One day there was a man driving through the desert. A snake on the side of the road flags down the man as he is driving. The man pulls over and the snake says, “Would you be so kind as to give me a ride to town?” The man, who is kind of heart, thinks for a minute and then says to the snake, “I don’t think that would be a good idea. You look poisonous and you might bite me.” The snake says, “No way! Why would I bite you? You would be doing me such a kind favor by taking me to town, I wouldn’t bite you!” So the man says, “Well okay, I guess so.” He picks up the snake and puts him in his pocket and they go riding off into town together. A few minutes after they start driving the man feels pain. He looks down and sees that the snake has bitten him. As he is dying from the poisonous venom he looks at the snake and says, “I was giving you ride to be kind and you said you wouldn’t bite me and you did. Why?” The snake looks at the man and says, “I’m a snake, that is what I do.”
This story seems obvious to us when we hear it. Not many of us would intentionally and readily invite those that are capable of hurting us into our lives, but it happens all too often. Imagine the woman sitting in my office in pain over her husbands emotional affair. In the next breath she continually talk about what a “ladies man” her husband has always been. It is part of what attracted him to her, but now she can see the writing is on the wall. People do not magically change by signing a piece of paper that says marriage certificate. He is fundamentally a “ladies man.” He seeks the attention and approval of woman. It is how he gets his self worth. It is who he is. He was showing her who he was when they dated, the problem was she was not listening.
It is similar to the woman who drinks too much. Her husband sobs on my couch about how bad her drinking is and how much it is hurting him and his children. But what the man needs to realize is she has always been capable of being an addict. She would binge drink quite often when they were dating, but he always thought things would be different when they got married and had children. People settle down, right? There is part of our hearts that want our spouses to be different and to change, but the fact of the matter is our spouses are who they are. Again the whole time they were dating the wife was showing her husband exactly who she was. He just did not want to believe it to be true. He made excuses for her such as, “She is just young having a good time.” Or “It’s not that bad, she doesn’t drink everyday.” He wanted so bad to not see who she really was.
Snakes are not bad people. There are snakes everywhere. We all hurt people we care about, just in different ways. The point of this blog is not to “bash” spouses, or drinkers, or those that have affairs; it is simply to have you take a moment to look at your own relationship and discover why you needed a snake to begin with? Why do you allow people into your life to hurt you? That is about you not them. The snake has plenty of work to do on himself/herself as well, but that is not your focus. You are your focus. The work you can do on yourself begins today!