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I had never seen any of the Pride and Prejudice movies so my sister introduced me to the one with Kiera Knightly in it.  My heart stirred, the love portrayed between Lizzy and Mr Darcy was so tender.  Is it possible there’s even a single grain of reality in it?  I want to weep at the sweetness of his love for her, and for my own loss at never experiencing it myself, but I dare not.  There’s a song that says “she fears if she cries that first tear the tears will not stop raining down” and that is exactly how I feel.  My best friend from high school tells me that not all men are like my husband and although she has never lied to me before this one is difficult for me to believe.  But oh, to be loved like that and to feel that love for them in return…

When is it OK to say I’ve tried hard enough and move on?

My sister and I just finished watching “This Means War” with Chris Pine, Tom Hardy and Reese Witherspoon and if I had been her I would have totally chosen Tom Hardy’s character instead of Chris Pine’s character.  Last night my sister and I watched “Failure to Launch” and this whole last week or so has been full of movies that have happy, romantic endings.  No, we don’t have much else to do in this teeny, tiny apartment except watch movies all night…

I realized while watching these movies that I’ve never been “swept off my feet, head-over-heels in love”, except once in high school.  He was a senior and I was a junior and my mom told me I couldn’t date until after I graduated high so I told him I couldn’t go out with him.  That’s one thing I would change if I had my life to live over again.  Then again, he promptly stopped paying any attention to me and started dating a freshman so even though it seemed like true love at the time for me it obviously wasn’t true love for him.  Last I heard he had just gotten married to his second wife. 

I know some of my friends have found their one true love and while I’m happy for each of them I tend to view their relationship with their spouses as more of a fluke of nature than any sort of attainable goal.  Therefore, “happily ever after” movies make me suspcious of the hero and a little part of my heart is always screaming at the girl who’s swept off her feet “Don’t Do It!  It won’t last!  It’s not worth it!” 

I have great angst, I think I need a Xanax…  or two…  Stupid movies…

I really, really, really enjoyed the conversation I had with my husband at the resturant last week.  If he would just be that guy all the time there would be some serious potential for our relationship.  Because of his humble attitude and the things he said to me – not romantic things but honest things – I actually gave him my sister’s address where I am staying on the condition that he would not come to the door without an express invitation.  Now I kind of wish I hadn’t, I’m wondering if I can really trust him not to bang on the apartment door if he thinks we really need to talk.  I’m hoping he stays that guy he was at the resturant and that I can trust him but I’m honestly expecting that he’ll only stay “nice” for another few weeks and then go back to being that angry, wounded, selfish guy I’ve always known. 

Enough of me yearns for a relationship like I see in the movies to keep watching them and torturing myself with what I will probably never have in this lifetime.  The rest of me is so distrustful of men… I just don’t think it will ever happen.

Ever.

Yep, that last post was me venting.  It was 100% true, I cried as I wrote it and again when I re-read it but now it’s over.

I still want to love and be loved like that but I remembered something in the last day or so since I blogged “Damn My Heart”:

I married my husband KNOWING he would never be all those things to me.  I married him KNOWING he would possibly never be ANY of those things to me.  Why I married him is a whole ‘nother post and would probably give some psychology student out there a doctorate but to sum it up – due to my upbringing I was super insecure and had a HUGE unworthiness complex.  One of my main reasons to accept my husband’s proposal at age 19 was that I deserved to spend the rest of my life with someone who was not able to love me the way I wanted to be loved.  Yes, I had so much self-loathing all through my childhood and high school that I punished myself with a life-long marriage I knew I would not enjoy.  Mothers, PLEASE be careful how you treat your daughters!  If nothing they do is ever good enough for you why would they possibly believe they deserve a good man and happiness for the rest of their lives?  I’m living proof right here, been there, done that, have the wedding ring…

Before I go any further – if you are one of the “lucky” few who know who I am and who my husband is please DO NOT go talk to him about my last post (or any of them for that matter) and try to “help” me.  You are not my Robin Hood.  I blog to sort things out in my own head, you’re here to “listen” and pray for me if you pray.

Since I lost my job at the beginning of September I have had such peace in my heart, knowing that God is in control and that everything will be OK.  I really believe that God spoke to me and said “This is not about you, it’s about him”.  (Him being my husband.)  In spite of not having my own income, wondering if we’re going to lose the house and how the utilities will get paid this month I have been almost deliriously happy with going to school for my new career and I am trusting God to provide for me more than ever before.  The peace and joy I have are amazing!

Why won’t I trust God to change my husband?

For some reason my heart believed that my financial woes were smaller than God and therefore He could fix them but my husband was so much of a project that not even God could turn him into Prince Charming.

I was wrong.

I have seen an incredible amount of change in my husband in 2013, he has worked really hard to not just be a nicer person on the outside but on the inside too.  He has met my every demand to improve our marriage.  We are communicating better.  Our children like him more now than they did a year ago.  I could list a lot more things but I need to wrap this up and head off to school so in short – God IS changing him.  It’s me who is impatient and wants the “just add water” to get an instant Prince Charming.  I need to be more grateful for the changes God has made and stop complaining that my husband hasn’t reached the finish line yet.  It took him about 20 years to become the jerk I married, it’s taken another almost 20 years of marriage to change away from being a jerk to become the nice guy he is today, it may take another 20 years to get my Prince Charming but if I quit now somebody else will get the Prince Charming that I have prayed for and and cried for and waited for so long.

I still want, desperately, to be loved desperately.  But my heart is in a better place today.  I’m choosing to trust God to fix my husband so he can meet my needs.  My prayer for most of my marriage has been that God would either fix my husband or kill him and get him out of my life and my children’s lives permanently.  (I have told my husband this so stop freaking out, he knows.)  That prayer sounds a little harsh but every day my husband stays alive is a message from God to me that He is not done with my husband yet and it gives me hope.

Take hope, God is bigger than my problems and He is bigger than your problems.  Everything – and I mean everything – will be OK.

So I stayed home from school sick today, slept in until 1 pm (which was wonderful) and then I went upstairs and had a Beauty and the Beast marathon (the first season is on Netflix) for four hours and never once got out of my jammies.  <sigh of contentment>  I think everybody needs a day like that every once in a while – where you’re just sick enough to legitimately stay home but still enjoy the time off…

So what’s with my subject line?  It’s the “Beauty and the Beast” show.  There’s something about “impossible love” that is soooo romantic to me (I blame Hollywood) but the very thing that makes it romantic puts it firmly in the “never gonna happen” category and THAT plants seeds of discontent in my heart about my real life.

I want to be romanced.  I want to know he is always nearby and ready to jump into any situation and defend me.  I want to love and be loved so much that I feel like I can’t breathe when we are apart… and that he feels the same way about me.  I want passion for him and I want him to have passion for me, good Lord how I want passion in my life…

I don’t think wanting these things are wrong but wanting them when I don’t – and probably won’t ever have them – will either kill me or drive me to adultery and ultimately, divorce.

Both are bad.

God save me.

I’ve stayed away from romance novels since I was in high school and I’ve also tried to limit my watching of sappy “chic flicks” because I know they raise my “love” expectations to an unrealistic level and I’ve worked really hard to guard my heart.  Now, I’m 40 years old.  I’m not a super model and in spite of losing over 30 pounds in the last 18 months I still have lots of “cushion”.  I have two kids and a 19 year-long marriage.  Life has thrown me some real curve balls in this last two years in every area and I feel like I’m finally growing up and discovering myself – and I’m realizing that want more than I have settled for.  Damn my heart…

I feel like in order to survive the rest of my life I need to give up my desires.  I need to stop wanting to be “desperately loved” and I need to stop longing for passion.  I need to put my heart in a box, bury it and walk away.

I don’t want to.  I really, really don’t want to.

But I doubt my  marriage can survive me getting my way.

Now I see the wisdom in being Peter Pan and never growing up.  I wasn’t happy before I started my journey of self-discovery but I didn’t know how miserable I was either.  It’s probably a really good thing I’m changing my career and becoming a Nail Technician.  It’s fun, fun, fun and distracts me from the rest of my life.  Hopefully it will be a good enough adventure that I can forget about what I don’t have… as long as I stop reading and/or watching anything with romance in it eh?

I love you.  I wanted to start with that statement. It stands alone, with no qualifiers. I am sorry for not being the support, friend, leader or lover that you have needed (individually, not necessarily all at once). I don’t understand how women work. You baffle me, more often than not. This is not to say “I give up”, but to say “I will yet try harder, until I do understand you, who you are, what you need, and most importantly, what you need me to be for you”. I will still frustrate you, most likely to tears on occasion, but that is because I am a man, not because I don’t love you. I don’t offer an excuse, just a statement/explanation. The good news is that, being a man, I am fundamentally incapable of quitting until I get it right.

By God’s Grace,
I WILL: be your biggest fan.
I WILL: be your best friend.
I WILL: be a leader you can follow.
I WILL: be a lover you desire.
I DO: love you without reservation.

I am sorry for not being enough of these things for you, and I am sorry for all the hurts this has caused you.

I freely forgive, and forget, all past hurts to me, real or imagined.

I am so sorry for not keeping my word to you. I know this hurt you deeply, and I am so very sorry.

Yours to command,

<My Husband>

 

WOW!  He sent this to me at work recently and I almost started crying.  I am humbled and amazed – and yes, I told him so.  Just when my little seedling of faith was withering away God sends a dose of Miracle Grow – from my husband of all people!

I think we’re going to be OK…

 

In either 2001 or 2002 an English Mastiff puppy was born.  She must have been sweet and adorable because somebody named her Baby Girl.  She was probably the runt of the litter because when she was full-grown she was small for her breed – about 2″ shorter than the minimum shoulder height to be in dog shows and only 125 pounds.

We don’t know much about the first 5 years of her life except that Baby Girl was a slave with harsh masters.  She was a puppy mill breeding dog, having litter after littler of beautiful puppies – and then as soon as they were weaned they were taken away from her.  Baby Girl was probably bred every single time she was in season and had puppies until her body wore out and couldn’t carry them to full term anymore, resulting in miscarriage after miscarriage.  She was probably beaten by men and came to associate people holding cameras up to their faces with Something Bad Was About To Happen.

My mother purchased Baby Girl from the puppy mill and I met her for the first time a few months after that.  She was this large, beautiful dog, fawn-colored with a black mask.  She cared for stuffed animals like they were her own puppies so we think she loved being a mother and missed her babies.  She moved slowly – actually it was cautiously, like she was waiting to see how you would react to her every move before she made another one and if you made a sudden move or raised your arm(s) she was instantly on the floor in a submission position.  Baby Girl was deathly afraid of men.  When my brothers came into a room she was in Baby Girl would slink along the wall farthest away from them and get to another room as fast as she (cautiously) could.

Being a kennel dog for her entire life up until Mom took her home, Baby Girl had absolutely no socialization or manners but she had a heart of gold and desperately wanted to please you – if you were a woman.  If you were a man she hid from you and would work very hard to squeeze her large body into ridiculously small spaces trying to get away.

My mother kept her outside on a cable during the day and brought Baby Girl inside at night.  (Unfortunately the cable was necessary because Baby Girl would run off and not come back for hours, but it was a very, very long cable.)  Mom taught Baby Girl to sit on a mat and lift each paw up, one at a time so Mom could wipe them off with a cloth each time Baby Girl came inside from being outside.  To Baby Girl it probably felt like Mom was holding her paws and lifting her paw up became the most comforting thing she ever learned and for the rest of her life if she was confused or thought you might be mad at her she would sit down and lift up her paw so that you could hold it.  Mom also taught her to stay off of the linoleum floor of the kitchen and Baby Girl obeyed that rule very well.

Baby Girl could have been a “poster child” for Love.  She was the most loving creature I’ve ever met and all she wanted was to be loved in return.

My mom had cancer and one month later took a turn for the worse so I spent a long weekend with my her and was able to spend more time with Baby Girl, who just seemed to get sweeter and sweeter every day.

One month after that my mother passed away and I was back again – I spent a week in her home, just me and Baby Girl, getting everything ready to vacate the house.  Baby Girl and I really bonded and I wanted to take her home with me but our living situation didn’t allow it so one of my brothers took Baby Girl home with him.

Not quite a year later that brother asked if we wanted Baby Girl as she was having issues fitting in to their family.  Our living situation hadn’t changed but we decided to ask the landlord if we could have a dog and just see what would happen, fully expecting a “no” because she was such a large dog.  Amazingly enough the landlord said yes and we were able to bring her home with us!

In the 4 1/2 years that followed she went from being a cautious, scared dog to a very happy one who loved being with us and picked my husband as “her person”.  She became able to be around men, even strangers, without cowing in fear at every sudden movement.

Her greatest joy in life was to sit on the futon with you and put her head in your lap and just lay there while we watched a movie, or sit down next to you and lean all 125 pounds of her self into you, sometimes pushing the chair you were sitting in away several feet…  🙂

She was fascinated by our cat although he snubbed her and did his level best to pretend she didn’t exist, they were so funny to watch together!  Anybody else’s animals she tried to dominate so we had to be really careful outside the house with her.

Baby Girl tolerated going to the Doggy Wash, it was clear she thought she was being punished and didn’t know why but she loved car rides so it was always easy to get her to go.

Just last week we had to put her down.  We spent all day Sunday with her to say goodbye and Monday after work we took her to the vet.  We figure she was about 12 years old, which is long-lived for such a large breed of dog, and the vet said she had bone cancer, which was excruciatingly painful.  It was so much harder than I thought it would be to, chosing to end her life but with the cancer she was headed for a slow and agonizing death.  Going to the vet made her passing super-quick and painless, she just slipped away into doggie heaven with her head on my husband’s lap and me at her side.

We buried her in the back yard along with pieces of our hearts and planted a yellow rose on her grave.  Baby Girl, you were amazing and we will miss you very much!

Yesterday morning I sat up in bed as my husband was sitting across the room putting his shoes on.  He had been withdrawn and grumpy for the last few days so, in my never-ending quest to become bolder, I simply said the words:  “Are you upset with me?”  I’m so brave, I know…

He paused and then we had a conversation where he told me:
1.  His addiction wasn’t really an addiction, it was just his attempts at filling a “hole” in his life of something he was missing and he only accepted 50% responsibility for this “hole”, the rest was my fault.
2.  He didn’t think I was a Godly Wife because I didn’t “desire” him but he couldn’t prove it because he didn’t know any scriptures to back it up with.
3.  He couldn’t believe that there was never any “attraction” between us because why else would we have stayed married all these years (almost 19) if we weren’t attracted to each other?

I felt he was angry and speaking from his heart, finally saying how he really felt so I very calmly asked some questions to clarify his statement until I was satisfied I knew what he was saying.  Be proud of me, that took A LOT of effort, just sayin’.

I rode the bus to work and started writing him a letter which I finished on a break later in the day.  I wrote about how he had brought pornography into our marriage right from the start and after just a few years we were convicted that it was wrong so “we” stopped viewing pornographic materials.  (It always made me feel so yucky inside, it wasn’t very hard for me to stop.)  I felt like I was writing with “righteous anger” and the words just poured onto the page.  I refused to accept responsibility for any percentage of this “hole” in his life that was clearly there long before I ever met him and I informed him that yes, indeed, he had an addiction and needed to admit it and defeat it.  I concluded my handwritten, 9-page letter (on 6″ x 8″ paper) by saying there were plenty of $500/month apartments near where he worked and he should go get one and be gone from our house for a minimum of one year.

My anger has changed over the years, I used to withdraw and “turtle up” until it was safe to come out again.  In my quest to “find myself” I have become a warrior, hard as a diamond and cold as the Arctic.  Don’t mess with me, I will not be your doormat anymore.

So after work I go home and immediately have a phone situation to deal with.  Almost 2 hours later I have solved one of our two problems and am sitting in the easy chair, playing Farmville2 on my laptop while my husband is sitting on the couch next to me, watching a show and reading a book, acting like everything was fine and dandy.

I have not given him the letter, wanting to write it up neatly because it was a rough draft with things crossed out and what not.  I am trying to keep my face neutral to stern, hoping he will notice and ask me what’s wrong…

It finally becomes obvious that he is not operating under the belief that our morning talk had an impact on our relationship so I finally asked him if he had any other thoughts regarding our conversation that morning.

He put his book down, sighed and said that obviously I had some thoughts about our conversation so why don’t I share them?

We wound up having a good, open, honest talk.  Maintaining my austere aloofness I asked him, point-blank if he still thought I was an Ungodly Wife and if he still believed he didn’t have an addiction.

It immediately became clear that just as I shouldn’t have any serious talks at night after I’ve taken my sleeping pills, he shouldn’t have any serious talks first thing in the morning, despite his belief that he is a morning person…

I put my newly-found sunglasses of Love and Forgiveness on while he did most of the talking and realized four very important things:
1.  My husband has absolutely no self-esteem whatsoever.  The self-talk that goes on inside his head is so cruel and negative – he almost cried while talking about it and if I wasn’t in Xena Princess Warrior mode I would have cried too, it’s horrible to imagine anybody living with that.
2.  My husband has the emotional maturity of an 8-year-old.  Seriously.  Sticks and stones can break his bones but words and dark glances will kill him.
3.  My husband is not a good communicator.  He uses words that I associate with completely different things than he does.  For example when he said I wasn’t a Godly Wife because I didn’t “desire” him I immediately thought “sex”.  He meant something more along the lines of “respect” and wanting to spend time with him… and so on.  Most likely I’m so weary of having sex all the time that I’m on the defensive, hearing and seeing “suggestiveness” in everything he says and does.  But still, what he means is not what is usually communicated to me.
4.  My husband is probably depressed and should be on medication.  He actually said the first part – that he wonders if he’s depressed.  I said let’s go to the doctor and he immediately resisted, claiming it was embarrassing enough to be going to a counselor.  I have quite a bit of Prozac left over from when my doctor switched me to another medicine so I suggested he start taking that (yes, I know, all kinds of wrong and illegal) and if after a month he felt better, then he could go to the doctor and get his own prescription and if he didn’t feel better he could stop taking them.  He said he doesn’t want to be stuck taking pills for the rest of his life…. ugh!  (This one I will win, he just doesn’t know it yet.)

So, to sum it all up, for almost 20 we’ve pretty much had the exact same needs – to be appreciated and loved/respected for who we are – but we’ve been speaking totally different languages and had completely unreasonable, and entirely unspoken, expectations regarding the other.  That, right there, changes everything…  I decide to hold off on giving him the letter.

I grew up with no self-esteem.  I started to recognize that fact it in my 20’s and have been actively working on believing that I have value for the last 10 years.  I never imagined guys would have this problem too, and especially not my macho, controlling, selfish, easily angered husband.  I had actually thought he esteemed himself too highly for all these years, if you want my honest opinion.  But last night he was broken before me, poured wide open in emotional honesty for possibly the first time in his life.

This changes the way I will talk to him – I will use simpler communication not expect him to react like a mature adult.  I will give him more encouragement and praise and ask the girls to do the same.  I will (quietly) ask men at church to encourage him and build him up.  I will wait another year to see if he improves and re-evaluate life at that time.  If he is playing me, and I’m sure some of my friends will think he is, then a year is ample time to prove himself to me one way or another.

My eyes are wide open and my heart is still going to be guarded but last night, in just a few moments of listening and hearing what he was saying, everything changed.

I was on my way home from work and the sun was shining brightly.  So brightly, in fact, that I was wearing my way cool – and polarized – sunglasses.  There was a large cloud next to the sun and I saw the widest, most brilliant rainbow I’d ever seen on the side of the cloud.  It was just in that spot – nowhere else.  It wasn’t raining, just a bright, sunny day with a few big, white, fluffy clouds.  I took my sunglasses off and the rainbow turned into an unbearably bright white spot on the side of the cloud.  I put my sunglasses back on and – rainbow!  Off again, bright white spot.  On, off, on, off…yes I did this for a while…

That got me thinking, where else in life are there Hidden Rainbows?  Where are things, especially in my own past that I might look at and say “Oh, that’s just a cloud” or “Oh, that hurts my eyes to look at it”.  When I view life with a different filter what will I see?  Beauty where there was normal, or even ugly?  Rainbows in places that are still too painful to look at directly? 

But what filter do I use to change my vision?  My sunglasses are polarized and let me see all kinds of things my normal eyes can’t see.  When I am wearing my polarized sunglasses I find that many electronics have a colored sheen on the displays, almost like when water runs down the street and sometimes you can see a rainbow of colors in the surface because it picks up all the traces of oil and antifreeze, etc from the roadway.  The polarization also cuts down the glare from the sun on the windshields of other cars making it possible to see what’s going on inside the cars around me with my sunglasses on but without them I can only see that yes, there is a car there but the glare of the sun on the windshields makes it impossible to see the driver or passengers. Unfortunately, sunglasses can only help you in the physical world, they can’t show you the hidden rainbows in your past – or present – or help you see into a co-workers weird and unexplainable actions (or maybe it’s my weird and unexplainable actions…).

Love is a good filter, probably the greatest filter.  Love God first, then people.  If we can do this – if I can do this because I am totally preaching to myself here – then we the people will have insight into the ways of others and see the hidden rainbows everywhere we go.  Life will become a better place for all of us. 

Let me be clear in one thing, however, Love is different than tolerance, a LOT different.  America has become tolerant crazy and people nowadays seem to think that if you’re not tolerant of them and whatever it is their doing, well then you’re just a hater.  This is not true.   Love does have rules, and strangely enough, the list of Love’s rules contains a lot of “don’t”s.  I Corinthians 13:4-8 says

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but (does) rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.   Love never fails.

By way of example, it is loving on my part to NOT tolerate my husband’s addiction because it is bad for him personally, it is bad for me personally, it is ruining our marriage and threatening the security of our children.  Tolerance can be good but it has been misused and re-defined to the point that tolerance can also be very, very bad and allow all sorts of harmful things to grow up strong and completely unchallenged in today’s society.

But now I feel like I’m getting into an entirely different topic so I’ll save that for another blog. 

Another really good filter is Forgiveness.  Stop holding grudges and making people “pay” for their mistakes long after they remember they even made one.  Yes, you were hurt in the past but it made you who you are today so mourn for your loss – for a short time – and then let it go.  Forgive the one(s) who hurt you and move on.  You are stronger because of everything you’ve come through UNLESS you refuse to forgive because it takes all your strength to carry those grudges, especially when you keep adding new grudges to the old ones.  (Still preaching to myself here…)

So back to my sunglasses analogy – Forgiveness is like the dark tint of your sunglasses, you can’t see things in the shadows very well, or at all, depending on how dark they are, i.e., how well you’ve forgiven the offender(s).  Love is the polarization on your sunglasses.  It reveals beauty that can’t be seen any other way and can bring understanding of what’s going on inside people and situations that you couldn’t see before because, unaided, you could never see past the blinding glare they projected.

So put your sunglasses on, your “new” sunglasses of Love and Forgiveness.  Look at the list and stop doing some of the things you’ve been doing and start to do some of the things you don’t normally do.  The next grudge you remember – forgive the one(s) who offended you and move past it.  Find the Hidden Rainbows and you’ll discover that your world – and the world of the people around you – is a much better place!

Isn’t it supposed to be really calm in the eye of the hurricane?  I kind of feel like that’s where my husband and I are at… We’ve been working our way through several different issues and have worked things out just enough to have made visible progress towards a common goal (staying married) but I see a storm coming in that we each have separate goals as well and our separate goals do not necessarily play well with each other.  This could get ugly…but not today.

Sunday afternoon was no fun at all.  He was angry about several things and giving me the silent treatment…ahh the “good ‘ole silent treatment”, those few words pretty much sum up the first 10 years of our marriage.  Him being silent because he was mad at me and me being silent because I never knew what would set him off next…

But to be fair, God has really worked on his heart and the silent treatment is almost a thing of the past.  It used to be that when he was upset with me he wouldn’t speak to me for weeks and I would get the evil eye whenever he looked at me during that time period.  Then slowly, over the last 7 years, the silent treatment started lasting only 1 week instead of 2, and then it was only 5 days instead of 7, and then we reached a point where it was only 3 days and now, finally, the silent treatment lasts approximately 3 hours.  Nowadays I usually get a heartfelt apology before the day is over if he realizes that he was hurtful to me in some fashion.  So yes, there is definite growth and improvement in him and he’s really not the terrible schmuck you probably think he is from reading all of my other posts.  He’s just a regular guy with regular problems.  He still needs to get over them but nothing about my life with him is life-threatening.

I know we have more battles to face.

1.  There’s the whole joint counselling sessions that we will need to go to that he doesn’t think are necessary.

2.  There’s our extreme personality differences – we took a personality test while we were engaged and were strongly encouraged by the pastor NOT to marry because of the results.  Obviously we paid no attention to the godly advice we were given and went full-steam ahead into this 19+ year disaster we’ve called “true love”.  Ugh..  I’ll not get into those now, I think I’ve pretty much listed them all in one post or another…

3.  How we are raising our teenaged daughters has become a source of disagreements between us.

4.  Where we attend church is still a sore spot with both of us although we have managed to put this issue on the back burner for now and are focusing on the more immediate problem of our marriage.

But right now, at the moment, we are in a peaceful place.  The Eye of the Hurricane – hopefully will give us a chance to catch our breath, step back from our problems and refresh ourselves for what’s coming next.  Do I know what the future holds?  Uh uh.  But God does and I am choosing to trust Him a little more each day and that decision seems to bring the Eye of the Hurricane with me, wherever I go.  It follows me, keeping me in the center of that peaceful, restful place until it’s time for me to join the battle again.  In the mean time I just keep praying… save me, save me.

…with six more weeks to go for my husband to prove that our family is worth him becoming a better man.  His previous attempt, a couple of years ago, at a Big Change only lasted three weeks total and then he quit so I think this next week will be very telling.

Progress/Improvements I have seen so far:
1. He opens car doors for me.
2. He tells me he loves me at the end of every phone call, every time we say good bye in person and occasional, random times throughout the day.  It’s actually kind of driving me nuts… He never spoke those words to me before without being prompted and/or pressured into saying them so it feels like it’s almost too much now… It’s hard to believe he means it because I’ve gone years without hearing him say it to me even once.  It’s also hard to  get a straight answer from him when I ask exactly what does it mean to him when he says “I love you” to me… but overall it’s still progress.
3. He has made an appointment for a counselor who specializes in addictions this week.
4.  He doesn’t get as angry as quickly as he was, especially at the girls.
5. He gives me hugs regularly that are just hugs, I don’t feel like there’s a sexual motive behind them for once.
6. He apologizes frequently for not realizing what a angry, selfish, controlling husband and father he’s been for the 18+ years we’ve been married.
7. In these last two weeks he’s cooked two meals, done several loads of laundry and cleaned our bathroom sink and counter and the downstairs kitchen sink and counter as well.  All things he never or rarely did in our marriage before.
8.  He got me a nice Valentine’s Day card (even though I said we were postponing Vday until after the two months was up) and hand-wrote a really nice 3 page letter about all the things he likes about me – 1 page was physical stuff and the other 2 pages were character stuff.  The pages were tiny (maybe 4″ x 6″?) but still, what he said on them was very nice.
9. We had a disagreement Sunday and even though he wasn’t happy with me he still treated me with kindness and dignity and  this morning he apologized for being mad at me for the last two days.

For my part during these last two weeks I have been a naughty, naughty girl.  I’ve really been pushing his buttons by doing things I know he doesn’t like – such as borrowing the Twilight series from my friend and making the whole family watch them.  (Except the last one which isn’t out on disc yet).   They’re hilarious by the way, I haven’t laughed so hard at awkward teenage romance in a long time.   I started talking about getting a tattoo, which he has been firmly against for quite some time.  I went to the movie theater yesterday to see “Hansel & Gretel, Witch Hunters” with my friend and oldest daughter (Love, love, love Jeremy Renner!  Could have done without the swearing though…) and on Sunday night I insisted on going to the evening service of a church (different than the one we attend on Sunday mornings) with my same friend and I intend to keep going to that church’s Sunday evening service for as long as I can.  I’m sure there have been other ways I’ve really tried to get his goat but I can’t think of them right now.  (It is past my bedtime, yawn!)  However, in spite of all these things I’ve been doing (and probably a few more) on purpose to test him and see how serious he is about keeping his family together, I’m actually impressed with his responses.  He is rising to the challenge and “manning up”.  Way to go dude!

Something that he and I talked about on Sunday evening was that there really isn’t a foundation to our relationship that we can go back to and start over on top of.  I’m not sure why he married me but I married him because he said he loved me and he pushed me into having sex with him while we were dating.  I had been a virgin up until that point  and I thought if I didn’t marry him I would be an old maid forever.  (I was 20…how stupid can one be?  Ugh!)  There is no passion, no place of being “In Love” to return to because  it was never there in the first place.  In order for us to develop passion, romance and the feelings of being “In Love” we are going to have to develop them from scratch and damned if I know how to do that after almost 20 years of building walls around my heart so he can’t hurt me anymore.  I honestly think he doesn’t know how to start from scratch like that either but he’s surely giving it the good ‘ole college try, which is more than I’ve been interested in doing for our marriage for probably at least 10 years now so I guess that makes him the better man in this situation.

He’s always had a “Never Give Up” attitude and never considered divorce as an option.  Me?  I’ve prayed to God at least once a year during every year of our marriage begging for a divorce from this man.  God always said NO.

Of course I’m coming from a “broken home” (making me automatically a lower-class citizen as compared to the rest of my husband’s college graduated, married forever, working in the church ministry family) and no one in his family has ever divorced so in their eyes we would just move a step down from being the poor, uneducated, blue-collar, lower-class family members to the actual black sheep category.  I’m honestly not sure that my brothers would care if we divorced all that much, they don’t ever talk to me anyway, just my husband.  I’ll keep my sister, he can have my brothers, ha, ha!

Anyway, that sort of is talk for another time, maybe farther down the road, maybe never.  At the moment things are going well and our relationship is remarkably like a fairy tale, minus the unlimited funds that seemed to come with “Bibbity, Bobbity, Boo” and the waving of the magic wand,  so I’m choosing to enjoy every minute of it and be the princess I always wanted to be and who knows, maybe the Toad will turn into Prince Charming soon and the Ice Princess will melt into his arms… because with God – anything IS possible, eh?