Following from my previous post I wish to share a personal story of part of my journey in life. I was married at the age of 20. As I look back now I realise that I was not only emotionally illiterate but that I was crippled as well. Early in my marriage I realised that there were problems with our marriage. I did not have the skills to articulate those problems furthermore I did not have the desire to deal with them. I was an Island, my fortress was made of a number of things, spiritual pride, and an excellent ability to avoid questions and change the subject. I did not allow any one into my inner-self in any manner or form. I actively avoided any activity that encouraged me or enabled me to look at my behaviour in any manner or form.
I was actively involved in an evangelical church, a full on spirit filled bible believing, evangelising Christian man. Well if God wanted me to change he would enable me. I would pray for healing and then my mind would be renewed. I would not attend any retreats; go for marriage guidance or personal counselling at all. If someone got too close I would just close them out. There were many other things that I would avoid.
My wife found this difficult to cope with (surprise) and then would seek solace with her friends. This behaviour only increased my anxiety so I sought to control this by imposing times for her to be home by and questioning her about what she was saying to whom. I became very paranoid about what she was reading, who she mixed with, and at the same time tried to present this image of a young lion going on for God.
I involved myself with good works, lead a cell group, preached at the local mental hospital, was elected as a deacon in the church, all the time however I was afraid that people would find out that my marriage had problems. The f word. Now the question arises why would I be afraid of people finding out that I had marriage issues. The divorce rate at that time (1984) was quite high so it is only natural that there were a lot of other young couples who had marriage problems. The thing was that the marriage problems were symptomatic of my life really.
I was a manager of a retail outlet, when I think of how I was I am still embarrassed, although I am open about it now, a didactic little Hitler, my way or the highway! In my personal relationships I had always done something better, bigger or faster than the other person. I was lost, a little boy on the inside, broken, fragile and very scared. I wanted to be a success in life but I had no way of translating that into action. I was paralysed by fear.
Like any good serial I will stop here now and will carry on with my next blog the second part of this sorry story. Till then just a word there is one thing that is stronger than fear and that is hope. If you are paralyzed by fear in a terrible situation I just want to say there is hope, I cannot promise a miracle but I do know there are answers and there is always another way forward.