Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Journey Begins

Working now for 4 years on my second marriage has not been easy.  My first marriage was basically 16 years of disaster, despair, futility and crisis.  While I will not ever excuse the ex for her behavior (in some cases, literally criminal), I did come to realize I was not entirely blameless.  So, I examined myself, made some adjustments, and thought I had become a new, improved husband 2.0.
Boy, was I wrong.
My new bride, saddled with instant-motherhood because of my 2 children (4 & 11 at the time we met), became, to say the least, stressed.  And I was not even close to being what she (or my children) needed. Also, of course, my lovely bride wanted a child of her own (actually, it was a condition for getting married).
Getting pregnant was *horrible* but I got the job done (Yes, my dearest bride, I.  You *were* horrible to me, but I love you nonetheless.)  Things went downhill from there.
WAAAY down.
Months later, we moved to a new place, far from the old, and my beautiful, youngest daughter was born a week after. Of course, things got worse.
Then the pipes broke in our house--and our life changed.
Calling 114 frantically (Yes, 114.  We do not live in the US) for a plumber, a calm-voiced gentleman told us not to panic and he would be here shortly.  As God would have it, this gentleman soon became our spiritual adviser and led us into the Truth.  Several months later, me and my lovely bride were baptized, both on the same day.
And things STILL got worse.  AARRGGHHH.
I had had enough.  I wanted a divorce (no, my love, I never told you.)  I think we were pretty good at hiding the wreck we called a marriage from others in the congregation.  But I had always kept our adviser in the loop as to how I was feeling.  And when divorce feelings came into discussion (after a long rant about my bride's shortcomings), he looked at me with a calm smile.
"You're doing something wrong," he said. (DU-UH)
"Nothing I do is good enough," I said exasperatedly. "What ELSE can I do?"
"I have no idea," he replied.
(Wide-eyed, stupid silence on my part.)
"She's YOUR wife," he explained.  "You know her better than anyone else in this world."
(CLICK) Did I?  I knew tons about her.  And then certain realities dawned on me.  I live in a foreign country and can understand about 80-90% of regular conversation (I'm a little lazy in that way.  I haven't really studied it, just picked it up).  Many times, this is OK.  But sometimes that missing 10-20% is critical...  So, what was I missing about my bride?
"She must know I love her," I said in disbelief (sound familiar to anyone?)
"She's a smart lady.  In her head, she probably does," was the reply.  "But that's not where love needs to be."
"She's still wrong for (long list again). Why doesn't anyone correct her?" I whined.
"You're the more mature Christian," he said.  Quite true.  I used to be Catholic. Grew up with faith, just wrong church.  My bride was completely un-opinionated--faith starting from scratch, so to speak. "Would it build up her faith or undermine it?" He asked.  Sometimes elders can really make you squirm into a corner.
"You're right." (Sigh of defeat)  "I know what I have to do."
Then on about how proud of my spiritual progress, big smiles.  Someone, at least, was happy.
And thus began my long journey to build my marriage into what it should be.  A year of intense personal study (scriptures, science, psychology, blogs, elders, more scriptures), constant prayer and meditation followed.
Then it was time for action.  How did it start?
A foot massage.
Get the youngest to sleep, take my bride into the bedroom, lay her down on the bed, and rub her feet.
"What are you doing?!" She squeals in surprise.
"Massaging your feet, my love," I reply, rubbing away.
"Why?" she asks suspiciously.
"Because you like it." Rub, rub, rub.
"What do you want?" She probes.
"I want to massage your feet so you can sleep better," I tell her.  Finishing up, I kiss her feet, tell her good night, and leave the room (we sleep in different rooms, mostly because I snore.  I'll get into that in another post).
Next night, same routine.  This time, massage goes up to her knees.
"You want sex," she says accusingly.
"Not tonight, my love," I lie through my teeth. Then say goodnight, and leave.
Third night, full body massage--with lotion. And extreme care NOT to touch certain places. Very "official".
"You want sex," she accuses after I'm done.
"With you, I always want sex," I admit. "I've told you that many times."
"That's why you're being nice," she complains.
"I love you, dear heart.  I'm always nice to you." Weeelllll, most of the time, I would like to think. And then we start to talk!  Deep, intimate, personal, true-to-the-heart talk!  First time in over two years!
About an hour later, somehow or another she ended up in my arms. I feel the warm-fuzzies.
"You want to make love," she says.
"I've made love to you three nights in a row now," I tell her.
She smiles. "You want sex."
"This is YOUR time, my love," I inform her. "This is about what YOU want. This is my gift to you.  It is your time to have my undivided attention, for me to let you know everyday how special you are to me."
I give her a goodnight kiss, but as I try to leave, she wraps her legs around mine. And her eyes. Wow.  That blew me away.  There was hunger in those beautiful, dark eyes.
I had thought that was gone forever, a hunger for me.
Somehow, even though it had been a long time since we'd had any relations, I managed fine.  In the afterglow, we held each other and talked some more. Wonderfully intimate talk. When she couldn't keep her eyes open anymore, I kissed her goodnight, tucked her in, then went out of the room and cried.
That was about eight months ago.
In the time since I started my personal study, the biggest change was my attitude.  My prayers changed from "make my spouse a better wife" to "make me a better husband," from "make my spouse stop hurting me" to "take away my anger and unworthy thoughts so I can be the strong pillar my wife needs."  Placing my spouses needs before mine has made all the difference, has made my attitude one of giving, not of receiving, just as God wants. And Jehovah has.made these changes for me possible (1 John 5:14).
Is all peachy now?
Heck, no.  Not by a long shot.  But it will be.
I have faith.


  1. I am here as well. Long years have left me empty

    1. That "walking dead" feeling is hard to put aside, but if you keep your faith strong, God will fill that void up with his unfailing love. But always keep looking at the good things in your life even though it is hard and it is a burden, keepin love in your heart regardless of what may come your way, even while on the receiving end of those all-too-well-known excuses and abuse that eat away at your spirit. You need to admit to yourself that you can live just fine without sex. Miserable, sure, but you can still thrive in other ways; stop letting your spouse's sin define your life. At some point in time you will probably make a decision on which way you want to steer your life, so pray for guidance, but keep yourself humble and study the Scriptures to make sure you can follow God's way and draw strength from God's word, keeping in mind Matthew 11:28-30:

      “Come to me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest. Accept my teaching. Learn from me. I am gentle and humble in spirit. And you will be able to get some rest. Yes, the teaching that I ask you to accept is easy. The load I give you to carry is light.”

      You know your situation and your spouse better than anyone except God. Remember that there are many paths and many destinations and that you will have to choose what to do and live with the consequences, so as you research this and other blogs and websites, see what situations most seem like your own and whether their suggestions would be appropriate for you and your spouse.

      Do not isolate yourself from your congregation. Talk to elders/pastors, but do not accuse your spouse. Just describe your situation and listen to their advice. Humility is always key, and you might get feedback you don't like. Don't dismiss without careful consideration, becase in the pain you are in, you are mostly concerned with relief, and not long term spirtual/marital health, and more than likely cannot be objective.

      If you are reading my blog, you know the road I'm taking is a bumpy, sometimes very lonely road. But the destination at the end of this journey is worth going to. I quite recommend the trip.

      My prayers to you


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