Someone asked me "show us what you mean by taking responsibility for your own feelings and actions." So I will. Understand, my experience is mine and not yours. How this fits you, if it does at all, the Spirit will have to show you.
The other morning I had a great idea. I mulled it over in my mind for awhile---about two minutes actually---and started telling Mary, my wife of forty-eight years, about it. [It directly involved her since it was in reference to a "we" thing.] I began by saying,"let me finish the whole thing without interruption please." She responded by saying, "are you telling me to keep my mouth shut?" "No" I said, "I just want to get my idea totally on the table." She said, "it sounds like the other but I'll take your word on it." I could tell she was dubious and I tried to convince her with a multude of explanatory words that there was no reason to doubt my stated motive, which is always a clue there is something amiss in me. The whole conversation did not go well.
I went on my two-mile walk. Thinking time. My personality is like a Mack truck sometimes. I get a thought and I tend to run over people getting it across. My tendency is to think--- as I'm talking--- and woe to the one who interrupts my brilliant thought pattern going on inside my head and making a bee-line to my mouth. Add to that, an over emphasis on my being the one in charge of things like home, church, ministry, and a theological history of believing women are second rate citizens of the Kingdom, though I would have vehemently denied such a charge were it to have been made against me, and you have a controller waiting to happen. How would you have liked to have lived with that person for the first twenty years of a marriage?
Our old pattern [PG...pre-grace] as a married couple was one where I spoke and things happened. She listened and responded accordingly with much awe [my assessment of a correct response] at my wisdom. [Whether it was wise or not, I was the man after all.] That's what submissive women are supposed to do. The fact that all such concepts are inherently unbiblical was only discovered after those first twenty years of marriage. By His power and through His Grace, with the text of scripture as truly our only guide, we're changing. We both now listen, speak, serve, and take charge when it's our responsibility to do so, respecting the other when it's theirs to do so.
Add to this a peaceableness that the Spirit has brought to me of late that has starting replacing agitation when under pressure and you have a little light into some of the journey Mary and I are on.
That particular morning that journey seemed to not exist. I was right back [not as profound as before I'm trusting] I had been those many years ago. Seriously, as I type this, it occurs to me I have created MOPs. M--ack truck, O--ld patterns and P--eaceableness gone and I really did have a mess to MOP up.
I apologized at noon that day. Why? The problem was not her statement, her reaction, her anything, I'm my problem. Was she innocent? That's her business. No disagreement is EVER about who's right or wrong really, but who's willing to take responsibility for their own part of the mess and listen to what the other is saying, not for agreement but for understanding. She's honest enough to find out her part in it, but that's not my part of the equation. Yes, she admitted her filter of being "told to be quiet" and that she tends to hear some things through it. But that's her story. Mine is mine and it's my responsibility to admit it and change by His Power and in His Grace and continue to grow.
How she heard it, for the record, was what I was really saying and, with that old pattern coupled with my strong personality that has been used in the past for controlling purposes, to my own shame, I acted like I do not wish to act that morning.
She forgave. I thanked her. We talked about my idea. It had some value. We used a form of it at my Board meeting two days later and two really different people are still learning to live with those differences after many years of marriage and are both grateful for Grace we've received from God and each other.
The question could be asked--will it happen again? Knowing me, probably. Knowing her, probably. But knowing what we both know now---having a problem is no problem at all, but an unwillingness to each take responsibility for their part is a real problem--- we may make a marrige yet. Time will tell.
Mary has read and approved this since it involves her or it would not be posted.