(I have to be very clear up front: If you are being abused, start making plans to get out now! I am not, in any way, advocating that women stay in abusive relationships.)
REMAIN BRUISEABLE? I’LL TRY
I’d heard a man say once that the challenge for women was to remain bruiseable, but then he added something key “… but woe to the man who bruises her.” His wife was one of the sweetest women I’ve ever seen–welcoming, warm, with smiles in her eyes. I could tell she felt loved because her husband treated her well. It just showed.
Then I looked at myself: a woman who was trying to do this, but not succeeding. Unaddressed problems between us kept me from remaining open. The more the talks went south, the more my husband felt my distance, but I guess this is what the man had warned about. I was bruised, and now my husband had ‘woe’–lots of ‘woe.’
WHAT I COULD DO
I couldn’t remain completely open to someone not super-interested in helping bridge the growing distance between us–and I don’t recommend women remain totally ‘bruiseable’ in that situation. Since I didn’t feel completely safe, I should’ve done whatever necessary to feel more safe.
Still, I tried erring on the side of being as bruiseable as possible. I let my guard down as much as I could around him. I tried to keep getting along with him. I tried my best to enjoy our time together. And I kept having sex with him.
(Okay that last one was for me too.)
But, honestly, I put way too much pressure on myself to become like the woman I mentioned above.
If I had only looked closer, I would have seen
my husband didn’t keep up his side of the statement.
Looking back on it now, I think I was deeply longing for a relationship where I could remain that open. I was longing for my husband to be a man I could stay vulnerable around and still feel safe. It makes me sad to think about that stage in our marriage.
WHAT WOULD HAVE HELPED
It would have helped to realize the man was talking about a situation that wasn’t a reality for me. It would have been helpful for me to see our marriage didn’t match theirs.
I didn’t see it until much further down the road, but it would have been helpful to analyze those types of sound bytes more closely in order to see if they even applied in my situation. If I’d kept expecting myself to fulfill that same good-wife role, I would have only re-injured myself.
That phrase was meant to help women and men have great relationships. But what ended up happening for me was the opposite–I was too busy being a good wife than telling my husband I was putting up my guard and why.
So, women, if you’re in the same situation I was in, I do not suggest you ‘remain bruiseable.’
You’ve already been bruised enough.
I just hope you–and your husband–start tending to those wounds.