Do You See Me?

Recognizing your spouse's hidden sacrifices—and saying thanks

I slammed the pan on the counter and watched droplets of spaghetti sauce splash bright red stains on my new white shirt.

"That's just great." I bit my lip and grabbed a paper towel.

Ron slipped out of the recliner and stared at the mess. "Do you need some help?"

Guilt tapped me on the shoulder and kicked my hide your true feelings so you can be a great Christian wife response into high gear. I was exhausted and didn't want to cook or be the good wife. I took a deep breath as my eyes darted from Ron to the floor.

I bit my lip again. "No, I'm fine. I'm just tired and the pan got away from me. Go rest and I'll have this cleaned up in a few minutes."

"Are you sure?"

I had to turn away to hide my ugly feelings. Please, God, please don't let him ask questions. "Yes, I'm sure. Go rest."

A sore tongue and sweet responses didn't change the war that raged in my head. It's never easy to admit that I want to be selfish. There are times I want recognition. I want to be noticed. There are times when I crave a thank-you or a pat on the back. I plated our food and wondered, Do you see me? Do you see the way I sacrifice my feelings to take care of you?

Hiding Emotions

Ron is an excellent husband and is often super-sweet. Even a great spouse can miss clues. Even a great marriage can harbor an individual who feels neglected or unappreciated. I'm sure I miss other people's cues as well. When I'm busy it's hard for me to pay attention to every little cue from my family or my friends.

It doesn't help the do-you-see-me syndrome that Ron believes me even when I misrepresent myself. If I insist that I'm okay, he will walk away. That makes me crazy! He doesn't hide his feelings and I do. The fact that I sacrifice even when I'm miserable causes me to feel like a victim and makes his inability to see me even worse.

I hate arguments and strive to be logical when dealing with my own emotions. I have goals (I rationalize). I want to support my family. Sometimes that means I take the high road and don't require my family to notice my unselfish deeds. Unfortunately, unresolved emotions eventually burst through a dam of hurt. Raging emotions can destroy relationships.

Like many men, Ron works a demanding schedule. The decision for me to stay home with the kids makes me feel guilty. I've had time to enjoy our children when Ron couldn't. I want to honor his sacrifice by making home his personal sanctuary.

Don't get me wrong. Being a mother will push you to the limit and rub your last nerve until you run around the perimeter of your house screaming at God for more patience. (That's another story.) Still, I believe a stay-at-home mother has advantages and personal time that people who work outside the home don't have.

Debbie Jansen
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May 25

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