Not sure where to start, or how to describe my most amazing weekend and what can happen if you stay open and live in the moment.
First let’s back up. The past few weeks have been painful and tortuous, as I wait and see what happens in my marriage. I had fallen out of love with my husband over the tough years of raising babies. I focused on the kids and home, and he focused on work and making money. Through those tough years, we were unable to focus on each other. As I read more and more, this is actually fairly common. What else is fairly common, is to go back to the beginning of a relationship and looking for trouble to explain current feelings. This was eye-opening and I dislike being common.
We started unintentionally abusing each other. Yes, each other, it was not one-sided. It became habit to ignore and disrespect each other. Everything we did annoyed each other. Ugh, that’s no way to live. So the frustration built up and led to resentment over many years. My spirit hardened and pushed him away to avoid getting hurt. But he had stopped looking so long ago he did not notice the final brick in the wall.
Why did he stop looking? Many reasons, but a big one explains a lot. Well, there were many times he saw pain in my eyes, not from him, but as I dealt with my painful abusive childhood, dealing with memories, processing, bouts of depression. He said he was unable to handle seeing that pain, and had to look away. I can accept that. But at some point he never looked back, never noticed when that pain was gone, so many years ago now, and when I was finally able to accept him, when I went to him and tried again and again, he was safe behind his own wall and I felt rejected. So we both went on for years, doing our duties, loving – but not feeling loved. Aww, how sad.
But something happened a few days ago. We were in limbo, I thought I wanted him to leave to end this pain, he was frantically trying to prove to me he is a good man and that we do have a future together. One day last week, I forgave him. Completely and sincerely forgave him for every hurt, slight, annoyance, everything. I didn’t do it consciously or even try to forgive him – it happened all at once, like whoosh, years of resentment gone. At the exact same time, I also forgave myself. I accepted we are imperfect humans and what is done is done. We vowed to make a fresh start.
The most wonderful feeling has returned to me. He went to work on Friday, and I missed him. I thought of him during the day. I met him at the door when he got home and hugged him so tight. He held me back and we just stayed like that, looking in each other’s eyes. No words, just feelings. My little boys kept coming in to the kitchen to ask for this or that and my answer was, “not now sweetie, mommy is busy hugging daddy”. Wow did husband like that answer.
So my husband is a very smart man, and he knew how to bring us back together. He arranged for the kids to go to his mom’s all weekend. I had no idea what he had planned, but I was open to anything. That night, after kids were at Grandma’s and we were alone, it was very awkward, we didn’t know what to do. It was like a first date in some ways, but we already knew each other. So when we tried to get close, and snuggling took a step forward, I felt the same distance, lack of desire, lack of need from him and pulled away. For the first time in 18 years together, I asked him what that was, why he did that, as I felt so rejected every time. So, it turns out, this very good man of mine, over the years, had learned that if showed his full desire to me, I would get frightened, or flashback to my abuse, and he couldn’t stand hurting me or reminding me of this pain. His distance was respect and love and protection. Oh my God! Of course! So I explained to him, that I don’t feel like that any more, I am no longer a scared little girl like I was when we first met so long ago. That I am now a woman fully capable of accepting his love, but I needed to feel the need in him. He says “Really? You want me to show you how you drive me crazy with desire?” Well, err, umm, let’s just say he showed me. Oh wow did he show me. In fact, he showed me 4 times that night, and once in the shower too. (blushing now, but still smiling 🙂 )
Sooo, this amazing man has kept himself hidden to avoid overwhelming me. There were so many times I have pushed him away, when I was unable to have anyone touch me at all. He waited for me to give him permission each step of the way so I would be comfortable. Wow. No wonder he was either angry or flat all the time. What a tremendous stress and effort that must have been.
Now I know this doesn’t mean everything is suddenly all better and will be perfect now. We’re still going to go to counseling, still taking it day by day, still going to do the hard work. But we’re going to do all these things as a team. A beautiful loving team, and it doesn’t seem like such hard work now. Was this a marriage miracle? I guess I don’t know, but I’m certainly open to that notion. I am so happy we have so many more tomorrows to keep getting better. Together.