Tag Archives: marriage and divorce

When Love Grows Cold

This week I’ve been asked to look at my love again. And it sequels well to last week’s blog. After being across country for three weeks, I came home to a husband who wasn’t sure he wanted our marriage anymore.

I know him after 26 years of marriage, so I wasn’t devastated, but a bit surprised at some of the things he said, like, “There’s nothing to work on.”

“After 26 years? are you crazy?” was my maybe-not-so-loving response. I knew he had fallen into his black hole where everything is dark and fed by CRH and ACTH (the hormones that physically make everything hopeless if we entertain negative thoughts). And he had obviously been entertaining them.

It’s been good, though, we needed some course correction. It’s not resolved yet, but I’m hopeful. I do take him for granted. Not really, because I think about it all the time. But I don’t do much about it. I love being taken care of. This has been one of the best, if not the best, time of my life. However, though it has allowed me to flourish, he is closing in–by choice.

He has always thought he was an extrovert, and has been in positions that required extroversion, but now has come to the truth that he was always forcing it, and wants to be who he truly is. I applaud that. I have an introverted side, but please don’t become a recluse. You can still have fulfilling relationships.

So now I have to look at me. He doesn’t think I will change. Will I? Can I? That does frighten me a little. Do I know how? What does he want? Who is he really? He says I haven’t tried to know. I say he doesn’t share, doesn’t talk. He says I don’t listen or remember. I’m sure it’s both and…

Risking vulnerable loving is scary. Fear of that is, no doubt, how we got together: as my friend used to say, “The rocks in my head fit the holes in his.” It’s one of my favorite definitions of chemistry. And chemistry is the attraction that makes us fall in love. We had tons of that. But we also had the hard road of a blended family, and probably wouldn’t have survived except for his stroke ten years later.

I was ready to leave when God told me to sit tight, I had things to learn. So I did. And a year later he wanted a divorce. He had often said that, but this time he got the papers. I said to God, “I wanted to leave and You said no, and now You’re going to let him leave?”

God said, “Go on vacation, this is going to take a while.” Which I knew meant Don’t worry, and have fun, I’ve got this.

So I did. I didn’t leave, but lots of invitations came to me. It was a good month.

A month later we found out he’d had a stroke. No, God didn’t cause it; He just let him have his way, by eating lots and lots of bacon every morning when I was in class, on our “working” vacation in Cape Cod two months before. And then probably lots of sugar while we weren’t talking for a month. His diabetes caused the stroke. But God is so good He had it happen in just the right place, just the right amount that it turned him and our marriage around.

(to be continued next week)

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The Importance of Your Perspective

My thoughts turned to my ex-son-in-law while I was sitting with God this morning, and I found myself grieving again. In over ten years I grew to love him even if his parenting and attitudes drove me crazy. I remembered some of the work we’d done, some of the opportunities he’d had, his love of me, and cried. It’s so sad, he lost so much by not choosing to face himself.

My daughter told of their last encounter that left her shaken–over an air compressor that she wanted (she got her dad’s mechanical ability and loves to fix things but has to have the strength of the compressor). He threw a tantrum and tried to control her with fear and guilt as always, and she was second-guessing herself in guilt. She’s always too soft on him–in my opinion. (It’s a God-thing that she could leave.)

But from his comments I could tell that he is back to blaming everyone else, in typical narcissist style, hiding from his brokenness. He’s obviously heard, “You’ve sacrificed so much to keep your kids in their home,” and he replays it regularly. I’m not diminishing what he did for a year and a half–it was big and commendable to give her 2/3 thirds of his check so she could scrape to stay in their house. It was important to keep the kids’ lives as stable and normal as possible, the youngest was a year and a half when they separated. And the earlier a child is disrupted, the harder it is on them. Most people don’t know that. 

But it sounds like he has made a new “persona” or public mask out of being the one who has sacrificed so much–the good guy–the hero–the one who was left–the martyr.

That is so sad to me. He is even further away from facing himself, the wreckage he caused by not being willing to face his faults and grow. She had done most of the emotional heavy-lifting, and he wanted her to do it all–which she couldn’t. You can’t do someone else’s work. She was so into making things perfect, I’m sure she would have if she could have. And he got angrier and angrier at not being him. She hid it as long as she could. Until she saw how it was affecting their three little boys. And she began to see she would die young if she stayed.

Sad, sad, sad. Mostly for him. He’s the one who loses the most.

There’s a saying in my field, “Nothing changes until it becomes real,” which just means that unless you face your part, your faults, your dark side, you won’t grow, your relationships won’t get better.

There is no one on this planet that isn’t broken, that doesn’t have faults. We are all mistake makers here, ALL of us. And to pretend that we aren’t, is just fooling ourselves and maybe our children (hopefully only for a time). Everyone around us knows our craziness long before we do.  The smartest thing we can do for ourselves and those who love us is take off our masks, look in the mirror, and get honest. It’s painful, but so worth it, and a lot less pain for a lot of people in the long run.

God will help if you ask–He’s into honesty. I’ve always wondered why Jesus’ disciples started the good news about God with telling people they were sinners, which just means we are broken, separated from God, and can’t fix ourselves. I thought that would raise defenses; maybe it was a short-cut for honest, open hearts. If your defenses are so developed that you think you’re good, you don’t need God. You’re perfect–and hopeless.

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