Friday, September 23, 2011

Week 9: Flaws & All

Scripture to reflect upon for Relationship Revival Week 9: Romans 7:21-23 (The Message)
It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I’m so flawed and such a mess, I’m surprised Jared can bear to live with me on a daily basis. But you know what? Jared’s just as messy. And a bigger surprise: so are you!

I wrote a blog not too long ago called, Ugh Lug Luggage. It discussed the unforgiveness we carry around, and all the heavy baggage of our past that weighs us down. Today’s blog is something similar to that, but we’re going to dig deeper. We’re going to deal with our flaws and what those mean to us and those around us.

Originally, I was going to write a blog today entitled, “Face It, It’s Real.” It was going to be directed towards men on the topic of PMS, because let’s face it, it’s real and men have a real hard time accepting that fact. They truly believe that women use PMS as an excuse to act nuts, be irritable and feel miserable. I just want to ask every man out there reading this, “What in God’s creation would make you think we want to be that way?!”

I’m going to delve into this topic a bit, because quite honestly, for women, PMS is a major “flaw,” so to speak, in our relationships. It causes a great deal of problems all around us, and we have no easy solution to it. Men don’t understand it, and so in turn they don’t understand us and what we go through. So I want to give the men a bit of insight on what it feels like in our heads. So buckle up, honey. We’re going for a ride.

Sometimes PMS can hit you out of nowhere, especially as you get older because there is no longer a very specific timetable you can rely on. The mind boggling headaches are usually the first sign that PMS is lurking around, ready for the attack. Then you begin to feel fatigued and heavy…so heavy, it’s hard just to carry your own weight around. Fatigue does a funny thing to the mind; it makes you irrational and irritable. See, most women don’t have the luxury to do what they did in the Old Testament. Women were sent to tents, and quite honestly, I cherish the thought. No kids, no husband, no chores, just me and my misery, a nice mat (bed) for sleep and rest, and maybe some other women around to commiserate with. Yeah, that sounds like heaven to me during my PMS. Also, if I were secluded, I wouldn’t end up making everyone else around me miserable, either! Someone needs to rethink that law.

However, we are not afforded the luxury to rest, or retreat, or regroup. We have to keep on going. Suddenly, the smallest things can set us off. The normal, everyday routines seems to now be heightened and electrified and, quite honestly, incredibly overwhelming. There seems to be no end in sight for everything that needs to be done, so we find a nice corner and cry about it instead. Men, if you think we are irrational, you are absolutely correct. And don’t think we don’t know it. Stopping it, though, is an entirely different story.

According to, here are “medical” symptoms of PMS:
Physical symptoms include:
§  Breast swelling and tenderness.
§  Bloating, water retention, weight gain.
§  Changes in bowel habits.
§  Acne.
§  Nipple discharge when nipples or breasts are pressed. (Any leakage that spontaneously happens when you aren't pressing on the nipple should be checked by a health professional.)
§  Food cravings, especially for sweet or salty foods.
§  Sleep pattern changes.
§  Fatigue, lack of energy.
§  Decreased sexual desire.
§  Pain. Common complaints include headaches or migraines, breast tenderness, aching muscles and joints, or cramps and low back pain prior to menstrual bleeding.

Behavioral symptoms include:
§  Aggression.
§  Withdrawal from family and friends.

Emotional and cognitive symptoms include:
§  Depression, sadness, hopelessness.
§  Anger, irritability.
§  Anxiety.
§  Mood swings.
§  Decreased alertness, inability to concentrate.

Is it any wonder we’re irrational? Some of us—me—suffer from severe PMS. We can even begin to question our entire life, sometimes even contemplate suicide. Life feels empty and worthless. And yes, it’s incredibly irrational, but look over that list again. Do you see all the things we go through physically and emotionally? I even get pretty clumsy. I lose my balance, bump into things, and drop things. And that, too, can send me into a downward spiral of misery.

Men, you just need to ride this out. You need to let it roll off your shoulders. You need to ZIP IT.

Aside from my excessive PMS symptoms, I’m also not perfect. Go figure. I have other flaws, and countless pet peeves. I’m very fortunate, because Jared puts up with every single one of them. Not only that, he finds my flaws endearing. I’m not sure how, but he does, and he does it with grace. In fact, the very first time I met Jared I was crabby and irritable because there were so many new people at work; Jared was one of them. I looked him right in the eyes, and with as much attitude as I could muster, I asked, “Who the @#$% are you?” Jared claims that’s when he became intrigued with me. Any other man would have steered clear, and rightfully so.

Years before I met Jared, I re-dated an ex-boyfriend who claimed undying love for me. He insisted that for fifteen years he couldn’t stop thinking about me, and eventually realized I was the one he was supposed to be with “forever”. That was until he found out I was a flawed human. He honestly told me that the reason he no longer wanted to be with me was because he had this “image” of me in his mind, and I just didn’t live up to it. Well, yeah, because I’m not perfect!

I can’t even begin to tell you how many men have told me this kind of story. Sure, I’m fun-loving, sweet, generous, thoughtful and witty, and men loved that about me, but there’s another side to me, too. I’m afraid of being abandoned, I’m outspoken and opinionated, I’m strong and independent, I’ve been hurt time and time again. That’s the side no one wanted anything to do with. It’s a part of me, and they only wanted half of me, not the whole me. The second my flaws surfaced, they ran far, far away! Scardy cats! Jared is a brave soul; let’s just get that out in the open right now. This man deserves a medal!

Listen, folks, if you’re looking for the “perfect” relationship, or the “perfect” person, neither one of them exist. You are flawed, they are flawed, therefore your relationship will also have flaws. It’s inevitable. Face the fact that you will absolutely, positively have to deal with someone else’s idiosyncrasies, pet peeves, and monthly biological disorders. You can get mad about them, you could even leave the person because of them, but you will never, ever, EVER escape them. Your flaws follow you wherever you go, as does everyone else’s.

ACTION PLAN: I couldn’t tell you how he does it, but it might be wise to take Jared’s lead. Embrace your partner’s flaws; try to find something endearing about them. He saw mine as a woman who was strong and fiery. He also understands that I’m a woman who wants things a certain way, so he truly tries to meet those challenges, and I might add that he succeeds about 90% of the time. The other 10% irritates me, but hey, that’s my flaw, not his.

GO FURTHER: When Jared and I sat down together several months ago and discussed the idea of designing a website specifically for Relationship Revival for couples, we began discussing how our relationship works and how it functions so well. I made a comment like, “I don’t let it get to me that you never close the shower curtain.” And he laughed and said, “That’s funny, because I don’t ever let it get to me that you don’t fill the ice cube trays.” We both laughed hysterically. See, both those things bother us, but we’re not going to let them cause big riffs in our relationship. It’s that whole idea of choosing your battles wisely; because those are stupid things to argue about, right? So why argue about them? The great thing about that conversation was that we both now make a conscious effort to not do those things.

Sit down together and civilly discuss your own flaws. Once you admit them, you will be more aware every time they surface and it will help you control them a tad better. I still suffer all of those symptoms of PMS, but because I talk about them and Jared accepts it as a part of who I am, it’s easier for me to control them—not entirely, but at least I try!

Ladies, if you suffer from PMS, be very aware of the changes that take place. When you begin to feel depressed or irritable, it truly helps to remind yourself when those irrational thoughts begin to creep in that this is just PMS…this will all be over in a few days. And men, you may need to remind yourself of the same thing, and also know that she enjoys those times of the month just as much as you do: she hates it, too!

SINGLES: There’s a valuable lesson to be learned here today. You are flawed, and your future partner will be flawed, too. Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Then decide what kind of flaws are acceptable in a partner, and what flaws are unacceptable (i.e. abuse, drugs, alcoholism, etc.), make sure to be “reasonable.” So that means, ladies, if you’re PMSing don’t make your list now! Men, face the fact that the woman of your dreams will be flawed, so don’t be surprised when she tells you that she has a past, or that she was abused as a child, or that her and her father don’t get along. Those things bring about flaws, but they are a part of who we are as humans, and those very things make us unique and even loveable.

FACT: You can’t accept only bits and pieces of someone…you have to accept all of them.

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