Thursday, July 12, 2012

Call Me Gumby

*This post is actually a continuation of the marriage study series, but I simply had to give it its own title.  Because using the same one felt too confining and also boring.  (Does that give you some insight into my personality? Lexi and I have coined a term for our shared personality type: EDEB- Easily Distracted, Easily Bored.) Now back to the post.

Upon further review of our couple inventory "report", I found some hidden treasures, for which I am very thankful.  I was thrilled to see that in spite of having "low couple agreement" in many areas, we still scored well in "connected-ness", which indicates that our relationship is a healthy, interdependent one.  As opposed to a dysfunctional, codependent one.  Some of you know my personal struggle with codependency, and will understand why this was such a victory for me.  I did wonder how it was possible for us to have such different perspectives on so many things and still maintain that connection.

In my reading for this week (Chapter 3, The Remarriage Checkup) I came across the answer to my question:

"The difference between people who become overly stressed by unforeseen circumstances and those who thrive in them is the ability to adapt. Such persons are able to discern what they cannot change from what they can control and then make the appropriate adjustments."

Interestingly, in our individual profiles, I scored high in the area of "flexibility"... The ability to adapt and change, the willingness to grow...  The key here, for a recovering codependent, is to keep those adjustments "appropriate". Setting appropriate boundaries, even while we compromise.  And strangely enough, we seem to be doing that.  I can only say that it is by the grace of God, because neither of us have experience in "healthy" relationships. We are living proof that the cycle can be broken.  With God's help.  Lots and lots of help.

I tried to think of ways that we are flexible, and really, I can't take any credit... I think I just realized early on that it was the only way to achieve any sense of peace with this many kids, ex-spouses, and ever-changing schedules.  There was nothing to be gained by insisting that everyone accommodate my desires.  In fact, that approach would only serve to bring me massive amounts of frustration.  I did have to pray a lot and grow into it, but I practiced being accommodating without being a door mat until it came more naturally.  ("Sticking up for me without stepping all over you" is a good way to sum up my attitude about boundaries.)  There are still days when I feel I am at my limit.  And there are days when I dig my heels in and say "enough!".  But for the most part, flexibility is coming more naturally, since I get opportunities to exercise it every day.

All in all, I was just thankful to uncover some areas where God has already grown us up a little bit.  Mostly through trying, failing, and trying again.  I am beginning to have hope that He will do the same in all of our "growth areas"... Even the ones we didn't know we needed growth in.

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