You Gotta Believe

While more than 82,000 people stood, Eric LeGrand laid stretched out on his back. As the capacity crowd at the New Meadowland Stadium collectively held their breath, LeGrand fought just to experience his next breath.

“I couldn’t breathe the way I was breathing,” said LeGrand, the stand-out defensive end from Rutgers University. “I couldn’t move.”

LeGrand suffered a fracture of his C3 and C4 vertebrae after a violent collision with Army’s Malcolm Brown. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to believe that five seconds prior to LeGrand’s injury that he potentially could have been filled with one emotion or another – maybe he was pissed off at someone or potentially he could have been harboring some ill feelings about some drama taking place in his life, but seconds after that life altering incident everything (good or bad) that took up residence in his thoughts became the victim of an immediate eviction. Whomever or whatever LeGrand may have been distressed with was now replaced with the desperate desire to breath; the longing to possess the ability to rise and stand upon his feet under his own strength. But LeGrand was unable; he said “my body was stuck.”

Being stuck and suffering from paralysis is what too many marriages experience. Oftentimes in marriage there are conflict collisions that result in a husband or wife embracing anger and harboring their fury for extended periods. Handling conflict in that manner is juvenile and when you consider that no one knows what the next moment will bring – you understand that time is wasted on depleting emotions. Ask LeGrand if you don’t believe this. He may not have been wasting energy on exhausting emotions (I simply utilize that disposition for the benefit of this writing), but he definitely had no idea that the next moment would render him paralyzed.

Ask yourself, why am I paralyzed with anger regarding issue(s) that in the grand scheme of life just aren’t that important? “Nothing is something, until you make it something.”

It’s painless to become agitated by the inconsiderate behavior or what behavior we deem insensitive of our spouse. We think why would my spouse do what is known that I despise? With me it’s my wife’s persistent lateness, which raises an intense ire in me, literally, within seconds. But for me to mortgage my marriage on rage really is nothing more than emotional paralysis. Every time she’s late initially I think, ‘here we go late again,’ but inevitably I’ll replace that exhausting emotion with the appreciation that she’s safe – free of hurt, harm and danger and now sharing my space.

I do understand that sometimes it can be difficult to simmer the fire that burns within, ignited by some selfish act of your spouse. However, for the sake of your marriage you must develop skills for dousing that fire. When your anger tells you that you can’t get over being angry, you must realize that you can. Dennis Byrd, the former New York Jets defensive end paralyzed on Nov. 29, 1992 in a play similar to LeGrand’s, addressed the Jets players before their defeat of the New England Patriots in the conference’s semi-finals and offered the following:

“A man has a body, a mind and a spirit. There are times in a man’s life when his body will tell him it can’t continue on, where his mind will tell him that the task set for him is too hard for him to accomplish – those two don’t matter. It’s a man’s will – a man’s spirit that will tell him you can do it and it will make the mind and the body follow along.”

When those moments of anger arrive at the doorstep of your spirit you’ve gotta “Believe;” believe that your spouse’s selfishness will grow into selflessness and believe that the anger that grips you in a given moment will pardon you. You gotta “Believe” in the value and vows of your marriage. If nothing else you gotta “Believe” how blessed you are to be standing on your feet and not stretched out paralyzed on your back.

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