Last night at our women's support group meeting (which I highly recommend you all attend--see if you have one in your area), we talked about being powerless against our loved ones' addictions. Interestingly, this had been on my mind all week without knowing the upcoming topic of our group meeting.
Only it's not even the pornography that I'm worried about right now. (Note: I am still worried about it and briefly thought my husband was lying to me last night, but it's not my main concern at the moment.) You see, I have been pushing my husband for as long as we have been together. He has commented at times that he probably needed me here pushing him beyond his borders in order to accomplish more than he might have otherwise. But I'm coming to resent it now.
It all started when we were dating. Perhaps I should have seen the signs (of both my and his weaknesses). He didn't have car insurance, and although I kept reminding him, he kept not signing up. So one day I looked up an insurance agency and made an appointment for him and went with him to get it done. I felt such relief.
Then there was the pornography issue. I felt like I was having conversations with myself. I was looking up information online. Trying to find solutions. Asking him to go to group meetings. Reminding him that he should talk to the bishop. Pushing, pushing, pushing. He is doing really well right now, but I still feel the need to push. Last time we relaxed in our efforts, it all came back.
Then there was school. I guess I had assumed that he would really step it up and go gung-ho on school when we got married. You know, once he had the pressure of providing for a family. But that didn't really happen. He didn't grow up in an education-focused family and he never stepped up and took it on himself to push hard for his education. So I pushed him. I made sure he remembered to sign up for classes on the right day. I constantly asked him about his graduation requirements. I was so relieved when he finally finished. Push, push push.
Then there was the job search. By then we had a child and I was pregnant with a second, and he had been laid off from his full-time job a year before his college graduation. I thought for sure having a child would kick him into gear and he would put all his effort into doing well in school and getting a good job. Granted, we're in a terrible economy and jobs are hard to come by (and competition is fierce), but it still didn't happen as I had imagined. I pushed and pushed (and still push). In my mind there is an obvious list of things you should do to increase your chances of finding a position, getting in the door for an interview, acing the interview, and then doing everything else in your power to get the position. And when I don't see him doing these things, I push and I push and I push. I'm not so concerned with the lack of job offers. I'm concerned with the quality of effort being put into the search.
I'm tired. I'm tired of pushing. I'm tired of feeling like I have to manage his life.
And I'm scared to death that if I completely let go of that control, it will never happen. And I know this is something I need to work out in my own mind. As someone who has a history of working hard (and on my own) to get what I want, it's hard for me let go.
I know that what he accomplishes in this life directly affects me, because we are married and we have children. I do not expect him to be rich. In fact, I don't have any desire to be rich. I'd like to stay home with my kids at least part time. I'd like to save up for retirement. I'd like to save up for my kids' education. And I'd like our marriage to survive. No, not just survive. THRIVE.
So I feel like giving up control and letting my husband take the reins on his own is accepting that these things may never happen.
How do you do that? How do you let go? How do you trust in the Lord's will and accept that you can't control everything?
Especially when that means potentially giving up what you want?
I want so badly to have faith in my husband. I want to think, "Well if I would just back off and stop pushing him, it will give him a chance to step up and show what he's capable of." I want to badly to believe that that will happen. And maybe it will. But I'm scared to let go and take that chance.
(Not to mention it SUCKS to come to the realization that you're a control freak and probably making your husband feel terrible and worthless and incapable in the process.)
How do you do it?