Thursday, October 11, 2012

Where I Am... Continuing My Story

Someone very close to me once told me that if a man falls out of love, he does so suddenly and he makes a conscious decision about it. A woman, on the other hand, falls out of love gradually over time; she gives her whole heart away to a man, but his action (or inaction) leads her to take back pieces of her heart, little by little, until there's just nothing of love left. I believe this to be a very wise and astute assessment of human nature.

Things had been bad in my marriage for a very, very long time. But I was (and am!) a very stubborn person, and I was determined to make it work. But the harder I worked at the marriage, the more my ex-husband slacked off, so I would work harder still.

In addition, I confess that I was prideful, thinking to myself how much better our marriage was than that of this couple or that couple, or how much worse this neighbor's or that neighbor's situation was than mine, so I should be the shining example of the Christian-wife-and-mother martyr to the rest of my little world. Plus, I didn't want to admit that my mother may have been right all those years ago when she encouraged me not to marry so young. How's that for stubborn pride??

Pride can be a heavy load to carry around, though, and the weight of my situation began to be more than I could bear. It's even reflected in my last blog post before my long absence.

After that, with an additional child in the house in public school, homeschooling my own, working full time, housekeeping, ad nauseum, plus the complaints about the time the blog was taking, I just gave it up for a while. Plus, keeping so busy took my focus away from my problems, and that can be a good thing. It's a good way to keep from wallowing in self-pity lol!

But I did reach a breaking point. I know exactly when, down to the approximate time, that the last little piece of my heart returned to me. It was on a Friday night, the first night of my vacation, when after driving for 5 hours to get to our camper (the rest of the family were already there), after I had prepared dinner and worked on finishing the camper set-up that hadn't been done, my husband picked a fight with me, totally out of the blue, about something I had said 4 months earlier which, in his mind, implied that I worked as hard as him. Never mind that I actually always had worked as hard, and often harder, than him - the fact that I had simply implied such all those months before was enough for him to hold a grudge, and for him to punish me with it that particular night.

As with each and every disagreement we ever had, I ended up in tears begging for his forgiveness, totally blown away by what had transpired. The vacation went on, and nothing between us changed... we were the same couple we always were. But I found that inside me I felt that I was just going through the motions, that with each passing day I felt less and less.

And still I prayed that God would somehow just give me peace and happiness, because I was now aware that the love was gone from my marriage. I had "chosen to love" for so long, so I prayed for guidance to help me to continue to make that choice. I prayed for a door to open, for peace and happiness to find me.

And it did, in the most unlikely way, opening to the most unsuspected place. He provided me with a true friend, a friend who remembered the "me" that used to be, and who helped me to realize that the strong, independent person I once had been was still inside me just waiting to find a way out. He provided me with a friend who showed me that true love isn't to be equated with servitude.

I had to come to a place emotionally and mentally where I knew I was willing to make it completely on my own, with or without a man in my life. I had to realize for myself that I would be better off alone than in a marriage where I was no more than an emotional hostage.

What is truly amazing to me is that my ex-husband didn't do anything to honestly try to save our marriage. He did take several opportunities to yell obscenities at me from our open garage for our whole neighborhood to hear. And he did everything he could to destroy me in the eyes of our children. At every turn he responded to me with utter contempt and outright hatred. I honestly wonder how long it had been since he had truly loved me, because there was not a single expression of love once he realized that he was beginning to lose his control over me.

It has been a long and difficult journey, and the scars I bear from the years of emotional abuse still crack open and bleed sometimes. I have to work very hard to value my own opinions and to make decisions independently, but I am learning.

God has blessed me with an incredible man in my life now. I had always felt love expressed as a type of bondage and heaviness, but now I feel inexpressible freedom in the love we share. It's as if we are intertwined rather than chained together, supporting each other and holding each other up. All I ever dreamed of in a man and in a loving relationship are found in him. It's like waking from a coma. We are a team, and we face problems together head-on, and if we have a difference of opinion we discuss it, civilly and logically, each taking the other's opinion into consideration.

Bringing me through a divorce and providing a new love in my life is not the way I expected God to answer my prayers of desperation. But I can see His hand so clearly in how He brought us together, and in how he shaped each of our lives to bring us to this point.

Although the journey getting here was long and difficult, I am thankful beyond words for where I am now and for the deep appreciation I have for how special the love is that we share.

There is still joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

1 comment:

  1. Hello Cindy. Stopping by to say hello. I am sorry for the difficult things you have gone through.

    About two years ago I went through two thyroid surgeries for thyroid cancer and you had commented on one of my blogs about TSH. That blog is called fat lady singing. It's been awhile since I posted on it. Still I reread your comment.

    Thought I'd check up on you. Hope you are well. I'm having some challenges.

    Hope to hear from you,


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