Change is Good…and Sometimes Necessary

Posted: May 25, 2011 in Love and Marriage
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There is one major difference between auto restoration and restoring older homes.  When a car is being restored, it’s all about original parts.  The focus is on replacing worn out and damaged parts and making the finished product exactly like the original.  No changes, no artistic license.

It reminds me of an experience I had in Spain, during a luncheon sponsored by a winery.  We were served a traditional soup, but it had been made differently than it normally was.  Our host became quite upset and had an animated conversation with the waiter about why it hadn’t been made in the traditional way.  The people of southern Spain value tradition and are resistant to change.

I was all about change at this point in my life and my marriage.  Mostly, I needed to change myself.  I was going through the process of allowing myself to be changed by God, and also learning to change with the help of my therapist and others who I opened up to and accepted counsel from.  I was listening, and that was key. 

I had never realized that my wife felt smothered and controlled.  It was a case of an unintended consequence.  I always wanted to do things for her and help her, but I was unintentionally sending the message that I didn’t think she was capable or competent.  We also had an issue regarding something she wanted that I hadn’t thought was very important.  She had talked off and on for years about wanting a tattoo, and I had always told her that I didn’t like them and didn’t want her to get one. 

She had understood me to be forbidding her and now she was intent on getting one.  It was an opportunity for me to show her that things were different, and that I would love and accept her and allow her to make her own choices.  We looked at designs and chose a tatoo artist together.  I sat with her and held her hand through the entire application.  The tatoo artist never suspected that we were separated, and I hoped and prayed that my wife was receiving at least a little bit of the love that I was desperately trying to show her.

Sometimes, the restoration of a house involves making some changes.  There is a certain amount of updating that is not only acceptable, but often necessary.  A house that was originally built with no bathrooms and little or no electricity probably shouldn’t be restored to be exactly like it originally was.  So it was with our marriage. 

I was sharing the story of the vision with a colleague and friend one day and he made a most astute observation.  He said that it sounded like the original “house” was never entirely adequate.  He pointed out that it not only needed to be restored, it probably needed to be added on to.  He hit the nail right on the head.  Even though our marriage started out as a beautiful thing, there were aspects of it that had never been healthy.  The curb appeal was amazing, but underneath, it hadn’t been built right.

Not fighting my wife over her tatoo, but accepting it and being part of it was a tangible act that showed a change in the way I responded to her.  The tattoo itself was also something tangible that showed that her life was changing.  She had told our oldest daughter that if it was going to work out between us, I would have to love all of her.  If I couldn’t accept all of who she was, we couldn’t get back together.  What a person wears, the way they style their hair, or what they put on their skin isn’t who they are.  It’s just self-expression.  True love sees the person beneath the skin and listens to the heart.


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