“Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction.” Antoine De Saint-Exupery
For a man to complete me, he’d have to weigh a ton, which reminds me of Sawyer Brown’s song, 800 Pound Jesus. Prince Charming couldn’t come close. Neither could a knight on his white horse. My husband, John, hasn’t stood a chance either.
My stomach knots up when I hear, “He completes me.” I’ve joked about it, but the reality is I hated that John didn’t complete me and I hated that I wanted him to. I hated groveling for my parents’ approval and the admiration of my kids. I didn’t want it to matter how many friends I had, but it did. And while friends were a number to rack up, I didn’t have many. I felt incomplete when I’d scan a room to see if men besides my husband noticed me.
I thought, I wouldn’t be like this if John would …
I didn’t give up, either. I worked more than 30 years to straighten out him and our marriage – to help him be who I thought I needed. All of this trying came with some screaming and lots of tears.
I suggested self-help books, counselors, and marriage retreats.
I emailed him quotes about attitude and growing up and taking responsibility. I forwarded articles with helpful husband tips.
I pointed out examples of couples (with a focus on the man) who I thought we should emulate. Most of these couples are no longer together.
Instead of helping, I hurt us by insisting John do something impossible … complete me.
I haven’t been easy to handle since feeling incomplete manifested as anxiety, dissatisfaction, and depression. I made marriage messier the more I insisted holy matrimony had something to do with filling the hole in my spirit. I mixed up my husband’s purpose with that of the Holy Spirit. I’d throw fits because God felt far away and John was standing right in front of me, so why didn’t he hold me and make me feel saner and loved.
I acknowledge now how impossible that is for someone to do when they’re just as broken and trying to nurture the same kind of hole in their spirit.
Sawyer Brown’s video 800 Pound Jesus is a beautiful visual of how God shows up in those places that people can’t fill. I’ve always skipped the song on my CD because it wasn’t a favorite, but now I listen because it reminds me of the ever-present presence of Jesus.
I didn’t mention grandchildren filling me (which seems an obvious choice as much as I love mine) because of what happened about eight months before our granddaughter’s birth. Claire is two and a half so you don’t have to wonder how long ago it’s been … not long. My husband and I fought our final battle over whether he was up for the job of completing me.
The story is too long for this post and maybe too personal for my blog, but I’ll tell you it was a six-month stalemate and the most painful time for me of our marriage. Pain is sometimes the only way God gets through to me.
As a result, when I held Claire for the first time, the love I felt for her overwhelmed me, but it never crossed my mind she’d complete me. In fact, I knew she wouldn’t. It was bittersweet because she’s so loved and lovable, it almost seemed like she should. However, for the realization that she wouldn’t, I would have fought with John for six months plus sixty years. No one needs the burden of completing someone else. I’m sorry to those I tried to make carry it for too long.
So, where’s that leave our marriage besides incomplete?
I heard my answer in the movie Shall We Dance with Susan Sarandon and Richard Gere. After Beverly Clark (played by Sarandon) finds out her husband’s not having an affair, but taking dance lessons without her, she meets the private investigator at a bar to let him know she no longer needs his services. She said about marriage, “We need a witness to our lives. There are a billion people on the planet … I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things … all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.”
If there’s anything you’d like to share, I hope you’ll consider leaving a comment. It helps all of us to hear from each other.
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I think we all have those moments/days/weeks/… when we look around for someone or something that makes us feel valuable and valued. Most of the time however, life is just too busy for us to notice whether or not we are being noticed. But a recent experience reminded me that others are paying attention even when we don\’t realize it. Here\’s what happened. Some friends were visiting from Kentucky (where I lived for 30 years) and with them was a couple I hadn\’t met before. As we sat down to lunch on the Marsh Walk my friends introduced me with these words, \”Niki is a great person to have a conversation with. She has such a realistic view of life.\” Others around the table chimed in agreement and I was so surprised and pleased by the affirmation, especially as I often feel I can be too serious about life. In my heart of hearts I want to be more fun loving and free, but maybe that\’s not my gift. Maybe my gift is the gift of balance – leveling out the happy-go-lucky and the depressives around me. Maybe we just need to remind each other from time to time that we do see, we do hear each other.
Niki, your comment made me tear up because we do \”need to remind each other from time to time that we do see, we do hear each other.\”
We also need to affirm each other more often so that someone like you, with so many valuable qualities, isn\’t wanting to be something different. What a wonderful and true compliment your friends gave you. You are steady and safe to be around, which offers balance in your friendships and in WIN. <3 I love that we're friends.
You have a way of getting to the heart of difficult relationship issues by boldly sharing your personal experiences without fear. That is inspirational in that you are no longer afraid and that you have found that it helps others and the dialogue with others helps us all. Well written, and illustrated with thought provoking quotes and graphics.
I always appreciate your comments, Joel. Sharing personal experiences gets less scary each time I do it. I keep telling myself this is the stuff I needed to hear when I was at my lowest and feeling my loneliest, so I figure there are others like me.
I\’m proud of my drawings and since John was also impressed, I decided to include them. The smallest things matter sometimes. Thanks for also commenting on them.
Another reference for the hole in your spirit.
“Thou hast made us for thyself, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” -Augustine, Confessions
Augustine’s book “Confessions” the first of its kind (self-revelation) if written today would be a best seller.
If our relationship with the Creator is out balance, chances are that all our relationships will suffer.
Thanks, Bob. Good read.
Also, I really like the title of his book – so appropriate for writing the story of his life.
From Facebook ~
Christy Young and Kenneth Land
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Christy Young So I typed a response a couple of times and they got all tongue twisted. Can\’t seem to put it together. I\’ll keep it simple, love this Kim. It seems you have had quite a bit of insight and done some growing in life. From where I sit now, you are fantastic, and so are your blogs. Great job!
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S. Kim Henson Awww, thanks, Christy Young. heart emoticon It helps to be surrounded by loving people who complete me. Teehee. I say that jokingly, but good friends like you and the other Sugar Girls and family like my cousin who is the other Liker on this post – y\’all have propped me up and pulled me through. Relationships matter so much as long as I remember the most important One. heart emoticon I appreciate your friendship more than you know.
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From Facebook ~
Kim Henson Jan Igoe, I\’m illustrating now, so if you can let them know at SC
Living. wink emoticon #almostreadytotakeoverJanscolumn #bahahahahaha
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Jan Igoe You\’re amazing!
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Kim Henson Awww, thanks, Jan Igoe. A little more practice … lol
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Joel Carter Great thought provoking article, left a comment, Kim.
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Kim Henson Thanks, Joel Carter. I can\’t wait to read it.
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Wow. Great, poignant post. Somehow brings to mind Leonard Cohen\’s haunting lyric in \”Anthem:\” \”Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That\’s how the light gets in.\” Were any married couple to truly \”complete\” each other, were any of us truly \”complete\” even in ourselves maybe we\’d stop striving. And if we don\’t strive maybe we have no reason to go on. The cracks are needed to push us to seek the light and to let it in again and again…. maybe. I\’ve been married 41 years. I might just be cracked! 🙂
Deborah, I\’ve often thought about how being broken keeps us striving. I wonder if I\’d even get out of bed if I didn\’t have some cracks to fill. 🙂 I love the lyrics from Cohen – it\’s true. Congrats on 41 years. We\’re headed that way.
Happy we\’ve connected on The Women of Midlife. I looked up your book on Amazon, the one about family, and it sounds interesting and relatable. I haven\’t talked to my brother since our dad died in 2005 … like I said, relatable. Sigh.
I read your bio and I\’m dying to hear your embarrassing story from Good Morning America. And, oh my gosh, you were on GMA! I\’m starstruck.
Thanks for stopping by to read and comment. See you around the midlife site. <3
Thanks so much. I am so happy I found that Women of Midlife group. Everything I\’ve read by these women (including you of course) has been inspiring. I\’m going to blog about my GMA experience this week as I\’ve been thinking about it quite a lot recently. I\’ll let you know when I post it!
I can\’t wait to read it, Deborah. If you don\’t post it before I leave town for a few days, I\’ll be sure to look for it when I return home.
A friend added me to the group. I love it there!
From Facebook ~
February 25 at 8:39pm ·
When I moved here I wasn\’t sure if I was going to meet people who help expand my personal worldview or not.
I have and S. Kim Henson is one of them. This is wonderful!
Christy Young, Ursula Ashby and 3 others
Kim Henson Awww, Pia Savage. Thank you. heart emoticon
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From Facebook ~
My friend S. Kim Henson has put out another fantastic blog.
Kim Henson Thanks so much, Christy Young. heart emoticon
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From Facebook (Katrina D. Owen shared) ~
(thumbs up) Barbara Pugh
I\’m so behind on my reading of your blogs but had to write on this one…that is one of my favorite quotes by the author of my favorite book \”The Little Prince.\” Your topic hit home as I finally feel complete – without validation from anyone else, with all my flaws and faults…in my case it took chronic illness to get me to this point. Thanks so much for opening your heart and soul. You are helping and inspiring more people than you know with your writing.
Linda, you\’re not behind. I think you\’re reading the posts at just the right time. 🙂
I\’m sorry it\’s taken chronic illness to get you to where you are now, but I\’m delighted to hear you\’re in a good place. You know I understand. It\’s been a long, painful road here, but I\’ve come to accept that it takes what it takes for each one of us.
Thanks for reading along. <3 I love hearing from you.