiful, strong, intelligent love for Christ and your family continually spurs me on! Your writing is deep and yet so accessible- this story totally encompasses what marriage really looks like and how beautifully the humility of Christ shines through our husbands when we are caught up in ourselves once again. Thank you for sharing with such humor and vulnerability! And on a fully different note- thank you for all the awesome recipes and taking the time to put it in a format for us! You’re the best 😉

  19. So great! I think you’ve been a fly on the wall in my living room because my hubby and I have had nearly the EXACT same conversation / fight / encounter…whatever you want to call it. One of my “favorite” marriage moments that we can now completely laugh about…About a year and a half into our marriage I had been feeling sick, was late getting ready for work, couldn’t find what I was looking for to get out the door… You know, the usual. My hubby was trying to help me get out of the house and I yelled at him, as I slammed the door “HAVE A CRAPPY DAY!” He opened the door and started laughing hysterically, grabbed me, let me sob on his warm chest for a bit, prayed with me, and sent me on my way. The day turned around because of him. Isn’t true love grand?

  20. How sweet! Love reading some of the other stories, too! I’ve linked up an older post on my less-than-perfect marriage of bliss. 18 years and counting! 🙂

  21. Edie, when I read your blog I feel like you have stolen my journal and your personalities, obsessions, and even your unglue-ing, feels like you are descirbing ME! It’s always a good feeling to not feel alone! 😉 the enemy likes to make us feel that way. Your blog is a blessing to me! Thank you for sharing your life with the interwebz!!

  22. Great post, Edie! Honestly, I am reading this while I am right in the middle of the breakdown. I try and wait to see if my husband will notice the distance, but eventually it just gets to me. So, last night I told him I feel far away. He is such a great man, but tends to be in his own world (is that a universal thing for men?). What I hate is that I feels so “needy” and he never seems to get to that place. Either way, I am trusting God to help us and give us grace. He always does. I know that God alone can meet my deepest needs.

  23. Edie, thank you SO MUCH for this. I can’t believe I just now found it; thank you for sharing it again on Facebook!

    I got about halfway through and then got my husband’s full attention so I could read it to him. We were laughing out loud. This is us in SO many ways–although I don’t THINK he’s ever googled “emotional support!”

    The whole getting steaming mad for 12 seconds and then breaking down into a weepy, unintelligible mess? Yeah. That would be me. And then he responds just like your Stevie does, holding me and reminding me how much he loves me and asking what he can do. And it’s like, I was mad at you why, exactly?

    Thank you SO much for this. I am always blessed every time I read one of your posts, and I LOVE the way you write!!

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