This post is being edited.
You might just have to buy the book to read this chapter.
This post is being edited.
You might just have to buy the book to read this chapter.
He wasn’t home when I finally returned. I carefully arranged, and re-arranged the card and candy bar on the kitchen table, then sat in the dark. I stared out the window at the lone street lamp, struggling to shine its brilliance through the thick, bare tree branches. My house was cold and quiet. Empty. The walls ached, and the deafening silence somehow echoed my pain.
I wrote. It was the only thing I could do.
Ironically, the following email was never sent. I figured my husband was tired of hearing my heart.
You are at a movie right now. I am anticipating you coming home and explaining to me how you want a separation and how I misbehaved and how my attitude is rotten and the straw man and umbrella and all that conversation…and the thought of it all makes me tired…
And then I think of how I love you. Oh, my husband, how I love you. How I’ve always loved you. How I truly would not be happy if you weren’t in my life, even after all the pain and hurt you have caused me. I have tried my best to hurt you back, I have, and obviously that isn’t working. I am flailing and reacting and hurting so, so much, and disappointed and angry…
And then I think of how I love you. I want to be with you, and I want us to stop fighting and start rebuilding in a positive way. I know I am not always positive. I want to try. And try harder.
And I think of how God loves me, and how He loves you, and how He looks upon us, and our marriage, and I just want it to be pleasing to Him. I don’t want to act like an idiot anymore. I don’t want you to act like one, either.
I know we can do this with God’s help. There’s always going to be a reason to separate, get mad, split up, leave, want a divorce, want to make the other person feel the pain and hurt that we are feeling. Sometimes I wish that you knew how badly I am hurt; how broken I am because of you and your sin, but the nicer part of me wants to protect you from that pain.
On the other hand…
I don’t know. If you want to separate, do it like a man. Don’t run off to another country just yet. Help me figure out what to do with the house so we can at least be financially responsible for our own individual future. I don’t want to be screwed over anymore than I already have been, and I don’t have any intention to screw you over. Please, if we are to separate, PLEASE be mature and responsible and think of your future — think of your future wife, your future kids – don’t just run off and throw your credit in the toilet anymore than it already is. I guess all I ask in a separation is that you be responsible enough to see through what is best for this house situation so that we protect our investment and ourselves in the best way possible. It’s the right thing to do.
A few days before the picture was splashed over the internet, I had asked my husband to return home in time for our 10th wedding anniversary. I was mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted from trying to hold on and save our marriage all by myself. It also seemed to me that he was just wasting time; playing around in Europe. Paychecks that were promised hadn’t arrived. I had to sell my beloved piano — a wedding gift — to pay the mortgage.
I kept hoping my husband would “wake up”. I pored over a book, entitled Sacred Marriage. The author posed the question: “What if God designed marriage to make us holy rather than happy?” I had completely forgotten what it was like to be happy, so holiness sounded pretty good. I read the book from cover to cover in almost one sitting. To this day, I highly recommend the reading.
As before, I continued to attend marital and personal therapy. I was desperate for answers. At the same time, I was desperate for someone – anyone – to give me the green light to get out.
But so few people knew what was going on, and those who did know, weren’t going to tell me what to do.
Just get me out of this, Lord, I wrote in my prayer journal. I want to be whole and I want to live.
After a few days’ silence, I finally wrote to my husband. Our anniversary was a week away, yet he still had no firm plans to return home. He tried to assure me – again – that the picture was “dumb”, it had meant nothing. His readers had been clamoring for more of his travel companion. He had to deliver. Sex — an “the element of the story” — clearly sells.
Thirty-seven emails immediately shot back and forth. He knew he had “fucked up badly”, and said he felt worse than he ever had in his entire life. I was tired of hearing the same thing over and over again. Where were the actions to back up these remorseful and heartfelt words? He told me I deserved better, and that he’d spend the rest of his life regretting what he had done.
[Then] GET on a FUCKInG PLANE AND END IT WELL yOu FUCkING COWARD, I spat, angrily. I didn’t even try to go back and fix my capitalization errors, much less censor my foul language.
Tried to end it well with [the affair], how about showing some respect and ending it well with your WIFE?????
I know deep down you are done. Just be a man and say you don’t want to be with me anymore. I have tried everything. I am exhausted. I know you don’t want me and that’s OK now. Just let me go. Stop hurting me.
He said would be home before our anniversary. He then offered that he didn’t blame me for going to New York. He blamed himself for letting me go, or, at the very least, not going with me. Then he said he should have known that he couldn’t live without me. He still couldn’t live without me.
These were words for which I had longed, yet I seethed.
Well clearly I am not any reason to live now. And there’s such a thing as grace, forgiveness and mercy, and COUNSELING (the Holy Spirit is called Counselor!!!!!) but you are too cool for any of it.
You hate me so much.
Where do I even begin?
I believe in marriage, and this affair is bullshit. Your investment banker is bullshit. But please call it and say you want it – them, whomever, you can have it. But do NOT put this on me. You have NO idea what I have done in the last few weeks for you.
He knew I had done everything. And he didn’t hate me. He hated himself.
Fucking investment banker, fucking Ukrainian keychain that I found in your drawer today and hammered with a vengeance.
I am ready to live.
He told me he would come home soon.
Did you fuck that ugly investment banker?
“No!” — Simple answer. Over email.
Whatever. I don’t believe you. It’s always later, soon, blah,blah, blah. Just leave me be. Go live the life you always wanted: untethered, “cinematic”, travel without baggage or obligations. Give me the house. I have invested so much since you have been gone. You won’t even recognize it.
I am dead. I am dead. I need to learn to live and love again.
Even through my anger, I wanted him to see me. To TRY. Something. Anything! He couldn’t even break up with me properly.
It’s soooooo not cinematic to break up over a dumb affair. Let’s be the couple that loved each before the lameness and makes history afterward.
He said he kept asking himself why all of this had happened, but resolved that the only thing that mattered was the future; what happened next.
What happens next is your choice. You can sit in Portugal with the rain, your ego, your fantasies and your investment banker (next affair). I don’t know. I’m so bored by you and your image and your so-called career I actually cry myself to sleep every night. And then I wonder, why I am wasting my time?
He was hurt by my description of his “so-called” career.
My tirade dragged on.
If you insist that this is your career — writing jerk-off fantasies for 14-year old wanna-be’s– then by all means, go for it. But you will pay a huge price…
What’s so wrong with being married?
Just file. Get rid of me. I know you want to. You have every reason to dump me. I didn’t love you enough, I’m not “hot” enough, I’m not exotic, I’m not anything that is print-worthy.
JUST FILE. End your confusion and end my pain. Give a real reason to not wear your wedding ring. Give a real reason for not caring about our wedding anniversary. Give a real reason for not allowing me back into your life.
And then I realized something.
Oh my god I am such a fool.
You are so so done.
You just want me to do it all.
You want me to file, don’t you?
Wow. wow, wow wow.
What an idiot I am.
I received his response a little while later. His words were wrought with sadness, confusion and pain.
He couldn’t get his heart to open towards me — not even a crack. He was waiting for it, and wanted it to open; he wanted to love me like I needed, but he couldn’t. He couldn’t pretend, but he also wanted to make everything “right”.
My husband didn’t want me to be in pain anymore. In fact, he felt like he deserved all the pain. I deserved to be blissfully happy.
He recalled how he used to love me, and when that love went away, so did his life. At the same time, he still loved me. Obviously he was confused. He hated who he was, what he had become, but it didn’t change or fix anything. He said that he needed to start over, and destroy the monster that he had become.
And, almost in that moment, it seemed like he had an epiphany. He said he would come home, and we would choose how we would color the rest of our lives.