Crap Mountain. We’ve all been there. Its that place that when you find a tiny piece of crap and then more and more mounts up and it becomes a long and arduous climb to the stinkiest, most disgusting, stomach turning, vomit producing peak of your marriage to date. Its at this peak, the place you swore you and your spouse would never, ever get to, that your thinking can turn a little… well… sour. (*Please note that not taking out the trash, turning the toilet paper around the right way, forgetting to call on the way home, or coming home 30 minutes passed when they said they would does not constitute you having climbed Crap Mountain.)
For the sake of simplicity, lets say you are the one who was wronged by your partner. Their crap has built the very foundation of the mountain you are standing on. It wasn’t an overnight process more than likely. Their stank has seeped out onto you and you are wearing hurt, pain, embarrassment, lack of self-esteem, resentment, tears, and much more like the nastiness that covers a garbage truck after a long 4th of July weekend. Its ain’t pretty.
You stand atop Crap Mountain and your thoughts initially may go several different ways:
1. “Oh, it’s on!” Here you envision yourself flinging the biggest turd you can find back at your partner. And you keep flinging more at them over and over and over until you have reached the bottom of the mountain and they are buried under it.
2. “Where’s my helicopter?” This is where you start making exit plans. Running away, divorce, separation, whatever it takes to protect yourself and leave them high and dry.
3. “Go Tell it on the Mountain” Here you decide that the best way for others not to smell the crap on you that your partner has brought is to start announcing it to all who can hear from your peak. Oh, you tell it like it is… from your perspective. Surely, surely, no one would look sideways at you for just being honest.
Regardless of where your thoughts initially took you I would bet that what you want out of all of this is an honest and sincere apology. Well, I need to break it to you… you don’t deserve it. Not a single one.
**Before you start throwing punches at me let me clarify that sincere and heartfelt apologies coming from the “offender” are helpful and most certainly encouraged often and in detail (no generic apologies).
Consider this, while atop Crap Mountain, your partner senses you are looking for an apology. Often the cold shoulder, no sex, snide remarks, etc. are good indicators. If, then, your partner says a generic apology and you have to ask them to be more specific about what they are sorry for… is that hearfelt and sincere on their part? Nope. They are just trying to make the decent from the peak less miserable. (Oh? You forgot about the decent? Yeah, you gotta get off this thing one way or another. Like I tell my neighbors, your dog’s crap does not melt away in the snow. You have to get rid of it yourself.)
What you do want is to see God make a heart-change in your partner. One of humbleness, confession and authenticity. One that remembers what a precious, rare and remarkable jewel Christ sees you (Yes, YOU!) as. A heart-change that will illicit an apology better than the one you feel you deserve.
God deserves to be honored by the marriages he ordains. That gives him glory! Christ deserves the apology from your spouse that says, “Lord forgive my selfish, disgusting, and hateful ways that have blinded me from the love you have poured out on me, the grace that you wash me with every moment of the day. Please help me to see my partner through your eyes so that I can love him/her the way you love me”.
Christ is the only one in your marriage that deserves that apology. But he does want you to have it as well. He wants you to have a marriage that is far from Crap Mountain. But the only way you get there is to stop thinking about what you deserve. Even when you are the one that has been wronged (Yes, I do speak from experience personally and in my professional work). How is your partner suppose to be self-reflective if all you really want them to do is think about you and what needs to be said in that elusive apology that will make all things right (it won’t).
If you find your marriage atop Crap Mountain start thinking like a Christ-like couple and jump in a bobsled together to get off this thing. No one has a game plan, timeline, or whatever so do it in a way that keeps Christ as the focus and the dignity of your marriage in tact. if it takes a week or a year or several years I promise you that getting down and away from this mountain takes you to a much better, healthier, happier and less stinky place – and it will be worth it.
Make your priorities this:
Love God. Love others. Love yourself.