Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Finding common ground....

I stayed up all night last night.  Big shocker.  I had spent the last several weeks pouring through web sites about marriage and repairing the damaged marriage, fixing the broken person...blah, blah, blah and I remembered last night that a friend of mine had given me a book a few years back called "The Five Love Languages: How to Express Hearfelt Commitment to Your Mate".  I became obsessed with finding that damn book.

First I thought I might use it to bludgeon Jon to death with but then I figured it might be more useful if I actually read it and then tried to utilize the tools that it may teach me.  Thank God it wasn't in the garage or attic or in a box that was still packed from when we moved into this house just a mere...ummm...cough...ergh, 5 years ago.   But this post isn't about my inability to unpack boxes, fear of garages or attics in the middle of the night or even my fantasies of beating Jon to a pulp with great works of self help books...it's about this book and how I HAD TO FIND IT.

Priorities people...priorities!

Once I found it....conveniently located on a bookshelf, who'd of thunk...I then became obsessed with reading it.


In one night.

I have an addictive personality...once I set my mind on something...it becomes a friggin obsession!

It was as if the expanse of the past three years of fighting and silent treatments, ultimatums, asking him to leave, letting him come back and then me leaving and the final action of taking off my wedding band and telling him "I'm done" was boiled down into to what the hell I was gonna do in the span of time that it would take me to read all 175 pages.

I'm a fast reader and I literally read this book until I could no longer hold up my head or hold open my eyes.  I fell asleep reading it then woke up and finished it.  While I slept though was when I received a message from Jon who had taken it upon himself ,without talking to me, to find his own guidance in the midst of our seperation.

We have spent a great deal of time standing on separate sides of what should be one unified relationship.  Being pig headed and stubborn has not served us well and we've both held on to the "I'm right and you're wrong", mentality so long that I don't event think we care to explain what it is that we think we may be right about.  After three years of battling you gain a great sense of entitlement to your feelings. 

After three years of battling you also get a lot of looks from the other people that have lived in the house with you through that period of time.  I'm pretty sure if we allowed the girls to use curse words, they would have some colorful choice ones for us.  I'm also pretty sure that is why the dogs piss and shit near our belongings.  It's their way of saying..."dude, either work it out or split up...this shit is annoying".

Tonight was different though.

While we have gotten good at silence and catty glances, making mountains out of the proverbial mole hills and hitting below the belt with words, tonight we simply chose to compliment one another.  It was a suggestion in the book that I had ravenously consumed and thought about bringing up to Jon but then felt like I shouldn't have to because...again...I feel that I am right in my feelings of how the past few years have gone and that would make him wrong.  I'm pretty sure it is becoming abundantly clear as to why there is no resolution to our problems.  I seriously think I may make a shirt that says "I'm right.  You're Wrong.  What's the problem again?"

So while sitting in that self entitled mindset I was shocked when he sent me a text asking if I had read the email he had forwarded me earlier about the things he was reading in order to help him better understand where he and we had gone so wrong in our marriage.  I responded that I had and I tried very hard to keep the sarcasm out of it.  Again that little voice of entitlemnt was rising up and trying to bang on the keys of my Crackberry.  I fought if off though and remained both civil and intrigued that he was making a first move.

It was a cautious feeling of intrigue though.  I mean come one, I may be on a euphoric high from the book but I'm not stupid, we've been down the heartfelt rosey posey road of make believe before.  It got us a $10,000 bill for therapy and here we were no better for the experience.  But I was good and told him that I had.  He asked if I had read the part about making the list of 3 good things about your spouse/partner.  He told me that I would need to write them down and we would share them when we saw each other later.  I said that I had written them down, I didn't bother to divuldge that this was along the same lines as what I had read in my book and had actually mentally completed the night before.  Fixing this marriage is not about what came first the book or the text.  It was about both of us trying.

I feel like I've been the only one plowing through the trenches for the past few years so for the first time in a REALLY long time I was struck by his initiative.  You gotta know this, therapy...was my idea.  Seperation...my idea.  Reconciliation...my idea.  Seperation again...my idea.  I'm thinking you are getting the picture.

With the therapy it was an ultimatum put to him when he had made what I deemed to be the biggest mistake to have happened in our marriage at that particular point in time.  My husband, in all his infinite wisdom, had chosen another woman's feelings over my own.  I'm not talking his mother or his sister.  Nope I am just talking about an old friend.

Yep, that man I love so dearly and had created a life with and was busy raising two children with had stood in our driveway and with my pleading eyes upon him had chosen her over me.  When all was said and done, I knew something in him had changed that day and with all that I could muster I told him it was counseling or he could pack his stuff....he chose therapy.

Now looking back and knowing some of the other things that transpired to keep him coming back to sessions week after week, sometimes twice a week, it is no surprise to me why the years worth of marital counseling did nothing more than to fatten our therapist bank account and keep us emotionally bankrupt.  Another factor for me at least has been watching the systematic demise of some of my friends marriages.  It's hard to remain upbeat about your own future when those around you that you care about are hurting.  Watching their struggles amplified my own and thus created this feeling of just wanting to break free of all of it.  It was getting to the point of suffocation because all around us there was seperation, infidelity, mistrust and discord.  

I don't in any way blame our failures on those around us, but when you are struggling to bail yourselves out of a precarious situation it helps to have some solid ground around you...for us there wasn't anything like that close by.  We were forced to rely on each other and THAT was a huge problem because I no longer trusted him and I was pretty sure he felt the same way about me.

Now that we've come to the point of sink or swim, we've decided that it's every marriage for themselves and we cannot rely on what is around us in order to decide if we will fail or succeed.  I think, for myself at least, that realization made his gesture so powerful. 

Could the feelings of goodwill die tomorrow?  Absolutely.

Will the road to our security and a strong marriage be rough?  Absofuckinlutely.

But do I think it's possible to come back from the abyss of "I'm done" and possibly find more than just this tiny sliver of common ground?  I have hope that it is and that is far more than I had within me when I went searching for that book.

I'll take my common ground.  I am thankful for it and I look forward to what may come as I take ever so tiny and well thought out baby steps towards something better than where I am right now.


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