the fortress around my heart

As an avowed Sting-fan and a general music-geek, I find great significance in song lyrics. Recently, as I considered past patterns of self-protection that I had engaged in, the song “Fortress Around Your Heart” came leaping to mind.

Under the ruins of a walled city
Crumbling towers in beams of yellow light
No flags of truce, no cries of pity
The siege guns had been pounding through the night
It took a day to build the city
We walked through it’s streets in the afternoon
As I returned across the fields I’d known
I recognised the walls that I once made
I had to stop in my tracks for fear
Of walking on the mines I’d laid

And if I’ve built this fortress around your heart
Encircled you in trenches and barbed wire
Then let me build a bridge
For I cannot fill the chasm
And let me set the battlements on fire

Then I went off to fight some battle
That I’d invented inside my head
Away so long for years and years
You probably thought, or even wished that I was dead
While the armies all are sleeping
Beneath the tattered flag we’d made
I had to stop in my tracks for fear
Of walking on the mines I’d laid

And if I’ve built this fortress around your heart
Encircled you in trenches and barbed wire
Then let me build a bridge
For I cannot fill the chasm
And let me set the battlements on fire

This prison has now become your home
A sentence you seem prepared to pay
It took a day to build the city
We walked through it’s streets in the afternoon
As I returned across the lands I’d known
I recognised the fields where I’d once played
I had to stop in my tracks for fear
Of walking on the mines I’d laid

And if I’ve built this fortress around your heart
Encircled you in trenches and barbed wire
Then let me build a bridge
For I cannot fill the chasm
And let me set the battlements on fire

So as I thought about this song, I realized exactly how many walls around myself I’d built over the years. The self-protection I engaged in during my husband’s long struggle with porn was wicked. In order to avoid disappointment (yet again), I stopped hoping and expecting him to succeed. I stopped engaging him on anything more serious than child-rearing, hockey scores, or the weather. I refused to discuss things related to *us* because I knew that I wouldn’t hear honesty, and I didn’t trust him enough to be honest with him. The kicker for me as I realized how much self-protection I operated in (and the lack of faith that kept me there) was how much I hurt my husband. It wasn’t my goal, but the walls and mines that I laid around my fortress did just that.

There are times as I walk forward in emotional healing and health that the old patterns of self-protection would like to rear their ugly heads. Or when fear tries to take me places that I don’t need and don’t want to go. And then I realize that I’ve stepped on one of the mines that I laid for someone else … and I’m less-appreciative of how unavailable I made myself.

It’s a habit, I think, to maintain emotional integrity and honesty. And building habits is like building muscles. It’s hard work and takes a conscious effort. There are times in the process when I don’t want to make a conscientious effort. It’s hard and I don’t feel like it. (Are ya hearin’ the whine in that?) But in all frankness, on this journey, going backwards simply isn’t an option. Standing still isn’t appealing either. So walking forward carefully and filling in chasms that I’ve dug with God’s love and choosing better this time is the best option I have.

Thankfully, it’s enough to help rebuild a marriage and train myself to think and respond in new, healthy ways. And what’s more, the Spirit is always there, urging me forward in Him and in faith.

His and his,
~Cori.

This entry was posted on 270715H Jun 2008 and is filed under Forgiveness, Path to Healing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

  • http://www.sensuouswife.com Sensuous Wife

    During a low point in our marriage, one of my girlfriends sent me the lyrics to this song. It was a balm to my soul-that feeling of understanding of being understood. Every couple spends some time in fortress land. Moving from fortress land into an embrace is one of life’s sweetest joys.
    Thank you Cori for this beautiful post.
    -Sensuous Wife