As we made our way along the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway, we felt drawn to pull over to one of the outlooks and take in the view. As we stood there absorbing the majesty and the beauty of the mountains and the trees, an elderly couple pulled in to park. I was drawn to the couple’s puppy that straddled the center console of their car and made my way over to strike up a conversation.
If I were to guess, I would say this man and woman were in their 80’s. My first impression of them was, “Oh, how sweet! Look at these people…still going on adventures together and enjoying each other!” But within a few minutes of chatting with the woman while her hubby took the dog to the bathroom, I realized that the picture I imagined was not quite what it seemed.
I’m not sure how we got on the conversation, but the topic of stepfamilies came up. Immediately, I noticed the woman’s blood begin to boil. Then she exclaimed, “I’ve been married to this man for 14 years and I don’t know if I can take it anymore!”
I was a bit in shock with her words. But knew that this encounter was no accident and that this family was in need of healing. I asked, “What is the problem?”
“Every time my kids come to see me, he shuts up and won’t say anything! He won’t even say ‘hi’! He won’t have anything to do with them!”
I could feel this woman’s pain and understood why she was fuming. I also understood what was happening to her hubby each time her kids arrived. His little wounded child inside of him felt abandoned. He was afraid of feeling left out and shut himself down as a result. He rejected himself before his wife and her girls could reject him first.
I began to share my perspective with this woman. I told her a little about myself and my work and then went on to explain why her hubby was acting out. His little inner child was hurting and throwing a temper tantrum.
At first she resisted my response and had no compassion for his pain. Then I dove a little further into the conversation.
“You know what I would do if I were you?” I asked.
She shook her head no and grabbed my hand.
“I would let go of my guilt for spending time with my kids. The next time your hubby acts out when they are visiting, say to him, ‘I’m sorry you’re hurting.’ Then tell him that you would like him to join you and your girls.”
I explained further that the rest was up to her hubby and that he has to choose what he wants to do, but by having compassion for his pain and sending love to the situation, she would create an opening for him to heal.
I added one last thought, “Just know that this really has nothing to do with you. He is simply a man who has a wounded little boy inside of him that is afraid of losing you.”
With those words the woman’s heart softened and opened up. She squeezed my hand tighter and said, “I’m so glad I met you today. Thank you!”
I have no idea what will come of this elderly couple. I don’t know if they will make it. What I do know is that a seed was planted for them to heal.
It’s interesting. My group took a detour on our trip to stop and get a better view. Our hearts wanted a different perspective of the mountains. I had no idea that I would encounter this woman, or that we would have a deep transforming conversation. But what I know for sure is that she was ready. This momma was ready for her family to heal. Not only did we get a different outlook that day, so did she.
So now my question to you is where in your life do you need a new outlook? Is there something troubling you? If there is, how would your perspective change if you brought compassion to the situation? What would happen if you saw it with loving eyes? I invite you to give it a try and see how your life changes!
The couple in my blog has obviously lost that “loving” feeling, as I know so many parents do. If you would like to get back to passion and romance with your spouse, I invite you to join me for “The Art of Love: Mastering the Keys to Deep Connection, Soulful Passion & Lasting Love” teleseries. Teachers such as Dr. John Gray, author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, will guide you to a deeper love. I have been asked to be an expert on the summit’s Parenting Panel bonus call. We will be discussing why we lose the connection with our spouses when we become parents, and how to get it back in a long-lasting passionate way…in spite of having kids around. You won’t want to miss this series! Click here for all of the details!
Here are some pictures from my North Carolina trip!