Saturday night, however, he retreated. Perhaps it wouldn't have been noticeable if we were together all the time. Maybe I would've felt comfortable with his faraway looks and extra worry-lines in his forehead. Maybe I'd be okay with doing my own thing while he mulled over things in his man cave.
This, however, is a long distance relationship. Our rare time together is filled with adoration and attention. We're stealing precious time to focus on each other and leave our worries behind.
Reality. It always crashes the party, doesn't it?
We talked about it Saturday night and I gave him some space. He, of course, continued to caress, snuggle and *ahem* please me into the next day when I had to drive back to Texas. He didn't want to talk about it and I didn't force it.
Monday morning, however, he was off in his mind again. That evening, he was texting me from the cave:
"I love you so very much. I hate that I'm such a burden these days. I KNOW I will reward your efforts, compassion, perseverance and strength!"
First of all, I HATE that he believes he's a burden. He is a giver, he told me yesterday, and the fact that he has to "take" so much hurts him. What is he taking exactly? My love? My concern? The fact that I paid for a few things this past weekend?
Secondly, I love that he wants to be and give so much. I appreciate that he appreciates me.
In the meanwhile, I'm pacing around outside the man cave while he prepares for some sort of battle to rescue... I don't need rescued but he likes to be my warrior. He wants to be "the man that I deserve". He wants to give me everything. He wants to be the strength, perseverance and compassion that he sees in me.
I can't focus. I feel scared. I am angry. I want to help.
I'm also learning. I'm allowing. I'm giving him the space he needs and letting him have his reaction. (Thanks to ChopperPapa for covering this topic too!)
Coincidentally, on the drive there and back, I was listening to the audiobook, "Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul" by John Eldridge. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you will notice a trend in the books I've read the past few years. My focus has been to be a better partner, to better understand men and create healthier relationships.
I am not finished with the book yet but more than halfway through it, I have a clearer understanding what Gentleman Jack is facing. I understand the control he feels he must have over his career. I can appreciate, even more now, his desire to be the outdoorsy guy that he is. I also have a stronger comprehension of how I, as his partner, can affect or not affect the choices he makes in his life.
"...in the heart of every man is a desperate desire for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue."
"Even if he can’t put it into words, every man is haunted by the question, “Am I really a man? Have I got what it takes…when it counts?""
~ John Eldridge, Wild at Heart
I'm still pacing restlessly outside of his man cave but I know I must redirect my attention. He will feel better to know I'm enjoying my life, focusing on my kids, keeping things status quo while he fights his fight.
I also have to have faith in him, as a man, to take care of things. I could take care of some things for him. I could help him. But what I'm learning is A MAN NEEDS TO FIGHT HIS OWN BATTLES. He doesn't want to be rescued; it would feel emasculating to him.
More importantly than that, I must have faith that Someone Stronger is looking out for him too. He has his own path, his own lessons, his own teachers. It is not up to me to control.
I'm praying that instead of making God his co-pilot, he'll move aside to the passenger seat for a little while.
Will you send him good vibes and prayers too?
"God requires a new set of questions: What are you trying to teach me here? What issues in my heart are you trying to raise through this? What is it you want me to see? What are you asking me to let go of?"
"Yes. True strength does not come out of bravado. Until we are broken, our life will be self-centered, self-reliant; our strength will be our own."
~ John Eldredge, Wild at Heart