I feel better than I did when I made my last entry. Writing helps. Also, it’s sunny and 75 degrees today (in February!). But I thing which really helps is my wife.
As always, when I pick my son up, he calls my wife. As they were talking, I thought about how supportive she’s been of my trying to find my way and resolve everything. When it was my turn to talk, she wanted to know if I was okay and if I’d made any progress (with my internal struggles) from the morning. While she can be very single minded at times and her thinking can wander, she’s been completely devoted to me and very supportive.
It hasn’t always been easy. Part of the issues back in 2014 was the relationships she had with her family and some of her friends. There was a tension and many hurts – some of which I’m still not over. Maintaining relationships with one’s own family and friends are important in a marriage. I have no difficulty with this. But when it begins to interfere with that marriage, something needs to change. If it’s not workable, then separation may be needed. Otherwise, some compromise needs to be reached which both partners can be happy with. For many years, prior to 2014, there were many things we struggled with, but the most difficult was the intrusion of her family and friends. The core issue was that my wife is a very loving and loyal person. Sometimes in the past, she spread herself too thin and tried to rely on me to help. I didn’t mind at first, but many of these other people viewed me as an outsider, someone who was taking the time my wife was spending away from them. I always tried to live and relate to everyone with the adage that they weren’t losing a daughter or friend, but gaining the love and support of someone who had as big a heart as she does. Nope, they wanted exclusive rights on her time and attention. To be honest, I don’t believe they wanted her to be involved with anyone.
I don’t want to go into too much detail, but this is the jist of it.
In the end, it got pretty hairy. I have issues with interpersonal relationships to begin with. Being reviled and humiliated when I was trying very hard to get along and play nice, made things very uncomfortable and painful for me. Everything reached a crescendo in 2014. I was done. Something happened which invoked a feeling of betrayal and rage which I couldn’t allow to pass. I had finally reached my limit. It was a very difficult time for the both of us and we began to argue about all the things of the past 20 years which had nothing to do with anything but the expression of our own hurts and anger.
My wife still has a full, loving relationship with her family…and many (but not all) of her old friends. But there were boundaries that had been crossed once too often and too maliciously. It was time to readjust those boundaries to more healthy positions. Fortunately, my wife and I were able to readjust.
These adjustments haven’t come without difficulty. There are hurts on both sides and one of the worst of what I inflict is, unfortunately, a “talent” I picked up from my mother and her family. The old saying that “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me” is a flat out lie. I grew up with the harm that words can do and again, unfortunately, became highly skilled in the use of malicious speech. The vast majority of the time, I don’t make use of it. But when I feel cornered or become enraged I have found it to be a very effective weapon. There are things I’ve said to my wife which I will carry with me for the rest of my days. There are things I’ve said which I will never forgive myself for and spend the rest of my life trying to make up for. I have insight and a talent for reading people…so I know exactly where to thrust that verbal blade where it will cause the most damage and be the hardest to heal. Unfortunately, as a child, I learned from the best.
But I mention all this to say that, despite all of this and much more that we’ve struggled with, we’ve been able to change and adjust so that we can meet each other where they are. As I’ve written before, we support each other for the benefit of both…and we sacrifice all for the sake of our child.
It’s been a challenging road and we both are still a bit tenuous with each other as we try to find a new, more supportive and healthy, way to live together and relate to each other. In the midst of our own personal struggles and pains, we reached out to each other. When faced with mutual misunderstandings and wounds, we chose to change in a way which allows us to heal each other. It takes two. One person can’t make a relationship work. It takes both being dedicated and willing to sacrifice for the other which makes relationships and marriage work.
I’m still trying to heal from horrors that my partner can’t even imagine. We’re both trying to find a way to bring out the best in each other and be that solitary person that can always be depended on. Yes, I’m hurt. Yes, my partner is hurt. Yes, our travels have caused some discomfort for all of us (my son included). But we are completely devoted and dedicated to each other.
…that is something I never had in my life, but the only thing I’ve ever wanted.
Be Well, My Friends
(P.S. Here is a song I send to my wife when I’m sometimes struck with the love I have for her: Chris Young, “The Man I Want To Be”
I also just thought, relationships and marriage aren’t something which just happens. It’s definitely not infatuation or the “warm fuzzies.” It takes work – a lot of work – and a daily renewal of mutual love and dedication to each other. My partner and I choose to remarry every morning we wake up.)