[notice]A fortnightly column on marriage, family and relationships.[/notice]
The other day as I was seating writing on my laptop, my youngest son (aged 6) also took his toy laptop and sat right next to me. He proceeded to open it and type away as if he needed to meet a deadline … the seriousness on his face! Now I happen to know that particular laptop of his is not working. Because he was next to me I quickly took a peek to see what he was doing. I laughed it off in my head as I knew that kids can play with anything as they have a rich imagination. While I was about to go back to my writing he said something I was not ready for. He said “I am faking it. I know it’s not working!” I went back to my laptop with that sentence still ringing in my head; “I am faking it. I know it’s not working.” I could not help but think that my son was not the only one faking it and pretending that something works when its not.
How many of us from the outside look as if we have it all together? On the outside everything looks absolutely fine. It looks as if things are working out but on close inspection things are not as they seem. One would have never guessed from a distance that my son’s laptop does not work. The way he was clicking on those buttons you would think that he is solving some mathematical problem on his educational laptop. It is really when you get closer to him that you can see that everything is off. He is staring at a dark screen.
There are many who find themselves staring at dark screens. Because their friend is happy in their marriage and has respectful kids who seem to excel in everything they pretend sitting next to them that their marriage and their family are also “wonderful.” From a distance looking at how comfortable their lives seem to be and how everything seems you would think everything is ok but when you come closer and you spend time with them you realise that it is not what is seems. It is one thing to see this in somebody it is another altogether for a person to realise and to admit to themselves (like my son did) that “We are faking it! We know our marriage is not working. There’s no life in this marriage. It has been dead for years.”
In my son’s case do we as parents go ahead and have the laptop fixed? Do we throw it away or do we buy a new one? That is the question a lot of people find themselves asking. Throwing it away is an easy option and many choose it these days. You can see that your marriage is not working so you go to divorce court. Some because they do not want to divorce will be unfaithful to their spouse and “get a new one.” This is another easy option. They will be married in name only and continue to fake it. They will fake the smiles! They will fake being happy and look as if they are together. They will look as if they are ok while they both know that they are faking it. There is no love in their marriage and they go outside of the marriage to look for happiness. The third option is the one that others choose but give up along the way because it is too difficult. Fixing their marriage!!!! They will go to the psychologists; read marriage books and want to work on their broken marriage. They will do this for a while until they have to open up to each other. Being vulnerable is something that a lot of people do not want to be. In this macho world that we live in nobody wants to appear weak. No one wants to admit that I have failed in this or that area and I need help. Somehow these days we should have it all together. Maintain the home well; look on point; be a success at everything you do. Fake it!
You can only put on a show for so long before someone catches on that you are faking it. You cannot fake love. What are you faking in your life? Are you faking the lifestyle appearing to own the gadgets and the toys while drowning in heavy debt every end of the month? Are you faking your circumstances so you can be accepted by society? Even professional shows are performed for a certain time before the “Show is over”.
Faking it is what lands people in hospitals and causes them to have heart attacks. Someone hurts you and instead of dealing with the pain you pretend as if things are ok when they are not. You bottle up anger; pain and hurt and fake being happy. A young person commits suicide or a man murders his wife and children and we wonder what happened because “They looked so happy” They were faking it! You read about a couple that is getting a divorce after many years and you mourn their relationship as if it was you. They seemed like the perfect couple. Seemed is the key word. They made it look good. They pretended; they acted as if they were ok! They faked it!
Fear of being judged
Part of the reason people fake it particularly in church is we fear being judged. How will other Christians see me if they knew I suffer from depression? How will they respond to me once they find out I struggle with temptation? I will lose people’s respect when I don’t drive a certain car or they see me shopping for clothes at a certain shop.
Have you ever driven a car in heavy rains? When it is raining heavily while you are driving wisdom says drive slowly with caution; the view outside becomes limited as water is constantly being wiped off the car’s screen. If you have ever been part of that and it is dark you will know how scary it can be. Major accidents have happened in heavy rains. The wipers on a car can wipe the raindrops off the windscreen, what the wipers are not able to do is to wipe off the fear and anxiousness in the car. It might look as if the car is cruising through but people inside are not talking to each other. They are scared and they pretend to have it all under control. How do you wipe off the fear; the anxiety; the hopeless feeling that you are about to be hit or you are going to hit something because you cannot see. I will hit the alcohol bottle; I will hit on another woman because my needs are not met at home. I will hit on another man because my husband does not fulfil me anymore. It might look right on the outside but people inside know that they are faking the confidence; faking the happiness and faking the lifestyle.
What those brushes cannot wipe is the inside of the car. It is the same with life as much as we can brush up the outside to look good we have to also work on the inside. We can look pretty in pictures but we can never fake what is really happening on the inside of us. If there are dirty papers in that car; clothes on the floor of the car; a smell that comes from a leftover rotting burger that was left in the car a week ago you have to remove the papers; the clothes and the rotting burger. They will not go away by themselves. You have to do something about it.
The major work to be done is on the inside.
In Proverbs 23:7 of the King James Version (KJV) the Bible reads: 7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. Who you are on the inside is who you really are. Deal with the inside and deal with the issues that are plaguing your marriage. Love and respect someone enough to say, “I am faking it. I know it is not working!” Let us work on our marriage! I commit to do the work to fix our marriage; to clean up and throw away attitudes that do not serve our home. I want the light back in our relationship because I am tired of the “dark screen” that I see. I want to see light again! I want to feel alive again! I want to love you completely again!
Know that God is able to bring hope back into your marriage. He is able to pour love for each other. Trust Him with your relationship and don’t go through the heavy rains in your marriage alone. He is there with you and will be your peace in the storm. Trust Him!