Well the divorce talk was a wake up call. It certainly got me going. I changed. Some of the changes were the desperate actions of a man caught off guard. Those slid away with time. The biggest changes came in my spiritual walk with Christ. My walk over the years had nearly became non-existent. I spent almost no time in the Bible, and only went to church to make sure I didn’t lose connection with the people there, I cared about.
I started the “Love Dare” with my wife. It pissed her off most of the time. I wrote a blog journal so she could read my thoughts. She initially responded well, even when she got pissed. I learned a lot about love and marriage going through that book. Needless to say, she did not. She was still determined to stay on her current course. During this time we also started counseling. The counselor was good. He was strong and straight forward. Not the kind of counselor that I have been turned off by over the years. The first few sessions we talked about me, and how bad I was, and all the blah, blah, blah, she could come up with. He honestly said to her, “You want to give up a fourteen year marriage over those things.” He explained that her complaints were normal, and generally reflected a lack of understanding of how men and women are different. She shut down and got pissed. One of the last sessions, I brought up and incident where we had our boys at a soccer tournament. I had to take one over to his game, while the other finished up a game. I dropped him off across the park, and came back to get her. Somehow we missed each other. I called her, and she answers the phone screaming at me about leaving her there to get all our stuff. Needless to say, our stuff amounted to a shelter for her, her chair, a heater for her, her blankets, and some other stuff for her. She then hung up on me. I get to the other game, and am pissed. I ask her if she was going to apologize, she spit “for what,” and I went over to talk to some guys. I wasn’t going to stand there and wait for her to cool off and play nice. She told the counselor, she didn’t believe that I came back for her. He asked if I was there when she got to the second game. She said no. He asked then where do you think he went. She didn’t know. He asked was he gone long enough to have left the park. She said no. He then asked, then isn’t it reasonable that he did exactly what he said he did. She screams “I don’t care.” She huffed and puffed for a while, and when he got her to talk again, she said. “This was fine, so long as we are talking about him. I don’t want this marriage, I don’t want to fix it. I don’t want to talk about me at all.” She then went on to explain that she settled for me, because she didn’t believe that anyone else would want to marry her, and that she never really loved me. I am getting to the point where I believe that.
One thing from our counseling sessions that stood out to me was this. He was trying to explain to us that what a woman in marriage needs is that unconditional love. This is what I was trying to learn through the “Love Dare” as well. I can admit that I wasn’t always good at this or motivated to do better, but at this point wanted nothing more than for her to understand I loved her. She told me during this time that she had no doubt that I loved her. Of course there is a but. A disconnected but, but a but none the less. When he asked me what I needed from her, he concluded what I was trying to express was I needed respect. I agreed. I hadn’t thought about it in those terms, but that was it. He went on to explain that there is a special kind of respect that only a wife can give her husband. It is a respect, like the love she expects that can’t be earned. It is a gift that should come from her along with her vows. Her response was cold, almost angry, “Well he needs to have his own self respect.” The counselor agreed and tried to explain the difference in what he was talking about, and she repeated that phrase a few times. This was when I really started to believe that she never did love me, and maybe couldn’t love me or anyone else. She was so wrapped up in her feelings and her anger that she was unable to recognize the effect that she had on other people.
During this time, I also started meeting with my pastor. We studied the word, and talked about my situation. He has provided great advice, and comfort. He is furious that she would allow us to adopt 3 kids, and have a kid if she wasn’t willing to love me. You see the problem, he gets that love is what you do, and emotions will follow. She wants to feel that romantic love, and isn’t getting that. The truth is, she never has had any empathy for me, so I am not surprised as I look back at this. I have grown in my spiritual walk going through this. I have learned to love when there is no love in return. I have also learned that this bond called marriage that God created is going to hurt like hell as it breaks. I don’t think she will feel it until it is over, and then she will wonder why I am not hurting the way she is, because she will have missed all the pain that I was already going through. My pastor had me go through a Bible study called “Experiencing God.” I would recommend this to anyone who wants to get a better understanding of God’s word and his desire to no just know us, but to interact with us.
I have been finding that as I talk to friends, and reveal what is going on, that many of them have been concerned for me. Her temper and sharp tongue have become harder on me. Many of these friends stopped seeing us, and I never knew why. It was because she had cut off the relationships when they became uncomfortable. If there is one lesson that I have learned through all of this, is relationships have to be maintained by me, and that I cannot have a real relationship with anyone as a couple. That is a strange thing to me. I believed that through marriage we became one, and most of our relationships would be together. I was wrong, and not just because of who she is, but its just not the way it works. When couples get along it is because each member of the couples gets along well the both the members of the other couple.
Over the next few months, I tried to pretend that we were still a normal married couple with our problems. I tried to make days that should be special, special, and to comfort her through her hurts with friends and family. During this same time she was busy knocking down my reputation to anyone who would listen, and was looking for supporters on her quest to kill our marriage. I am surprised that she found very few supporters. She can be extremely convincing, but I had developed a good reputation in this small community, so people dismissed most of what she said as being angry and inappropriate talk about your husband. This has been one of the biggest blessings as I meet and talk with people now.