I Choose Us
As I mentioned before, I made the decision early in our marriage to use spare time as family time. You would think a husband and wife jointly decide on such matters, but I made the decision on my own. I thought I was being a good family man. I did not foresee that we would lose play and fun in our relationship. My decision left Ann feeling unchosen and uncherished.
Since learning a woman's most important question (do you think I’m beautiful?), I realize now my decision delivered a strong message to Ann. No. Ann did not feel her beauty was pursued or courted or affirmed. Ouch, that hurts to write even today. In the movie, Family Man, one of the poignant lines throughout the film is “I choose us.” This means I will sacrifice in my life for the sake of our marriage. Our relationship is more important to me than success or money or our address. I choose us.
I didn't choose us though it may have looked like it. I left Ann lonely. Out of my weakness as a man it was easier for me to relate to the athletic side of Ann. She can run fast, she can hoop, she looked good in gym shorts and a t-shirt, but not too good or soft or intimidating for me. As I mentioned before, I didn't know what to do with her when she dressed in a softer, feminine way. So I mostly neglected her basic question. I didn't seek to take her out and court and delight in her. I was more comfortable with her on the basketball court than courting her.
At her core, a woman wants to know each day that she is lovely inside and out. I took for granted that Ann knew that. To be honest, sometimes I didn't care if she knew it or not. I didn't want to take the time for it, and there was this woman at work . . .
I began to eat lunch with my co-worker, Patty. We talked a lot, and she shared about her marriage, which was poor. So was mine, I was just oblivious to how bad it was. As wrong as it could be, I began to seek to answer her question. I wanted her to know she was valued and beautiful even if she was already married to another man. I gave my heart to her and left Ann vulnerable and isolated. My own decision to make spare time always family time left Ann feeling unlovely and unloved; it left me feeling not respected and connected to Ann. That leads us to Ann’s affair.
For me, Ann's affair felt like the opposite of being chosen. Feelings of worthlessness and rejection covered me. If you are experiencing these feelings now stay with it. They can change and be redeemed. Today I feel chosen by Ann.
Ann now makes an effort to move towards me. I feel special in her eyes. She cycles to spend time with me as I enjoy my favorite pastime. She touches me often on my shoulders and arms to show her appreciation of my physical strength but more so my inner strength. This is in contrast to the distorted disrespect I felt during the only-family time period. I know now that Ann accepts me for who I am, and I don’t have to try to be super Christian or super smart or super anything. I can relax in her presence in full knowledge that she chooses me. She chooses us. And I choose her. I choose us.
In order to experience being chosen, your masks must come off and you must relate from your true self. Remember, the false self has no soul. It can't give or receive love. That's why secrets are so devastating to a marriage. So put yourself out there - warts and glory. It's a big risk, I know. If you are chosen while living out this risk it will be real and healing and transforming.
If you can say this genuinely, look your spouse in the eye, right now. Say, “I choose you. I choose us.” If you'd like to say it but just aren't there right now tell them that. Honesty is better than faking an exercise just for the sake of doing it.