What Goes Around Comes Around

Posted: June 18, 2011 in Love and Marriage
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I completed a sprint triathlon in Willard, MO this morning – my first since the Tiger Tri last August.  For the first time since I started competing in races, my wife was there to support me and cheer me on.  During the transitions and at the finish, she was there today, taking pictures and offering encouragement.

In my other events, she was either competing also, or simply not there.  I went to all of her events last year while we were having our marital breakdown.  Every time she ran, I was there supporting her and being excited for her.  I was glad to do it and didn’t ask for anything back.  Last year, it was disappointing not having that from her, but I understood it based on where she was (or wasn’t) in the relationship.

There are a lot of things that have changed and turned around completely since then.  It would be one thing for us to have simply worked through our differences and decided to give it another try.  What happened, though, was something different altogether.  During our separation and reconciliation, we were changed. We became new and different people.  Things are not like they were before.

My wife has always had difficulty with empathy.  She was never one to show her feelings, and always kept up the “I’m tough” appearance.  Some of this was a survival technique arising out of an abusive background.  She had a sense that no one had been there to comfort her or empathize with her.  No one made her feel better when she was hurting, so she didn’t really have it in her to offer that to anyone else.

She also never did well with sickness.  She has a very strong immune system and her kids seemed to inherit those healthy genes.  Since she was never really sick growing up, she never experienced a lot of being cared for.  In the same way, her kids were rarely sick as they grew up, and when they were, they would usually recover quickly.  Her attitude tended to be, “suck it up and get better,” because that what was pretty much what she had always done.

My immune system isn’t so efficient, and I’ve had my share of illness during our marriage.  It took me a while to get past the idea that she wasn’t going to pamper me when I was sick.  Eventually, I came to accept that, in our marriage, I was going to more or less have to deal with being sick on my own.  It’s not that she didn’t care.  She just wasn’t wired that way.

Last year, I spent months giving to her in every way I could and asking for nothing in return.  I poured myself into her day after day, week after week, just trying to show her how much I loved her and what that meant.  My only intention in it all was to love her enough that it would break through the wall that she had built between us, so that we could be together again.

Last week, I got sick, completely out of the blue.  I came down with a fever right when I was trying to push my training for the triathlon.  For several days, I was burning up and weak, unable to do much of anything.  It was the first time I’ve been sick since we’ve been back together, and the difference in the way she treated me was astounding.

She constantly asked me how I was doing and if there was anything I needed.  She put blankets over me and held me at night when I was shivering.  She was kind, compassionate, and attentive.  In short, she treated me the way I’ve always wanted to be treated.  Then today, she was my cheerleader as I swam, cycled, and ran.

So how did this happen?  What made the change?  In contemporary language, they say, “What goes around comes around.”  People call it karma.  They say, “What you give out will come back to you.”  Jesus said, “Whatever you sow, that you will also reap,” and “Give, and it will be given to you.”  These are spiritual truths.  When you give from a pure heart and unselfish motives, it changes things.  People still have a free will, and nobody forced my wife to change, but in the context of receiving so much love from me, she wanted to.


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