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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Your Friend or Mine?

My grandparents still together after 57 years. I hope to be sitting with my husband at the end of our years in spite of the trials of our life.

When my husband and I started having difficulties in our marriage, it affected every area of our lives.  He rarely called during working hours anymore.  He works long hours and is often not home at night so phone calls are our main means of communication.  Home time was spent with him in front of the TV or computer or other electronic device, I rushed around keeping the kids in line, using the opportunity to grocery shop without an entourage, or relax with a book in my bedroom.  Socially we started doing things separately from each other.  It was never a spoken agreement rather sort of a mutual consensus that he had his interests and I mine.  Without realizing it, friends became pawns.

This was glaringly obvious when I attempted to join him one weekend in a visit with one of our friends.  I had thought that this would be a nice way to reconnect.  We were leaving the kids at home and it was just the two of us going to visit with a couple who are easy to be around.  I was surprised, hurt, and more than a little angry when my husband tried to discourage me from coming with him.  This was his downtime and I was most definitely not invited.  I went anyway.  It was not one of my greater ideas.  It only emphasized the gap widening between us.

We often vacillated between friends and strangers, sometimes in as little as several hours.  Naturally with so much emotional intensity, each of us sought an outlet for our angst.  I turned to my mother for encouragement, sympathy, and the occasional scolding.  He talked with close personal friends.  Never once did I think about the aftershock that was sure to follow.  It came as a complete shock one afternoon when a dear friend would not speak to me.  Mystified, I was describing his odd behaviour to my husband during one of our amiable times.  A guilty look crossed his face and he confessed to confiding in great detail to this friend the extent of our marital discord.  Never before had I considered that we would lose our mutual companions.  I myself try to be impartial and recognize that there are always two sides to a story whenever I hear a disagreement.  I naively thought everyone did this.

This started a new chapter for me.  I became more conscious about who I talked to and how much I shared.  I focused more on my children and their friends.  I cultivated anonymous online friendships that required no personal information or input from me.  In short, I became shallow, only concerned with myself and my own feelings.  Deeply hurt by betrayal, I still struggle to fully trust my friends.  After all a friend is someone who makes life bearable and helps us over the bumps in the roads.  Friends are there to laugh with, empathize with.  They are a connection in this world of empty faces, the strings that tie each one of us to the other one.  They are that elusive feeling of belonging that each of us strives for it.  Can a broken person be a good friend?

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in family, marriage

 

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When Prayer Isn’t Enough

I am first and foremost a stay-at-home mom.  Oh, I have other titles.  I am a bookkeeper for my husband’s small company, I am errand girl, I am secretary.  My actual job though is to care for my family’s physical, mental, and emotional health.
When one of my family members started to digress emotionally, it was difficult for me.  It was a huge blow when he no longer wanted my support or helpful analysis of his behaviour.  I couldn’t “fix” him.  Our marriage suffered and our kids became unsure and insecure.   The constant fighting and bickering was overwhelming and confusing to three children who had heard all their lives that mommy and daddy loved each other and would never, ever separate. 
 Then came that fateful weekend when everything smashed together, the moody silences, the screaming, the tears.  Both of us wanted out.  I was ready to call it quits.  Something I never thought I would ever say and even scarier, I was too tired to fight for our marriage any longer.  If he walker out that door, I doubt I would ever see him again, certainly our marriage would have ended.  Both of us stubborn and lost. Me, furious and emotional; him, calm and empty.  The lyrics to a song by Matthew West played over and over in my head, “I know I’m not strong enough to be everything that I’m supposed to be”.  I boke down sobbing, “Lord, I’m not strong enough.  I can’t do this”.   I had nothing left.  I didn’t know what to do or who to turn to.

 Prayer just wasn’t enough.

 In the end, he didn’t walk out the door, rather it was me who did.  I slammed my way outside and grabbed an axe determined to finally chop down those overgrown tree branches that I had been badgering my husband to prune all summer long.  I swung around, startled to find my youngest daughter had followed me outside, scared and worried that I was going to do something stupid.  She came offering a hug but wanting comfort.  I sent her away. 

 Frustrated, I turned my fury into hacking away at the lilac bushes.  They wouldn’t budge.  There was absolutely no way those spindley branches were coming down.  I flailed my axe in vain.  I was using the wrong tool.

By this time, I was beyond rational thinking.  I stomped into my backyard looking for a good stout tree.  In the silence of the snow covered yard with the moon shining brightly, I looked up at the star filled sky and begged God for help.  I didn’t get an answer.  There was no startling revelation.  I felt alone and confused and unloved, more upset than ever knowing that I had hurt my little girl too.

There in the black sky was the tiny formation of the Little Dipper.  I went back into the house and brought my little one out and pointed out the Little Dipper and the Big Dipper.  As she admired the stars, I realized that I would never stop fighting for my children, their right to a whole and complete family.  Things didn’t improve overnight, over week, or even over a month.  It was a start to a new phase, a new chapter, an intense painful chapter, our trial.  This is where my journey begins.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2012 in depression, marriage, prayer

 

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