Humor is almost always anger with its make-up on. — Stephen King, Bag of Bones
My wife and I went to a marriage counselor a number of years ago to get some help. He came back with a stinging diagnosis: We were “pretenders.” We both pretended everything was fine when it wasn’t. Maybe we were afraid of conflict or
rejection. I don’t know. But secretly, our private thoughts and hurts were getting stuffed away. So neither my wife nor I spoke of them. It all looked good on the surface, but underneath a major problem was brewing:
If you don’t say it, you store it.
One at a time, those hurts were filed away as unimportant. But even small things add up. We were left with lots of little hurts being masqueraded as “just fine.” And “just fine” had finally been exposed as one big lie.
Paul wrote to Ephesus, “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body” (4:25).
Falsehood isn’t just speaking lies; it’s also projecting something that is false. It’s pretending like everything is fine when it’s not.
Because if you don’t say it, you store it. And, friends, it doesn’t stay stored forever.
Think of hurts in a marriage like potatoes in a gunnysack. These old gunnysacks held a hundred pounds of potatoes. A gunnysack in marriage gets filled up like this:
A forgotten anniversary? Throw a potato in the sack.
Tight finances turn into stabs at the other’s paycheck? Throw a potato in the sack.
A computer’s history reveals a present pornography addiction? That’s a huge potato going in that sack.
It hurts, but you can’t bring yourself to talk about it. You aren’t sure where to begin. Thus, one by one, potatoes are tossed inside your gunnysack. Because you don’t say it, you store it. And, friends, if you store it, you have to carry it … and then one day, you’re going to dump it. You might even try to laugh about it. But yeah, “Humor is almost always anger with its make-up on”—and there’s nothing humorous about that kind of anger when it gets dumped.
Lord, show me a better way. Show me how I might be storing hurts and holding back words that need to be spoken. Give me the courage to be truthful in words and action, honestly talking about my thoughts inside relationships. Teach me how to do that this week. Above all, I pray Your Spirit would wrap all conversations in love and gentleness, so that in my honesty, I don’t cause more hurt. Amen.
Taken from Pete’s series To Love and to Cherish.