I recently read a post by Dave Stoop were he shared the following story:
There is an old story about a man named Johnny Lingo. He lived in the Pacific Islands and was very successful. In his culture, you bought your wife with cows. A good woman might fetch three cows, and someone really incredible might cost 4 cows. Johnny wanted to marry Sarita, who was considered too skinny and homely to fetch even three cows.
When Johnny sat down with Sarita’s father to negotiate the price, he father suggested 3 cows, but Johnny quickly countered with an offer of 8 cows–a price no one had ever paid for a wife. Johnny became a legend, but what was amazing was what happened to Sarita. When a visitor to the Islands heard the story, he went to meet Johnny and Sarita. He could hardly believe the beauty of Sarita.
When Sarita lived at home, she believed she was worth nothing much. Now she knew she was worth more than any other woman in the Islands. Johnny said he wanted to marry an 8 cow wife. Sarita was loved as an 8 cow wife. And she became an 8 cow wife!
Gosh that story brought me tears.
Before marriage I saw myself as an 8 cow woman:
- I have a strong work ethic- attended UCLA and Harvard graduating with a Master’s by the age of 23.
- I knew the importance of working on myself and did various programs and therapy groups to start a healing journey and did not shy away from doing hard things like searching for a dad I never knew, forgiving a step-dad that put me down a lot, and forgive the man that touched me inappropriately while doing a medical check up.
- I did not have emotional relationship baggage.
- I kept myself pure; abstaining from sexual contact and even french kissing.
- I took care of my body by exercising and eating healthy.
- I am not Miss Universe but I am not ugly either…I can turn some heads 😉
- I love God and want to live by His moral boundaries.
- I am not consumed with myself (heavy make-up, selfies, partying, etc) I genuinely love to help others and make a positive impact.
But I don’t feel my husband sees me like an 8 cow woman (wife), I hardly ever felt esteemed with such regard even in the “honeymoon” phase. Leaving me to believe that I I am not good enough.
The saddest part is that I no longer feel like an 8 cow woman. The constant critiques, corrections, annoyance energy directed at me, silent anger, lack of connection due to his iPhone usage has chipped away my self-esteem little by little and I’ve become a very angry woman inside.
I know I cannot blame him for my feelings, they are mine. I know I can’t blame him for the person I’ve become, I chose that.
I know that self esteem shouldn’t be dependent so much on a person, but I also know that those closest to you (parents or a spouse for example) have power. Henry Cloud’s book The Power of Other is a perfect example of how others shape us. I guess in his line of work he gets to see how parents affect their children, how marriages affect the children, how children affect the parents.
Although I have a hard time believing he’ll ever own or see how the ways he’s mistreated me (by the things he’s done and the things he doesn’t do) God restore my self worth, restore my confidence, restore my joy. Let it be anchored in You, only You…not in how my husband treats me or has treated me.
I know I have stopped treating him like an 8 cow husband.
How did I treat him like an 8 cow husband?
- By cooking food for him and having it ready by time he came home from work.
- By expressing my love and affection by morning and good night text messages (when dating).
- By waiting for him to get home and surprising him by wearing lingerie and sometimes sending him a sexy picture or two.
- By not denying my body when he initiated sex.
- By showing interest in his passion for sports and attending games with him (Lakers, Dodgers, his family sporting events, Ebbet’s Field, etc).
- By supporting his recovery efforts.
Maybe that wasn’t enough.
All I know is that we are both not in a good place. We both have lost love and respect for each other. And now with a little one, it hurts, it hurts deeper.
God restore my hope. Restore my marriage.
Restore a willing heart. Heal my broken heart.