Monday, August 20, 2007

Foolish disagreements? An inside look


Larry just got the word - he will not be going on the reality show - he doesn't qualify for it...he doesn't weigh enough. (And as you might have guessed...the show was..."The Biggest Loser.") Pastor T greatly overestimated how much Larry weighed, and Larry didn't want to waste the trip tomorrow to Ft. Lauderdale since it's 8 hours round trip, so he had him call the producer with his exact current weight and sure enough, he doesn't qualify.


Larry can stand to lose a few pounds like most people, but he is really not that overweight, nor at the level of any of the previous winners of the competition in how much he would need to lose. The show would have required Larry to lose 70 pounds -- at least, to win, and in reality he can only healthily lose about 30-35 pounds, max. So, Pastor T is still going to the casting call and is going to probably take someone else with him who weighs a lot more and will hopefully qualify. I'm glad for him - I know he really wants to do it and Misty's grandma will come help her. So pray that if it be God's will that he make it on the show.

Larry is fine with not being on the show. He was fine with being on it too, but he seems to not really be emotional over it either way. Then again, when is he really emotional over anything? I'm the emotional one in the fam. Not usually crying but often laughing, jumping up and down, getting all excited or passionate over something. Usually when people want to know how Larry feels they ask me how he feels because from the outward they would never know. He could have a career in poker if he wanted to.


This morning as I was washing dishes before work, I could hear my grandmother's words ringing in my ears, "don't count your chickens before they're hatched." Good advice. I should have remembered that two days ago, but it's never easy. You know me, aside from chickens, I'm always "getting my ducks in a row," organized woman that I am. I have to be organized, otherwise I'd never be able to keep up in this life.


Concerned about nothing? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Yesterday, in the Sunday morning service Larry gave an illustration in his message about a couple who fought over what was supposedly "nothing." They had one huge blow out fight in their marriage and it was about winning the lottery and what they would do with the money if they won. The interesting thing was, they never won the lottery...they never even played it! So, some would say, "foolish argument." Well, I agree, and yet I disagree.


Sometimes hurt feelings come about the "principle of the thing" not just the actual thing that happens or doesn't happen. For instance, let's say that it was Larry and I in the argument over the lottery. (It wasn't.) Let's say Larry said, "we're going to spend the whole amount on a Lambourghini (his dream car) and a golf course." Obviously that would all be for him, without any consideration of me. If he didn't even ask me what I wanted to do, seriously discuss the options with me, or even consider sharing it or doing something for the whole family, I would be very hurt. I think most wives would be. The issue would have been the condition of the heart, and selfishness. Just knowing his FEELINGS and his plan of what he would do "if" -- his lack of consideration would be the hurtful thing...not the actual money. Know what I mean? It really has little to do with a lottery or the reality of it, but the condition of the heart, and a willingness to share.

I wasn't a bit upset that Larry might go on The Biggest Loser show. I think it would have been kind of funny actually and even if he didn't win, a great experience! However, in doing so I think he should have immediately (before even agreeing to be on there or trying out) been in agreement that had he gotten picked for the show, it would be alright for me to take steps to ensure that things would run smoothly here without me having a physical or mental breakdown in keeping things going. (My plan "if" was to hire somebody to clean the house once a week, someone to do the weeds at least once a month for those 3 months, and also have someone available for child care for Savanna occasionally.) After all, not only would I be keeping up with the merry go round life that I'm now on, but I would throw his job on top of it and do it singlehandely for 3 months. I really think that's worth hiring somebody to help me clean and weed and watch Savanna occasionally. Being the very fiscally conservative person he is, he thought that was unnecessary.


Since Larry truly does think I'm "Wonder Woman" he doesn't always understand my need for help. He thinks, "what's one more thing? It can't be that hard." He always talks about how strong I am. Everyone says I make what I do look easy. I really must make it look easy, because I have even my own husband fooled! But believe me, keeping it all going isn't easy at all. I may be strong but I have to work at it constantly. And I realize now I am totally at my limit as it is. If everyone only knew what I have to do to keep things spinning sometimes...

The other thing is... when I spoke in my previous blog about things getting easier in getting his agreement in fulfilling some of my dreams, should he go on the show... (just between us friends...shhhhhh...) we've been through some real hashing out in the past over how much I'll be gone on speaking engagements over a Sunday. He doesn't mind Fridays and Saturdays but he has a real issue with Sundays. It doesn't happen real often, but it happens. Sometimes, it's a simple matter of not being able to catch a plane back in time. Note that I really don't want to be away from him or my family longer than a day or two. I'm a homebody at heart really, but I do love to preach which is the only thing that can ever entice me away. Truthfully, just the issue of sleeping alone for more than 2 nights is enough to not make me want to go away. But I enjoy bringing God's Word so I am willing to do it. The truth of the matter is, as much as I enjoy preaching, the whole time I'm gone I call home a zillion times to see exactly what's going on. I miss home so much. "Well, if you miss it, don't go..." you might say. All I have to say to that is, until you have experienced the call of God on your life to preach the gospel, you don't 'get it.' Paul said, "woe to me if I do not preach the gospel..." Turning down ministering the gospel is harder to me than turning down triple chocolate cake. And it doesn't matter if it's 10 people or 3,000...it's just a matter of bringing the Word.

As our ministry has grown and I don't have to lead worship, and there are others to cover things, and I may only take the offering or lead in prayer, the fact that he doesn't want me away has not changed. I realize were it not for ministering the gospel somewhere else, I shoudn't be away. I don't believe any pastor or pastor's spouse should be away from their spouse or the congregation in which they serve unless they are temporarily and occasionally ministering the gospel somewhere else, almost being "sent forth" as a gift on loan from the church, for that day.

But, it's like this...Larry just doesn't like me to be away from him and the church, period. It wouldn't matter to him if I didn't have any real "responsibilities" in a service. (And it's not about the kids - he's fine with them on his own. He's a totally equal parent.) It's a thing of not wanting his "partner" gone. It's like the other half of his brain is gone when I am, and truly I understand that. But as the years have gone on and I don't have to lead worship anymore and many other people are in place to cover things, I was really hoping that he would feel better about me taking a few more opportunities.

I know I'm blessed. My husband loves me. He doesn't like to be without me. He tells me every day, "I love you," and "you're beautiful." He respects my mind, and my giftings. He values my input into anything ministry related and he believes my daily and weekly input is absolutely essential to the health of the church. He looks to me to assist him in all things leadership. He thinks I'm the best cook in the world. (I think his Mom and I are equal on that, by the way. She's great.) He thinks I'm the most amazing sex partner on the planet. (I'm his only sex partner, but he still thinks there's no one greater - and tells me so, often! (Oops, did I just lose another few readers? Just in case you didn't notice this is lifetime INTIMATE portrait...!) He tells some of his friends, they missed out by not marrying a girl like me. But sometimes having a good marriage can come back to bite you in the butt. (ugh! Did I just lose a few more readers?! Would you believe somebody wrote to me one time and said "don't put the word butt in your writings. It isn't becoming of a minister..." Well, the truth is, ministers DO have butts. We are human. Sorry to shatter your preconceived notions there...) Anyway, how exactly is there a downside when you have a strong partnership? Well, when you've cultivated it, it can result in the fact that your spouse just doesn't ever want to be without you. And if they're a pastor, especially not on a Sunday.

To get him to come into agreement with me to take the Africa speaking engagement (by myself) was HUGE. I cried so many tears over that one, I could have filled a pool. I got through that, only with a Word from God. (Sometimes a Word from God is all you need, and...all you have.) Sometimes only something like that gets you through an impasse... and finally we got through ours and Larry gave me His blessing to go.


So... We finally came to an agreement regarding Sundays a while back and our agreement is 6 Sundays a year. We agreed to that, signed the contract in blood (no just kidding) and set the matter to rest. To get to that point, we almost had to hire a mediator. Actually our mediator became Jesus in the matter, and we came to a decision on it together, which is the way God meant it to be. I'm just being flat out honest here. I don't have a perfect marriage by far, and I think everybody knows that who has known me longer than about 5 minutes. I love my husband, deeply. He's my best friend. But like all best friends and partners, we sometimes have our disagreements and our hurts, and our "stuff" to work through. So this is an "inside look" at one of ours and how we worked through it. Many people say, "what are the realities of working out a true partnership in ministry?" Well, these are some of them that I'm sharing right now.


One difficult "pang" I felt immediately when he mentioned that he might go on the reality show is..."okay, he might be away for three months (at least 12 Sundays, maybe more) without even so much as a conversation about it, but I had to almost hire a defense attorney to get six Sundays off to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ?" Just being honest, I was hoping in one way that Larry WOULD go on The Biggest Loser because then I'd probably more easily have his agreement on more things for myself. I thought, "what a snap! This is probably worth at least eight Sundays off to preach, and maybe even a bunch of shopping trips to Bealls thrown in!!!" (okay, just kidding about Bealls, but not the Sundays.) Anything I've ever asked for would absolutely pale in comparison to being away for 3 months. But alas...he is not going on the show. So, I'm back to my six Sundays now. That's alright. Six of one, half a dozen the other. (no pun intended!) What I mean by that is...I'm back to my six Sundays, however I'm also not lobbying him to spend the money on a housecleaning once a week, weed removal and child care a few days a week for him to be gone on a Reality Show. So, we're back to normal now. The conversation is over.


But foolish disagreements? I'm not so sure. Sometimes what you disagree about doesn't come to pass, however it's the "heart of the matter"... the "principle of the thing"...the "if this happened, you might not consider how it affects me" that is the difficult thing to deal with.

So for the lady who got her feelings hurt that her husband WOULD HAVE spent all the money on the lottery his way...I understand.

Sometimes it's not what has happened that we're hurt about, but finding out how someone believes, or how they feel, or what they would do "if"... and coming terms with it.

I think if Larry would have made it on to The Biggest Loser when it came time to go he might have really had some second thoughts, although he might not readily admit it. I mean, really...can you imagine how life would have been for him to go three months without his "amazing sex partner"? Quite honestly, I wouldn't want to go without him either. I love him with all my heart...it just takes us some time and negotiating when we come to certain issues, but we always do, foolish disagreement or not.

5 comments:

Sharon said...

I appreciate your honesty in this post. I don't think there is a woman out there who could not sit with you and say--been there.
It is good we have a mediator that is always at our disposal. He holds my marriage together.
I enjoyed your post.
It is nice to read posts by strong Godly women.

Pastor Deanna said...

Wow...do you really think so? That is good to know. I try not to stereotype and think "all women feel this way". Sometimes I feel very alone...there are only a few friends I can share with who ADMIT to understanding. Maybe that's the issue...few will admit it.

When you share things like this with just anyone you typically get the "just be glad your husband loves you so much, and just submit..." chastisement...you don't get the understanding of WHY you feel the way you do, the nature of such a partnership and how it works, and WHY you have such desires in the first place.

I'm glad to hear you say "been there/done that" because for every time I hear that I think... 'yes, somebody else understands.' and it just feels so good to know we aren't alone.

Thanks for stopping by. Appreciate your comment.

Pastor L said...

Sometimes I think my marriage would be easier if I was like some of my friends and just let my husband have the "final say." But the reality is that we are two very strong, intelligent people, and sometimes - no matter how great things are - we are going to butt heads before we come to an agreement. I agree...and I understand!

Pastor Deanna said...

It's so hard isn't it, Pastor Leanne, to be a woman who has...a brain.

Deborah said...

Gee Deanna, wonderful to know their are others out there that go through the same things I do, most girls in our home church are so happy just to be stay at home moms (that is great) but think everything else is a waste of time, working in the church I am also only allowed a certain amount of sundays out and at times this fustrates me so! I only have one sunday a term off which can become something I look forward to sometime too much and its not that I dont want to be in the house, just sometimes people think I am everyones secretary not just our pastoral leaderships which is my main task to be 1st the PA to our senior couple, then all the rest that follows with adminastration. Thank you once again your honest always warms my heart, you remind me so of my dear friend that I minster with every now and then Yvette. love always me