Honeymoon - The Purse
Emotions matter. They matter a lot. In fact, emotions power our lives.
An experience that happened to me years ago, on my honeymoon, in fact, illustrates this point very well.
The day after we were married, Don and I were walking somewhere (although I do not recall where we were going now). I was so very happy. We were holding hands, and I was thinking about how lucky I was to have been able to marry him. My purse was over my shoulder, and I remember actually feeling the little “bounce” as it hit my side. I remember thinking that I was bouncing along with joy.
That all changed two seconds later. Don said to me, “Will you put this in your purse?” and held out a very small object. To this day I do not remember exactly what it was. but it was tiny.
“No!” I literally yelled. “I am not going to carry around all your junk. You can carry it yourself!”
I not only yelled that, but I dropped his hand, turned, and left. I walked back the way we came, very fast, and was very, very, very angry.
My husband, of course, had no clue about what had just happened. (I had no clue either, but that’s beside the point.) He turned around and followed me, saying, “Janet, what is wrong?”
It took awhile before I was willing to slow down and even look at him civilly. Finally, though, I had worked off enough energy, and realized -- “Hey -- what is wrong with me?” I looked down at the object in my hand (it may have even been a pencil!) and realized that this was a tiny bit ridiculous. At that moment, I burst into tears.
The problem is not the real problem - Emotions are the issue
Now something else was happening. This was happening in my mind, and, even though I knew that my thoughts were not logical, that didn’t matter. Don was going to want a divorce. He wasn’t going to want to be married to me. Why would he want to marry someone who would react this way to something so stupid? It was all over. I knew it. I had failed, after less than 24 hours of marriage.
Well, we don’t need to go through the rest of the situation - but we have been married now for 35 years, so you can tell it all worked out.
What happened was critical, though, to our relationship. I learned some very important things about Don, and what I learned about him gave me a secure foundation for our marriage. I learned that Don will try to understand me, even if I am not logical, don’t make sense, and don’t have anything rational to say. I learned that he is more committed to the relationship than he is to the idea that he has to be ‘right.’ I learned that he really will listen to me. I learned that I can trust him not to laugh (at least, not unless I am laughing with him). I learned that I will always get a chance to explain, and when I don’t have a good explanation, it will still be okay. Hooray!
He has learned some things about me, too. He has learned that his main job is to help me understand my emotions. In this case, as we talked, he helped me realize that marriage was new to me, and I was worried about the “responsibility” of being married. I wasn’t sure that I knew how to be married -- and I wasn’t sure that I could be “me” as well as be “one” with someone else. So when he asked me to put something in my purse, I emotionally reacted, thinking that I was going to forever after have to do what someone else wanted, even if the “load” was too heavy for me.
How “stupid” is that? But how real those emotions were! Our emotions do not have to be logical! (That is probably very important to know.) But our emotions DO lead us to greater understanding of ourselves, and when we understand them, they DO lead us to peace.
When I understood my emotions, I knew what the problem was. I could see my worry - my fears. I could also realize that I needed God’s help. I wasn’t going to be perfect in this marriage (I hadn’t lasted even a full 24 hours!). I would need God’s help just to understand myself! I would need His help to be able to work with Don as a unit and a team. This was a real testimony-builder to me, actually. I knew that if we both were humble, and turned to God, we would be able to figure things out and work together.
In this “purse” situation, putting an item into my purse was not the problem. It was the physical reality -- but it was not the “real” problem. Can you see that?
Address the emotions first.
In any situation, the first step to finding peace is to make sure that you address the “emotions” first. It matters. Do not even think about addressing the “situation” first. If Don had focused on the “situation,” we would have missed a great opportunity to come closer together and trust each other. If he had told me that I was being ridiculous, and the argument would have happened over “the purse”, I don’t know if we WOULD be married today. It wasn’t about the purse and the object. They didn’t matter - as evidenced by the fact that today, I can’t remember what that object was -- and today, Don can’t even remember the situation!
Peace comes from God.
Peace comes from God. It comes as we understand ourselves, and our emotions. It is independent of any situation. .
………And it can come regardless of what is happening.
The interesting thing is that we receive that peace in the midst of whatever circumstance we are in. We do not need to be “out of the problem” to feel that peace. With that peace, answers to what to do about the “problem” become very clear. We then are enabled to have strength to act with that clarity to solve our problems. That is another huge blessing, for by solving our problems, we can experience joy and satisfaction and develop inner confidence as well.