They say love hurts. But I disagree. Love isn’t what hurts, it’s the absence of it. Unfortunately, not all of us love all the time. Sometimes we hurt the ones we love. We yell, snap, say things we shouldn’t, lie, betray each other, or cheat. I have been on both sides of the coin at some point in my life. But more often than not in the recent years, on the receiving end. It has at times devastated me. This is the stuff that nobody likes to talk about. Nobody has answers to. Yet it seems to go on to some degree in almost every marriage or relationship. It’s raw, it’s real, it’s damaging. So I insist on talking.
I’ve fallen in love more than once. Each time I was seriously betrayed. The feeling of betrayal is intense. It was as if I had never known the person I loved. It was as if I was never good enough. Throughout each relationship, each lie, my trust for men became non-existent. My insecurities heightened. I came to believe that every man and every person was bound to hurt me in some way. I became extremely jealous, bitter, and reserved.
So it came to pass, that I was only hurt and betrayed more and more. Each time, leaving me so devastated that I became suicidal. I forgot how to enjoy life. I forgot who I was. All I could focus on was never being hurt again and doing whatever I could in my power to stop it from continuing. The problem was, it was never in my power to stop to begin with, and my behaviour was only fueling a negative cycle.
It was only in that realization that healing began.
This is part of love that is so special. It leaves us vulnerable to another human being. A human being who is going to fail, in some way. A human being who we will lose some day. The small failures are easy enough to look past. But what about the intentional ones, the heartbreaking ones? What about the ones that leave you feeling weak, unsure and insecure? What about the ones that scream ‘you’re not enough.’ How do you handle that?
I can’t give a clear cut answer for every circumstance, but I can say with confidence that the behaviour of the one you love really has nothing to do with you. Negative behaviours come from deep seeded wounds. Wounds that scream to be nursed by whatever is fitting in the moment. Wounds that flare up whenever challenged, or in the midst of stress. We all have them to some degree. We all cope in some way, some healthy, others damaging. Without freedom, without healing, those wounds stay open and exposed. Thus giving birth to all negative and damaging behaviours.
Whether you are on the giving or receiving end of betrayal or hurt, the ideal answer for both people is healing. However, you have no control in what another person chooses. You can only control your choices. I found my healing in knowing Christ. By meditating on the word, I came to understand forgiveness. Forgiveness was the first step to being free. It was also the most difficult, because they didn’t deserve my forgiveness. I needed freedom, so the only way was to let go. The second was understanding my identity, my worth, my value in Christ. That identity is far greater than anything I could have come to on my own. The value that we have as people is immense. We each have a unique purpose, and destiny. That is far more exciting than holding onto things of the past, than carrying burdens and scars. I still have days where those old wounds begin to ache and beg for attention. It is then that I realize I am forgetting the freedom that has been given to me.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
Gal 5:1 NIV
You are enough, you are complete. There is nothing and nobody in the world that will fulfill you. The more you look to people, money, things, appearance, reputation, and the things of the world to fulfill you, the more you are controlled, thus bearing ‘a yoke of slavery.’ Look to the one who can bring true freedom. It’s the only real answer. It’s the only true freedom. The only way to fight for what is good and just. For it is the only pure and satisfying love.