A few months ago, this popped up in my reader, from Soul in Surreal’s blog:
“You can’t fall back in love with someone. Because you can’t love the same person twice. Because they’re not the same person. They were changed by the first time you loved them. And they were changed by the first time you left them too. So when you lean in close and whisper that you’re falling in love with me again, after all this time, make sure you’re in love with me, and not the memories.” – Danielle via Scribblingsanddust
I had bookmarked the link back in January because with all the stuff going on with the hubs, it hit pretty close to the heart.
Fast forward to July, and I’ve been spinning my wheels in the mud, investing a lot of head energy to this whole mess, and getting nowhere.
So how’s that there marriage goin’, Katie?
We’re certainly pleasant and courteous to each other. He’s kind and attentive. He’s as affectionate as I allow him to be, giving me hugs often, and respecting my space when I circle back into myself and withdraw. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to rebuild my trust, and is completely open to my inquiries about where he’s been, who he’s seen, what his email is about, and where he’s off to next. And I should add that he’s more than helpful around the house – he gasses up the mower and puts the dishes away without me having to ask him.
So…it’s quiet, for the most part…as long as neither religion nor politics comes up as a subject. When they do, the water begins to seep out between the carefully mended cracks in the vase, highlighting its weaknesses through the imperfect repairs and uneven layer of glue.
And before I get into this, let me state again that I 100% support varying religious, spiritual, and secular belief systems. I’m all about Team Coexist. What I’m not a fan of is dissing the sincerely held beliefs of others. Express what YOU believe, and let’s talk about it over
whiskey coffee respectfully, like grownups. But let’s not use it as a platform from which to spew hate, okay Skippy? I’m not playing if you want to sling mud at the heartfelt beliefs of others. Tell me what YOU believe for YOU; don’t sully the landscape by flinging verbal flaming poo bags around highlighting why you think everybody else is wrong. All that does is add big brown spots to your lawn. It doesn’t help anything good grow.
So the other day, I surprised the hubs by coming home early. (Spoiler: this never ends well, does it?) He was corralling his boys to drop them off somewhere, and as he saw me, his hands went to cover the front of his shirt.
He was wearing…this:
His rationale, which he threw at me while boys were flying out the door, was “I thought I wouldn’t see you today.” I guess in his mind, that makes it okay.
In my mind…notsomuch.
And yesterday, we were outside lighting sparklers, when I noticed that his car was sporting a new bumper sticker:
He was standing a little awkwardly behind his vehicle, blocking it with his body. (Exactly how long did you think that plan would be effective?) It’s like shielding the shirt design. Why have it, then? You want to tell the world something you don’t want your wife to know?
Why should that be okay?
And what do I do now?
I already don’t touch the shirts. If they’re in the laundry, they stay there until he washes them himself. It’s a bit passive-aggressive, to be sure. But since he’s a grownup, I have zero obligation to do ANY of his laundry, so while I’ll happily chuck in boxers and socks if I’m doing a load anyway, I’m not enabling your hate for you. (And yes, I could easily stage a horrific bleach accident. I’ve considered it. But destroying his property won’t resolve the issue; it’ll just escalate it. I mean, I have a lot of really nice shoes. Plus, he’ll just buy more shirts, right? And the whole point isn’t the laundry, it’s why he feels the need to HAVE these shirts in the first place. So.)
I don’t want to ride in his car any more. He has a few other stickers on there that I don’t like. In the past I’ve bitten my tongue for the sake of convenience. And, admittedly, I’ll probably do that again. But for now, I ain’t setting foot in it. Because when I get out of that car, everyone will assume that the language on it represents me. And while I shouldn’t care what others think, I’m just not okay being associated with that.
The hurtful part of this is that we already had this discussion fifteen months ago. I told him that his need to rip apart the beliefs of others was spending a lot of my emotional currency…and I was going broke.
At the time, he cared enough to throw out the really offensive shirts. Back then, I meant enough to him that my beliefs were worthy of some respect – at least in my own home.
Now, though, either he’s forgotten what I said, or his needs are screaming so loudly that mine can no longer be heard. And I’m dangerously close to filing a mental Chapter 11 on it all.
He did suggest a couple of weeks ago that we try counseling again. Would it help with this spiritual disconnect? I can’t say until I try it, right?
It is a good sign…but these days, I’m not sure a sign is enough.
One of the questions we’re told to ask ourselves when questioning a relationship is “is your life better/easier with him or without him?” And I’ll readily admit that he makes my life much easier. He shares the household chores – and the bills. It’s super handy to have someone around who can open stubborn jars of salsa and stop your bike pedal from making that weird noise, and it’s awesome to find that sometimes the Clean Dish Fairy has visited your kitchen AND put all the silverware away.
But are convenience and apathy a solid reason to stay married?
Or are they just enough reason to try?
The bottom line here is that the hubs and I are just very different people. We’ve known that from the get-go, but it wasn’t challenging the relationship until about a year and a half ago, when he changed the dynamic; he changed the rules and started blowing whistles and I no longer understand who’s on my team or where the ball needs to go.
I no longer know who I married, exactly. Was it this guy? The one I’m with now? Because I would never marry a man who had this car and those shirts and this…hate. Yet…I did marry him. Was he just pretending before, suppressing who he is for the sake of winning my heart? And if so, I don’t want to be with someone who has to pretend to be someone he is not, do I?
I’m still in love with the man I married. Or the man I thought I married. I’m just not sure I’m married to him anymore. I don’t know if I ever was.
You can’t lose something you’ve never had, can you?
But…we had something great once. We had that once-in-a-lifetime BOND. The stuff of fairytales.
I’m hoping it’s like one of those times where you think you lost your car keys, and after looking frantically all over the house, emptying every purse, pocket, and hook searching for them, you look down to discover they’ve been in your hand the whole time.
Then again, the car keys I have didn’t ever go around trying to start other cars. So there’s that, too.
A while ago, I bookmarked this quote from the book Full Circle by Tamra Price:
“We liked the idea of each other much more than the day-to-day reality of each other.”
Maybe this relationship isn’t misplaced keys. Maybe it’s more like a misguided art purchase – a bold sculpture in the center of the living area that we’re trying to decorate around in a way that makes it “work,” because we’ve invested a lot into not just the statue, but the furniture and the pets and the way we watch TV at night, and none of it really makes much sense together, but it’s a lot of work to disassemble it all and start over.
And then there’s the whole bit about…well, passion.
The other night, smack-dab in the middle of band rehearsal, we started working on this song:
I don’t sing lead on this one, so I got to sit back and listen. And it gut-punched me right in the feels how much I miss being sung to.
See, when you make music with someone, you can really connect on a deep spiritual level. There’s a fire fueled by the passion of doing what your soul is meant to do that spreads by doing it WITH someone.
This connection doesn’t have to come from music. The hubs doesn’t sing – at all. But there was fire at one time. I know there was. We had it. We had it in spades, yo. We had more passion than I had mint in the garden. We were solidly, madly, and completely in love.
And now I’m looking at a pile of graying charcoal, poking it with a stick to see if there are any sparks left in the embers. Because I’m just not attracted to the message of the shirts and the stickers. Honestly, I’m completely turned off. A campfire doused with an ice bucket.
But then rehearsal ran late, and I came home exhausted and spent, to find that the trash had been taken out, and the garbage cans were already out at the curb, ready for pickup.
Because he’s that kind of guy.
Crossroads, will you ever let him go?
Will you hide the dead man’s ghost,
Or will he lie, beneath the clay,
or will his spirit float away?
But I know that he won’t stay without Melissa.
Limbo, party of one, your table is waiting.