Almost immediately after my husband’s departure, I became disillusioned with our marriage.
I wanted him to “check in” with me, whatever chance he got. I asked him who he was with; where he was staying; what he was doing. I asked him if we could set up a time to Skype, daily. He never gave me a straight answer. He told me he would “write more later”. Furthermore, we were totally broke. I couldn’t keep up with the bills on my own, even with all the odd jobs I was working. My husband kept promising that a check for $4,000.00 was coming in the mail.
It never did.
I started to panic. I called my marriage counselor and asked him what to do. He reminded me of my end of the “bargain”. March 16th. March 16th.
It was barely the first week of March.
I didn’t want to fail. I wanted to be a good, supportive wife. I wanted God to bless my marriage, and my attempts at saving it. I wanted to give it my all, or die trying.
So, I went back to the drawing board. I emailed my husband.
I want to support you in every way you need me to. I am sorry if I have been demanding of your time. I am here for you – there is no pressure to Skype or have a quota of email to fulfill. I want you to do the best job you can and you shouldn’t have the extra pressure of trying to succumb to my demands. I’m sorry. Email me when you can; I really will do my very best to give you space and the freedom to do your job.
I’m sorry, I really am.
I love you,
And then, the long-awaited check arrived. It wasn’t anywhere near $4,000.00, but it was enough for the time being. I thanked my husband for helping contribute. He was relieved, and stayed very busy. Oftentimes days would pass before I would hear from him. We had a couple of Skype conversations, but he was too distracted. Our communication started to wane, as I backed off my pursuit of him. I continued to type and send the daily devotionals, but I did not offer, nor press him for further information.
He wanted to know what was going on.
I know that you are really busy and I am just trying to give you the space you need to do your job, without the pressure of a relationship on top of it, I wrote.
I realized that there truly was nothing that we could do for our marriage while he was away. I also realized that my end of the bargain was a real shitty one, but felt guilty for not wanting to follow through with it.
I wrote in my fresh, thick, black journal.
I am doing all the hard work, I am in therapy and marriage counseling. He shows up but is JUST GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS. He knows exactly what to say — gives me just enough to hang on, but I am starting to crack and crumble. If you don’t water a plant it will die. “Thank you for your support” basically means “thanks for getting off my back and not pressuring me to be in a relationship with you.” I KNOW this guy.
I feel like I’m sticking with it to please my marriage counselor and my therapist. I am so tired.
I don’t want to be tied down to him anymore.
This guy has a LOT to do. It may be years before he fully matures. I am not that patient.
I don’t even know if I love him anymore.
I went to therapy twice that week. I walked in, sat down, and told my therapist I’d had enough. I wanted my life back.
Without missing a beat, she said, “All right! We need to change our goals, then.”
I was shocked. I was sure that she wanted me to stay in my marriage. Wasn’t that the right thing to do? The Christian thing to do? Yet, at the same time, it felt so freeing. She told me I needed to figure out what I wanted. Make a list, write it down, do some soul-searching.
Who is Leslie without her husband?
I would eventually figure out the answer to that question, but to get there, I had to write.
I feel like the winds of change are upon me…instead of doing whatever it takes or being desperate for the marriage, I’m willing, ready and wanting to do what is best overall. This is my life, and I don’t want my entire life to be like the past six months.
I want OUT of my marriage. I want MY life. I want to find someone who will love me for who I am, not what I do, or how I do it. I want someone who won’t keep leaving me.
I do feel like there has been a death. I am becoming unattached to him, and my therapist thinks so, too. I’m just so tired of this. It’s been six months of hanging on, hoping, praying, wishing, crying, screaming, panicking, fighting, sobbing, drinking, throwing things, reading self-help books, packing, unpacking, long phone calls to friends, crying, crying, pounding tables with fists, searching, asking WHY, trying.
Life goes on. I don’t want to fix it anymore; I have no interest. This guy I married ten years ago is non-existent. He is caught up in his career – great, that’s wonderful. Am I being unfair? Maybe, sure. I am tired of playing fair and being patient. Being faithful to him got me NO WHERE in the first place. No promises. He makes no effort to be in the relationship, even when not pressured. Patience doesn’t work; NOTHING works. I gave it all I had and I want it to be over NOW.
God, he’s yours. Not mine anymore.
I am DONE DONE DONE –
Soon after I finished penning my thoughts, I received an email from my husband. He was staying in Australia, and didn’t know when he would return.
I am reading this every time you put up a new post, like a fiend.
Sometimes I can’t belive this is my friend’s story, your story, and not something I’m reading in a bookstore.
I’m hearing it in your voice 🙂
Love you, times a million……..
For your courage Leslie, I must say, “Brava!”
From my own personal experience, and from being a romantic at heart, the hardest lesson for me to learn in life was to stop pining over someone who had no desire to be with me.
Also, if you follow the doctrine that, “An end is the beginning of all things,” then it would reason that endings, like death, aren’t painful but instead the beginnings, like birth, that bring pain. Endings only get blamed for misery because they have a terrible sense of timing.