(Inspired by a comment on my Screwtape Letter for the Unappreciated Mom)
Awesome letter with incredible timing if you knew. I’m curious how this might be shared this with ones wife? I mean I don’t see how I can really say, “I love you honey but those things you said about me are untrue and you’re actually being afflicted by Demon Wormwood.” Any ideas? -Mike
Dear Husband who sees my Ugliness…
I know I haven’t been the easiest person to live with lately. I’ve been overwhelmed and emotional. It’s been one of those weeks, when I start seeing my failures everywhere. Failures with the kids, failures in our marriage. Of course, I’ve also started seeing your failures too. I have even pointed some out in a less-than-kind manner. It’s not that I want to divide us more. I’m just… scared.
You see, I’ve been listening to lies and letting them tear me down from the inside. Lies of my inadequacy, lies of my unlovliness, lies of how you don’t really love me as much as you say you do. And now, here I am: Broken, discouraged, overwhelmed, worn-thin, and tired… Oh, so tired.
You want to help me, but every time you try I turn you down. I’ve been ugly towards you. Emotional, to say the least. In the midst of the chaos of my life, telling me how to load the dish washer better is not what I need to hear right now.
Guys often complain how women are a mystery to them, so I’m just going to lay it out plain. Here’s what the frazzled, emotional, ‘unappreciated’ mother needs from you.
First, make me rest. See that my bodily needs are attended to.
It’s very likely the kids have kept me up a lot lately or that I’ve been pushing myself too hard. Exhaustion can make little things seem like huge things. Exhaustion can make the irrational thoughts seem rational. Exhaustion makes me more susceptible to the Devil’s lies.
Perhaps I’m hungry? The worst time to approach me with a request or correction is when I’m preparing dinner, the kids are hungry, clinging to my leg, and my blood sugar’s low. When I don’t have the physical energy to think clearly, it is not the time to ask a sensitive question or remind me that I forgot to pick up the mail.
Of course, when I am tired or hungry, may also be the time I start to sourly remind you of your inadequacies. I may remind you how you forgot to do that thing you promised. I may not-so-subtly accuse you of some not-so-nice things. This, of course, is wrong of me. I need to ask forgiveness and apologize.
But first, doggone it, feed me a banana or glass of milk or something.
When I am at my most unlovable, LOVE ME.
Remembering, of course, that love is an action. Love is not an up-in-the-clouds sort of feeling. Love is doing the dishes for me. Love is taking the kids when they’re whiny or taking over discipline when they start bad-mouthing. Love is doing something that’s normally my job to make my life easier.
Love is doing something out of the ordinary. Love is putting some music on and dancing with me in the kitchen. Love is pushing the kids off the couch to make room for you and I to cuddle. Love is telling me I’m beautiful even when I didn’t have time to put makeup on.
The truth is, I am at my ugliest when I feel unloved. That doesn’t excuse anything. My sins are still my fault. But sins are usually symptomatic of the war of thoughts waging within me. One of those thoughts is very often, “He says he loves me, but how do I know?”
Show me you do in the clearest way possible. It will help me combat those lies.
Along those lines, verbally REMIND ME of the basics.
Take me out on a date. Get a sitter for the kids. Remind me that I am not just the ‘mother of your children’, but also the love of your life. I know you say you love me, but sometimes I forget.
Say it out loud to me. I need to hear it. Tell me I’m a good mother. Tell me I’m a good wife.
Help me dispel the lies in my head. Remind me that we are allies not competitors. If you sense the battle in my mind, grab me by the shoulders and clarify some things.
“Just because I trekked mud in through the kitchen, doesn’t mean I don’t love you. It’s a careless mistake, that’s it. All you need to do is ask me to grab the broom.”
“Having relations with you is how I show my love. I want to bond with you. I’m not trying to use you.”
The world and media is filled with men who use women up for their own selfish desires, only to throw them away afterwards. When I married you, I knew you were different, but sometimes I need to be reminded.
Lastly, turn me to Christ. Pray with me.
Remind me that, as much as you would like to, you cannot fulfill every need of mine. You can’t protect me from hunger, exhaustion, the children, and the thoughts in my head all the time. You are but a mortal, after all. Too often, I expect too much of you.
Only Christ can meet all my needs.
So when the kids are sick, I start the day exhausted, and you still have to leave me behind to go to work, turn me to Christ. Pray for me. Tell me you’re praying for me.
Christ’s strength is perfected in our weakness. And the Lord knows, sometimes I’m very weak.
~Your Discouraged Wife