Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Toothache and tyranny

I was up all night with pain in my jaw.

While I was up I wrote and sent this:

I’ve been laying awake, praying and pondering for hours.

I’ve decided to share these thoughts with you. It is not my intention to hurt you. I am searching for solutions and I need to be honest.

B— came to me this afternoon and asked, “Do dads sometimes break moms’ hearts?”

I was struck and asked him why. 

He said, “Because I hear you crying when you are with dad and I think he is breaking your heart. If dads do break moms’ hearts does that still mean that they love each other?”

I told him not to worry, that he is loved and all will be well.

For a year and a half, perhaps even before that, we have found ourselves in a cadence that some would call the cycle of abuse. I acknowledge that neither of us is without fault in participating in and escalating this cycle. Bishop Clark has advised me that rather than counseling he feels we need the Atonement. As I’ve thought long and hard about what that might entail I have realized that the gift offered us is not simply a request that we forgive and move on. Forgiveness does not equal reconciliation. Without active repentance and change happening on either side the cycle will continue. At present we are in the lull of that cycle, exchanging patience and pleasantries while tension builds before the next eruption. I bring these thoughts to you now to try and dispel that tension and hopefully address the issues before the next cataclysm.

It is no secret that I am struggling. Emotionally and physically I can’t take much more relationship stress. My ability to allow myself to trust in you to treat me well and to protect me will not return even when I ask it to. Whenever we are together I am in fear that the state of affairs is only seconds from crumbling. I am ever on my guard and the tension is taking a toll. 

I am certain your own wellbeing is suffering too.

Presently, I feel trapped in the situation. I do not see how to make the marriage better, and I wonder if walking away would indeed be the best option for all those involved. I do not feel safe expressing myself when we are together, and I do not feel you take my concerns, thoughts, feelings on problematic topics seriously. Our expectations of one another seem ever in conflict, even when we exert our best efforts conditions deteriorate, and our children are on the sidelines witnessing the downward spiral.

I have wondered many times since if we made the right decision to marry. That question is neither here nor there as we made the choice and must now answer the consequences. 

I had hoped initially for an equal, a confidante, a companion, a fellow parent, a partner in faith. I rarely feel that I am viewed as any of those things. I feel, instead, that you view me as a child and forget the strength, wisdom, and vitality that I offered you at the beginning of our union. 

As you said once, you felt you had a lot to offer the right woman. I felt the same of the right man. Anymore, I feel I have nothing of worth to give you beyond my presence at your arm in public to complete the appearance that you have your life in order, and then occasionally when you decide you want company every other weekend. Granted, I believe I have expected you to be there for me as a friend and companion far more than is sometimes reasonable or right. And perhaps I should take off my rose-colored spectacles and re-explore my life without you by my side more often. Though if I return to not needing or wanting you around, what was the point in marrying in the first place? I wonder at the words of the apostles who say that marriage can be the most fulfilling and satisfying relationship a man and woman can have on this earth. I don’t know that I will ever know what that is like as our expectations clash.

And then there is the trouble of allowing myself to be sexually, emotionally and spiritually close to you. Frankly, I no longer want it. Not from lack of love, but that the resulting desire to bear you a child is far too painful and confusing in its loneliness. I have studied, prayed, and fasted long for help, but even in the calm the Lord imparts all I am met with are stark, constant reminders that this is my role and purpose within this marriage, regardless of whether you want it or feel you need me for it. I could share scripture and prophetic counsel and point to indications that you would choose not follow, but I will spare myself further pain. The Lord has guided me to ask you again and again. I see the Lord giving you signs as well that you refuse to acknowledge. I see faith that you are unwilling to grow. I see the blessings of Abraham open and unaccepted before us. I see the restoration of Job offered to you, and I am, truly, heartbroken that you will not partake. 

Aside from the unborn, I have children who need a father, the linking ordinances of the gospel, a spiritual guide, and a priesthood leader. I do not believe it is a coincidence that when you prayed for a woman to be dropped in your lap bearing all the gifts and attributes that you requested, that she came to you physically and mentally strong, of childbearing age, with children already present who were in need of your guidance through the second veil.

Where much is given, much is required.

I cannot make this marriage or this family blending work on my own. At present it is you and your children, and me and my children, and no sense of unity even in our marriage. The lot of us are no more than roommates. I need you to join with me and actively help lead in the scripture study, family prayer, FHE, observance of the Sabbath, and peace that existed in my home before I met you. I need us to pray as a couple. I need us to study the scriptures together. I need what I believed you had offered in asking my hand in marriage. I had believed we would create our own house of the Lord.

I have hoped since day one for the healing you spoke of in your letter to the First Presidency when requesting permission to be sealed to me. I hope now for that hope to return, but I am left without recourse. I need your help to know what you want to do. I already suppose that you are either fine with the present situation as often happens, and that you believe these words harsh and ungrateful, or that you too are unfulfilled and need to be able to express your concerns and desires for our marriage. 

It does us no good not to wash out this wound, air these problems and actively work to create a plan together to correct them. There is no forgive, let go and move on without joint repentance. 

Please. Think on it.
Please, don’t be angry.
Please. Try to understand.

I found a cavity in my molar this morning. It sent him into a rant about my brushing habits. That I brush before I eat. And sometimes I do, but not every day, and never the only time that day. He scolded me like I was a child until I had crumpled and broken. I said I would take my son to school and he flew into a rage. In the door, out again, repeatedly, mocking my fear with mimicry and more taunting.

"I'm not leaving until this is fixed."

My boy was confused and afraid. I knelt over him to protect him from the yelling. Finally my husband left. I drove B— to school.

"Are you going to get remarried?" he asked.

I emailed my bishop via FB as soon as I returned home because my husband won't give me the bishop's private email unless I tell him why I'm emailing. It's only been a week and one day since my husband's last verbal and emotional tirade.

My mistake was that after I wrote the letter I softened and curled up next to him in bed. I know not to leave myself exposed like that. I know.

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