I have been thinking a lot lately about the things my wife told me when she said she wanted a divorce. As I said before, she gave me a laundry list of things that was wrong with me, that needed to change for her to stay. She had been challenged by her sister to give me a chance, so she told her she would. Her tactic was to pick a fight with me, and almost guarantee that I would not do anything different. Of course when I did change some things, I was told it was too little too late.
What horrible things could I have done to have her so firmly planted on leaving me, you might ask. Well I chew tobacco, have since I was 12, and never hid it from her. This of course was also an excuse to not kiss me after we got married. I was careful to make sure that I chewed gum, and brushed my teeth often to ensure that she would not be impacted by a stray piece of tobacco or the flavor. For the first few years, I never chewed around her, until I figured out it didn’t matter. I also very rarely did loads of laundry. This was a constant complaint with her. Of course the early years of our marriage she was so particular that I couldn’t get it right if I tried, and she just did mine. When we had kids, she was a stay at home mom. I always helped fold the laundry when the kids were in bed, and she was folding. I also didn’t get up with the kids in the morning often. I am not a morning person. I will admit that freely. She would wake up at the first noise, and I would not. She would get them ready for school, and poor the milk in their cereal, because the Lord knows she didn’t cook. From the time we had kids, I took over parenting when I got home. I would take care of all their needs, bath them, and put them to bed. When we had foster babies that needed to be fed in the middle of the night, I would stay up and do that, so she wouldn’t have to wake up and try to go back to sleep. Oh, and of course the kicker of all kickers. I rarely went to bed at the same time as her, and never got credit for doing so when I did. There were a lot of reasons for this. For first year of our marriage she worked nights, then I was in school and studying, then I had an IT job that required me to do much of my work in the middle of the night. When I did go to bed with her, she rarely wanted to be touched, or would complain that all I wanted was sex when I touched her.
None it matters. These were excuses. She actively rejected me getting up with the kids, doing laundry, and going to bed with her. I stopped chewing, but have started again. I enjoy it, and her opinion doesn’t count anymore. She would nit pick what I did in the morning with the kids, and complain about something every morning. She would get mad that I didn’t do the laundry exactly like she did. She would stay up long after I went to bed. None of it mattered. These were truly small things. The big thing was the rationalization hamster kept giving her more reasons to leave. It had found another man that would replace me, if only she could get rid of me. Ha, the joke is on her. That man ran away before they ever were able to get together, because she left me. He didn’t mind being the side guy, but a boyfriend for a middle aged woman with 4 kids, yea right. I had beat myself up over not doing these simple things. Of course these were the few things she did around the house. I did most of the cleaning, and all of the repairs and outside work. I also did most of the cooking. I mean actual cooking, where ingredients are bought and combined to make food, not just heated up to eat. She was fairly worthless.
Why do I reflect on this? What purpose does it serve? Well I spent a lot of time beating myself up for these things. I had to realize that none of it mattered. Once she opened Pandora’s Box by using the word divorce, there is no way to put it away. Game over. Anything she did from there on out was rationalizing her decision. The first time that word was used, was years before she said she wanted a divorce. Capitulating to her demands makes me weak. Not meeting her demands justifies her decision. Either way I lose. What it demonstrates is that she has no idea what love and marriage is all about. Its not about her. It should have been about me to her, and her to me. Self sacrifice for the betterment of your partner. That’s the deal in marriage, and the trust comes from seeing your partner do this for you. Its not hard to sacrifice for someone who is sacrificing for you. You don’t have to worry about your benefit, because your partner is. Sadly this is not what marriage was for me. I have seen it. My parents practiced it, and when they didn’t do it together, one was doing it for the other. It always came back around over the years to the other one. They were never worried about the fairness of the deal, or gaining advantage over each other. If your wife talks about divorce even in passing, prepare for divorce. Its only a matter of time. She is beginning to let that hamster run.