Need help getting over a grudge

    I feel bad even posing this problem when I see some of the other, so much greater struggles people here face. Please forgive me if my pettiness offends you.

    The biggest struggle DH and I have sexually is simply having time together, and feeling rested and ready to engage. He is very busy at work (a good thing; job security and industry growth), is a devoted son who takes good care of his parents’ needs (a very good thing), and serves the Lord through tangible service to the Church (his calling, and therefore  the best thing.) He seldom goes “out with the guys”; I encourage a night every month, give or take, for his health and well-being. He doesn’t go off neglecting us for any selfish reason.

    Several years ago, our church started a praise band and there was a sign-up sheet for those who were interested in being a part of it. We agreed together that he would not sign up.  Here’s the catch: he works the sound system at church, pretty much exclusively, and has therefore been roped into “helping” with the praise band; in the beginning it was just a little, but now it is pretty much to the point where they would really like him to be there every week for practice and if he does not go, he refers to it as “skipping”.

    On the one hand, I see that since he is the only one running sound right now (and we don’t want to just drag people in; they need to be trained and skilled because the system was expensive and when other people mess with it, it just makes it harder when DH goes back to it), But I find myself resentful of his participation because  he purposely did not sign up expressing interest–therefore saying instead, “I am NOT interested”–and yet here he is dragged into a weekly commitment anyway. I get angry every time he goes. Not entirely with him, but certainly at the situation. I recognize that there is no point in holding on to anger about this situation and that it will continue regardless and I need to just accept it. I’m actually proud of him for his skill and his servant’s heart. I keep trying not to be mad and resentful on practice nights.

    And yet I find myself irritated anyway. Can y’all offer me some wisdom on how to root out this resentment over the feeling of being unfairly “tricked” into an obligation and the begrudging of his time?

    I neglected to mention, he is clearly over-taxed; he came down with a cold three days after Christmas and has not fully kicked it yet. His cough ebbs and flows, but his exhaustion is consistent.

    on February 7, 2020.
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    12 Answer(s)

      @Duchess, don’t apologize for what’s going on in your life and struggles. This isn’t, or shouldn’t be, a comparison game. Your struggle is just as real as anothers. Your needs and your emotions are just as real and just as valid as anothers.

      Now to your subject…. welcome to my life 🙂

      I see a couple of things you guys can do. First, your husband could draw a line and prioritize, let them know that he didn’t sign up for the band for a reason, and he can no longer continue to come for the practice. I would guess that a band member could easily learn how to turn the system on, set it how they need it, and they can practice as it is without anyone behind the panel. Our band does that often, so I know it’s possible.

      The solution to resentment is forgiveness. But I know how hard keeping an attitude of forgiveness can be, when the others continue the offense. Communicate again how your husband’s choice makes you feel, and I am not speaking about secondary emotion like resentment, anger, etc… but why are you reacting that way and what does it really make you feel? Worthless? Alone? Abandoned? Betrayed? Unlovable? Etc. Talk through solutions. I know that this isn’t where you guys have gotten, but I had to once give my husband the hard reminder, “do you prefer we do [this] or leave ministry all together?” Because the truth is, if I would continue to be pushed to do and give when I know it was harming me, the end result down the line, would be a second burnout and getting out of ministey. That made him realize that it is much better to say no now, so that we could preserve and protect me, which in turn preserves and protects the marriage and the ministry.

      I, too, am currently struggling with resentment towards an individual in ministry, because I see him threatening our marriage relationship….and I like the guy 🙂 It’s easy for my husband to “not hold frame” with him, and so we have to talk about it a lot, because my husband needs it ever before him, to help him to remember to make the right choices. (And he doesn’t always make the right choices.)

      Under the stars Answered on February 7, 2020.

      I know you deal with this on a much larger scale! I think what he does on practice nights is to plan how it will be run when they sing on Sunday so that when he’s not there he doesn’t feel like he knows the best way to operate the system on Sunday. (He’s so good at what he does, partly because he is so driven to do it the very best he possibly can. And that is partly because he is doing it as service to the Lord, though admittedly it is also because that’s just his personality.)

      You make an excellent point about separating the root feeling from the secondary emotion. You hit on one of the words I’ve been working on in counseling and it could be that if that feeling were solved in other ways, I might not resent this particular thing so much.

      And it does make a huge difference who else is involved in drawing him away. I can see that certain personality traits of the ones making the decisions about PB can affect him differently than someone else might.

      I am definitely going to talk to him about those root feelings. He doesn’t always grasp the subtleties of my emotions quite as distinctly as I feel them, but he can’t even try if I don’t tell him.

      on February 7, 2020.
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        I know it’s only a small part of your post, but I did want to chime in on a potential practical solution for the sound-system thing:

        Have you considered going to the once/week praise band session and sitting with your DH during it? It could be some quality time together and might be more fun than you think. It wouldn’t have to be every week, but 1-2 times/month might help. I got the idea from a situation we had where I was doing most of the evening chores but getting worn down–Zelda solved it by doing some/most of the chores with me, which was great for her quality-time love language. It also meant the chores got done sooner, giving more time for other things 😉

        -Scott

        Under the stars Answered on February 7, 2020.

        This is a thought. Actually it might be even better than I first thought. I was thinking of some impediments, but an idea popped into my head as I was about to type them that might make it work out beneficially.

        Thanks for prompting me to consider this again.

        on February 7, 2020.
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          Been in worship ministry for years.  Seen what you’re talking about happen.  Here is my thoughts and what I would do.

          This assumes he also agrees it is a problem and wants it to change. If not, that’s an issue to resolve beforehand.

          I would tell the Pastor or whoever is in charge that  in 2 months I will no longer be able to do it full time.  If there is a good level of helping that would work for your family, like once a month, I would present that as where I need to be.  During that time, I will help train  other people they find to run the board.  Basically give them a date when he will no longer be helping. If they don’t find people for him to train in the interim, I’d tell them I’m not going to be able to help at all because of the difficulty in dealing with a  board that has been mixed up by someone untrained.  I would be firm, remind them I originally asked not to be a part, and tell them I needed to get more time with my family.

          That seems kind of harsh, but in a way it is drawing a boundary and giving them a clear path to execute to. They should already be finding other people – what happens if your husband gets sick, or you guys move or anything else. If they are making honest efforts at finding people but need a little more flexibility in the schedule I’d consider it as things moved along – but not tell them that up front.

          Seen it in church too many times.  The path of least resistance is to keep using the people who are there and do a good job so nobody does the work to recruit new volunteers. In addition to burn-out, the unintended consequence of that is that there are other people in the church who would like to be plugged in, feel they are not, and eventually leave because they never put down roots. Recruiting new volunteers is an investment – it is a bit painful at first but pays off big in the long run, both for the church and for the Kingdom. If he forces them to get more help, it is actually a good thing for the church, not a bad thing.

           

          Queen bed Answered on February 7, 2020.

          You are not wrong. Having been in and out of the lay leadership of our congregation for most of my life, I’ve seen it over and over, that 20/80 thing. And that’s part of the problem. I know how frustrating it is to try to get people to agree to do things (especially when the ones I’m asking are as overloaded as everyone else). He has been attempting to recruit more sound people; he has even done some training. The few likely candidates are new folks who we are trying to do better about not jumping on with an attitude of “New blood! Fresh meat!” that so often happens. Also, the job technically takes two people to do it on Sundays, and while he is able (barely) to handle it, others admit they are not able to do the job of two people. The vast majority of our existing congregation is getting up there in age. We are a small congregation (less than 100 a week) so there is very often the feeling that there just isn’t anyone else and since he is willing to do it, I feel selfish for insisting he place a boundary that will almost certainly leave others in a bind.

          This assumes he also agrees it is a problem and wants it to change. If not, that’s an issue to resolve beforehand.

          That’s another part of the problem:  I’m not sure he does think it’s a problem, because he feels that being available to serve the church in whatever capacity is needed is what he feels is his spiritual gift and his calling, so I think he feels like placing a boundary on the church is placing a boundary on God. And I don’t know if he’s right or wrong about that, and I don’t want to be selfish, and I want him to be fulfilled in his service to God. Which is why I thought maybe I just need to somehow figure out how to pull an Elsa. (Let it go.)

          on February 7, 2020.
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            You guys are great! I really appreciate the help.

            Under the stars Answered on February 7, 2020.

            Just wanted to drop a note to say thanks for your approach to answering the answers you received. You used comments to address each one specifically, then posted a short answer yourself to make sure everyone got notice. Well done, and likely much cleaner than one giant answer where you try to address everything from everyone!

            -Scott

            on February 7, 2020.

            Thanks! I try!

            on February 8, 2020.
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              Duchess that is not petty.  That is presumption on the part of others.  I am sure it is not intentional.  The best way to handle this is through the authority in charge to secure those that your DH can train.  It would be better for your authority, pastor in charge, to find new recruits than to not have your DH.  We have a similar issue that our pastor needs to solve and so far he has let it drag on.

              Blanket on a secluded beach! Answered on February 7, 2020.

              Thanks. You are right. It is not intentional, that I know. And I agree there is authority that would be best suited to handle this. And yet…We have one of those pastors who (in addition to preaching the word clearly filled with the Spirit every Sunday, maintaining real individual relationships with every congregant, and working alongside all the lay leadership, does everything from participating with the men’s group and attending every function held at the church to changing light bulbs. He’s just a “do whatever needs to be done” kind of guy. So I hate to a) add to his already considerable load and b) suggest that any amount of dedication to the church less than what he gives is too much.

              I know, I waffle. The only thing missing is the syrup. I’m a big ole spineless waffle.

              on February 7, 2020.
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                Duches-

                There is sound advice in the above comments. I strongly agree with the the two month training of someone as a replacement. Stand firm with this plan and share with the pastoral staff the issues involved.

                i will state that for praise band members to criticize your husband for missing, skipping(??), practice given the fact that he was “drafted” to run sound for the practices is cold, in my opinion. Above all walk in God’s love.

                Hammock Answered on February 7, 2020.

                Like I said, we are a very small church so our pastoral “staff” is just the one pastor. And I need to specify that I don’t think the PB has necessarily criticized him for “skipping”;  that’s how DH feels. They do ask him if he will be there and try to work out solutions (that aren’t always great) when he’s not.  They really are trying to do something good and just ask for help, which he likes to give.

                on February 7, 2020.
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                  I think what is irritating about these things is that, like you said, it wasn’t signed up for!

                  This is actually a pretty big gripe of mine – people are pushed and pushed and pushed to serve *because it is free*, but Jesus says the worker deserves his wages.  People should feel led to serve, not pushed to serve.  Put out the request, trust in God to provision in His time, and if plans have to be slowed because no one stepped up, trust in His timing.  Often good people get burned out because they don’t know when to say no and prioritize other things like family time.

                  Sometimes we are rightfully irritated or even rightfully angry.  Jesus was rightfully angry when he made a whip and turned over tables.  Given that you both purposefully did not sign up for this, I can see that.  Obviously you can’t let even rightful anger boil over into something else.  I agree completely that he should give them a timetable to depart for what he didn’t agree to.  Family time is important.

                  On the floor Answered on February 7, 2020.

                  Yes, there is a time to get angry. I just tend to get angry at the situation but want to defend the people. There have been times I have lobbied for cutting back on things we just don’t have enough manpower for, in favor of doing what we can do well instead of doing too many things not-well. And DH does love to serve. I don’t know if he actually said whether he was considering signing up before I more or less told him there was not room in our life for this at that time and strongly suggested he refrain from signing up. Maybe that’s the core of it; maybe he wanted to do this all along and just never admitted it. I don’t know.

                  on February 7, 2020.
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                    I appreciate all the wisdom that has been offered here. I posted, honestly thinking it was entirely an issue with my attitude that I need to fix and just looking for a way to do that, but it is clear that DH and I need more communication about this. He has not had time to visit TMB this evening, but eventually he will read this and we will talk. (I would not have “confronted” him publicly on purpose; as I said, I sought to change my own attitude, but I will have to seek his forgiveness if he feels called out.) Thanks everyone for these wise perspectives and the advice. Please pray that we end up smack dab in the middle of God’s will!

                    Under the stars Answered on February 7, 2020.
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                      Duchess,

                      One of our roles in Ministry is to train others up. One question I ask a Minister/Pastor at any new Church I look at attending is whether they expect to preach every sermon. If the answer is yes I am out the door and I tell them why. Your husbands job (in part) should be to train and get out of the way.

                      I will get roused on by the wonderful Seeking – who spoke words of wisdom AND has huge experience in this area – but can I just point out an (off topic) First World problem?

                      You attend a Church with about 100 on a Sunday and they have a sound system that requires two operators.  Like a recording studio? 🙄 I am not having a go at you particularly, so please don’t take offence, but we really need to get a grip on what Church is for.

                      Queen bed Answered on February 8, 2020.

                      I see what you mean about the first world problem. It’s partly because we actually have low-cost, make-shift equipment to imitate more sophisticated systems. The thing that gets challenging is running the sound board at the same time as a laptop with power-point. The power point is for the song lyrics during praise songs. Our praise band is an effort to draw more young people into our congregation/to keep the ones we have. One fella is willing, but just doesn’t feel personally coordinated enough to do both at once (as opposed to the system being too complicated.)

                      on February 8, 2020.

                      I know people get annoyed by my harping on this. It is Sunday morning here in Port Moresby and I just drove towards closest shops. On the left is a park that runs about 2km along a big open drain (which – of course – is really a sewer due to poor sanitation) in that 2km there would have been 30 house Churches meeting. Groups of twenty or thirty standing around a man preaching. All under umbrellas today because it is raining.

                      praise the Lord.

                      on February 8, 2020.

                      I believe God calls each person to the “cause” for which he designed them to best serve. I wouldn’t last 2 minutes in Port Moresby, from what I saw in just the results headlines from a G search! But it’s great that you are there, (IDK if as a missionary or you are just there or what,) serving and loving the Lord and his people. A man that used to go to our church had been to Haiti on a missionary trip and fell in love with it’s people. He would stand up and “ring the bell” for Haiti frequently. He said if that made him a ding-a-ling for Haiti that that’s what he would be. 😉 Seriously, even if we knew that every time he opened his mouth he would speak about Haiti, we knew his love was sincere and it was always a good reminder for the rest of us.

                      (In other words, I’m not annoyed. 🙂 )

                      on February 11, 2020.
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                        @Duchess, when something eats at us, it’s never trivial. Talking it through – particularly in this welcoming and safe forum – is good and helpful.

                        As I read through the various posts, my first thought was to ask if you and your DH have had a good talk about your sense of loss of his time and energy  and how it affects both you. Then I read, “I am definitely going to talk to him about those root feelings. He doesn’t always grasp the subtleties of my emotions quite as distinctly as I feel them, but he can’t even try if I don’t tell him.”

                        Have you done that, really done that? Identify the root causes for your angst and grudge. Together, agree on positive and constructive steps to take to bring everyone – you, him, you and him, the praise team, the pastor, and the church to a point of harmony and agreement.

                        Blanket on a secluded beach! Answered on February 8, 2020.

                        I’m hoping to “really do that” today!

                        on February 8, 2020.
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