I didn’t understand why Gary Chapman’s “love tank” had to be filled on a daily basis. I thought a consistent pouring would be enough, so says me who was filling the tank. Now, I am purposefully on the receiving end of that and I get it.
One of the things I love about my husband is that he makes me feel emotionally safe. The moment I feel emotionally unsafe, all is lost for me. It doesn’t matter how great of a job he did just the day before in making me feel safe, today’s emotional robbery can leave me feeling like I have never been loved before.
When my husband stands up for me, supports my decisions, agrees to my choices especially in relation to my big kids, I feel emotionally safe. He makes me feel emotionally safe in other areas as well but areas concerning my bonus children are a quick hot button. If it’s pushed correctly, easy street. If it’s neglected, all hell breaks loose.
Last weeks subculture creation was the lightbulb that I needed to see the importance of daily filling the love tank because I found my own tank on empty. While I prayed and shared with God my feelings and my thoughts on the subculture creation, I pulled back the many layered emotional onion and realized, only as I said it aloud, that my husband’s scheduled visit made me feel unsafe.
The potential of this subculture sent me into a self-preservation cycle. All my thoughts have been centered on taking care of me and Jazmine because I can’t trust my husband to emotionally do for me/us because I have to prepare for him to do for them. I was thinking through how I was going to have to operate as a married-single parent, which is something I NEVER EVER wanted to be, because I can no longer count on my husband to put me first as his wife. It sent me into baton-down-the-hatches-panic mode.
I tried to stay cool but my efforts to stay cool only created a coolness between us. I turned undemonstrative to him. I was very distant because emotionally, I could not afford to be close when I did not feel safe. I am task oriented by nature anyway so I became even more so. Daily chores now check marks to be completed without emotion. There was no love in my making dinner. My verbal response to his efforts to engage me in conversation was short and quipped. My goal wasn’t rudeness. I was trying to protect myself but all of my efforts to remain silent and pray through resulted in the same behaviors I used to have when I was angry with him about something that I wanted him to know about already. Even though my motive is different, on the outside, it all looks the same. I can’t win!
I realize that this is an automatic response for me to shut down all emotion when I feel my emotions been threatened. I realize that is it habitual. I have to learn how to behave outwardly while I pray my way through inwardly. Wish I knew the answer to this one already…