Skip to content


 It was a defining moment during our first year of marriage.  He sat on our black futon couch in our cozy living room, a size or two smaller due to more boxes of our stuff than space to unpack them all.  He was sipping at a glass of water as we talked about whatever newlyweds talk about.  There was definitely some tension in the air.  And then it happened.

I said it.  What the words were, I no longer remember.  But whatever I had been stewing about, had only expressed inside my heart and mind, but not with words direct enough for another to understand, came out unfiltered.  They were not covered with love to smooth over his lack, but unable to be any more than the state of my own heart- raw, ragged and hurt.

He usually has a long fuse with me, but in that moment that long fuse ran out.  Not the type to take out his anger (at me) back onto me, he took it out on himself and dumped his water over his head.

I was speechless.  Did my husband just dump a glass of water all over himself?  Why the hell did he do this?

Looking back, I guess I’m thankful he didn’t take it out on me directly.  He didn’t hit me, he didn’t yell at me.  He didn’t punch a hole in the wall as I’ve heard men are prone to do.  That would have really scared me.  But while I’m thankful he didn’t scare the living daylights out of me, his action on himself has remained a puzzle to me for years.  I conveniently forgot about it over time as our communication (and relationship in general) improved.  It certainly didn’t happen again.

But it’s funny how time changes how you see a thing.  When he first dumped that water on his head, I was afraid I’d married the most dysfunctional man on the planet.  We were committed to the marriage, but I was definitely afraid I had made a mistake.  I saw him as the one with the most issues, and my needs, especially emotional ones, always felt legitimate, and deserving of being filled.  By him.

And there was the crux of my problem.  I was so overcome by the cries of my heart for a specific picture of marital bliss, I couldn’t see past myself to actually hear what he was trying to say to me or peek into his heart, full of legitimate needs and desires of his own.  Now I know the things I thought I wanted were but a shadow of the real thing.  I know even today, my heart joins my husband’s in our cries for the real, which we have been tasting more and more, but to some extent, our daily reality,  and even many of the things we think we want will continue to be a shadow of the Real Love we are heading towards.

I now see David’s water pouring incident as a cry for help, a cry for an outpouring of love beyond himself, to the One who delights to love us with the real thing so we can stop destroying each other trying to get what our partner can never provide on their own.  Now I think he did the best thing he could have possibly done, a symbolic way of saying “I can’t give you what you want.  No person ever could.  Let’s look up together to the one who can.”  Of course, at the time, he wasn’t necessarily that optimistic.  His symbolic act was pointing to a love more like this:

And as we can attest by the years following this incident, when we are covered in this awesome love, and as we learn to walk the day to day in this love, marriage, family and life is absolutely amazing.  This is becoming more and more the new cry of my heart.  It is not yet our daily reality, but we have tasted enough to say THIS IS WHAT WE WANT.

Photos by Chad Fust and spablab

Comments are closed.