Picture a look of utter confusion, disgust, and disdain. Now, couple that with the verbal response of: “What were you thinking?!!”
This was a common reaction from me to the socially, financially, and sexually irresponsible decisions of my ex-husband.
Why am I married to him!!??
I was regularly BAFFLED at the stupidity of someone 5 years my senior. I just couldn’t understand at 26 how you didn’t know better about some things by now. I mean…….really?!!?
So, in trying to help him see the error of his ways, I usually told him just how ridiculous he was.
But all while I was being “helpful” I was being counterproductive.
I don’t know any person on this planet that wants to be told repeatedly they’re a screw up. Especially not in a marriage. In addition to constantly reminding him of his short comings, because they were a PLENTY, I was drawing a fine but DISTINCT line between us.
I’ve always been a nurturer at heart; someone that mothered people around me. My nickname was Mama Tina before I ever had children! But in my youth I still had a lot of immaturity in my identity. I wasn’t quite a nurturer as much as I was a fixer. I thought I needed to help everyone fix what was wrong with them (according to my perception). It came from a good place in my heart but it didn’t always yield the best results.
LET ME BE CLEAR: I’m certain I did know better than my ex-husband about a lot of things. Had he done the things I said on occasion he wouldn’t have gotten into some of the situations he did. And he absolutely was building walls between us all while I was drawing lines.
So maybe your partner DOESN’T know what they’re doing in regards to finances, friends, etc. Maybe they’re playing a part too.
But this isn’t about blaming them. This is about accountability. Which is why we’re going to talk about MY errors. To help you find YOURS.
Let’s get to it!
A. He doesn’t need to be mothered by you
“But I’m not mothering him”
If you’re regularly reminding what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and why he should do it how you say: YOU’RE MOTHERING HIM!
And if you put an S in front of that……SMOTHERING!
Even if his decisions seem to be birthed out of a lack of good parenting he doesn’t need YOU to be his parent. He has two people that brought him into this world. The burden of raising him to be a man lay with them. NOT YOU! And wherever they lacked in helping to raise him, as a grown-up, it’s now his responsibility to RAISE HIMSELF!
I know, you just want to be helpful. But would you be helpful to your children if for the rest of their lives they knew they could just look to you for the answers? If they knew they never had to figure things out on their own? Or that you’d always be there to clean up their messes? What happens when you’re not there anymore? Then what? How much help were you really?
The same goes for your partner. You’re not being helpful by positioning yourself into a crutch for them. You’re creating a dependency, which maybe some of you crave, but that’s so extremely unhealthy!
I’m not saying your partner shouldn’t need you. I believe our purpose in God is attached to our mates. So I absolutely believe we need each other. BUT you should be able to function without them and vice versa. Making yourself their crutch takes away their power and accountability.
B. He will resent you mothering him
Even if your actions are coming from a good place it doesn’t mean they’ll produce good fruit. How often is he resistant to your advice?
As a crazy twist; he probably was partially attracted to you because you ARE motherly. Subconsciously he’s looking for what you offer because there’s a lack in his life. But if you’re gifting is immature you will mishandle him.
You can be helpful to your partner’s destiny without mothering them through the process.
For years I’ve known something was up with Chris and his past. He just wouldn’t talk about some things. And I know, when something cuts so deeply that we don’t even want to talk about it, it’s 100% negatively impacting our lives. But never did I force him to talk about it, bring it up, or suggest how he deal with it.
I was always the supportive, loving, open, and honest wife he needed. So that, 4 years later, he could choose to talk about it and get free from it of his own accord. I didn’t need to badger him with the importance of sharing his feelings. I didn’t need to remind him the negative effects of holding on to that hurt. I just needed to make sure he understood that I was a safe place.
Nurturing them doesn’t mean directing them.
With my ex-husband I also intuitively knew why he was a certain way about certain things. But instead of me nurturing him through the process I mothered him. I told him how he should move forward and not live his life dictated by his past. How he really just needed to give it over to God and be who God was calling him to be. Sounds good right?
But my advice was unsolicited and given in a “why the hell don’t you already know this” way. So it yielded horrible results. One time he yelled at me “YOU’RE NOT MY bleeping MOM TINA!”
I don’t know why that makes me laugh now. LoL
There is power in your silent strength. You want to be helpful? You want to be a positive influence? Be an amazing woman. Period.
Now I don’t think any amount of nurturing would have actually saved our marriage. He had deep seated stuff that he needed to work through before he ever should’ve been my husband.
A Healthy Me Precedes a Healthy We #meandthenwe
But who you are to him in deed speaks volumes more than what you could ever actually say to him in words.
C. You need a partner, not an additional responsibility
I used the term partner throughout this blog because that’s what they SHOULD be. But it’s important to note that just because you’re in a relationship with someone doesn’t actually make them a partner. You have to know how to be a partner in order to attract a partner.
Some of you are mothering the person you’re with because it’s an immaturity in your nature of being a nurturer.
Question: Would someone want to partner with you in business if you were always steamrolling them with your opinions of how they could be better? So why, if this is your truth, do you think you’d attract a partner in a relationship? You’re motherly. You’ll attract someone to mother. GROW YOUR GIFT!
Then others of you are mothering because you’re in a relationship with someone that just isn’t on a level playing field with you.
Question: Would you go into a business partnership with someone that didn’t bring as much to the table as you do? Would you be willing to invest your money in someone that didn’t rise to the occasion as you do? So why would you invest your heart?!
I encourage you to shift your thinking. Stop thinking of what you can add to them. Stop thinking of how much you help them. Stop caring that they NEED you. And start thinking of what you can build together. Start thinking of how much value you add to one another. Start seeing how secure in self they are even without you. If you can’t see yourself working WITH them; if you don’t see MUTUAL value; if you see a broken person that NEEDS you to function you don’t need to be in a romantic relationship with them.
Trainer/Trainee. Not Partners.
You are playing an INSTRUMENTAL part in the success of your relationship. Telling someone, in words or actions, “you don’t know what you’re doing” and “just listen to me” are only half-way effective tools to parent and a completely INEFFECTIVE way to partner within a relationship.
Be a partner. Attract a partner.
I love you so much. I’m praying for you every single day. And I’m believing for your limitless lives!