Sunday, December 30, 2012

"Vision"





The path that leads us there will be different for each of us...

I have two step-daughters-in-law; one devout LDS, the other a non-denominational Christian member of the Rock Church. They reflect the spiritual choices of their husbands, and I've watched over the last two and a half years as their interactions have paralleled and clashed surrounding those beliefs.

Today, Priesthood and Relief Society combined to discuss the new LDS Church curriculum for Youth. The meeting began by watching this video.

One thing that I love about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that we are lead by a living prophet. Even in the Bible, we watch the leaders of Israel adjust to changes, not in the basic principles of the gospel, but in culture and practice. It happens now. The gospel doesn't change, but approach is being honed to meet the needs of the sheep.

I'm thrilled about the new curriculum. I see it as a positive resource to extend love and guidance to my family, both within the walls of my home and to those who've winged their way from the nest.

While my husband is in the North Country I am taking over his supportive role to my step kids. On Thursday, W—, my non-denominational Christian step-daughter expressed her frustrations at being viewed by other members of our family as unworthy, or less valid an individual because her choices do not match those of my more devout step-children. She and my step-son feel judged by family every which way they turn. I looked her in the eye and told her, "W—, that's not the Jesus Christ I know. We are each on our own path to know Him. You're doing your best. You're doing okay."

I wonder if more of our wayward youth had felt loved in their Church experience, rather than weighed down by preaching what the difference in retention would be. W— and my step-son need love and acceptance, more than they need doctrine right now. That's all they've ever needed. So after I came across this Beautiful Eulogy video last night I quickly emailed W— a link. This is easily my favorite song of the year (sometimes the best things wait it out till the very end to appear), and one that I felt would speak volumes to a Child of God who goes to the Rock Church. My other step-son and his wife would probably not approve. I think that's their loss. But they came to Christ by another path. Who am I to judge?


Saturday, December 29, 2012

To much time with Jack

Shutter. Clique. Girl.


The setting was lunch at one of my favorite trendy spots on Center. The question was: What do you want to do when you grow up? 

She stalled, lost in the interior landscape of whirly gigs, Eastern influenced art, and mechanical sculptures.

"I like building things. I don't know."

That was a new one to me. Sometimes she has truly blonde moments. So I pressed, "What kind of things?"

She shrugged, I smiled and left it alone. She does better with light, surface chat.

I have two daughters, and while both beautiful, talented young women, they couldn't be more different. Each of them feeds me in different ways, so I find the most satisfaction in their company separately, one-on-one. Today was L—'s turn.

I woke this morning, pushed away the emotional struggle that had me up most of the night, prayed for a good half hour, and then meditated on whom in the world I could best be a light to today. The Spirit said, Call L— and ask her if she wants to spend some time with you, since it's usually the other way around.

L— is in the midst of puberty. She and the rest of the fam have been caught in her non-stop PMS for the last six months, at least. I'm praying her cycle starts soon to give her some relief. The moodiness is wearing everyone out; her the most. All of my kids need attention and help dealing with life and the current situation, but this clear prompting was welcome. I've been at a loss lately how to best fill L—'s bucket.

The phone rang and my ex answered in a groggy it's-10 a.m.-I-just-woke-up-and-why-are-you-calling-me voice. L—'s voice wasn't much different once her dad had retrieved her. I posed the question and her reply was immediately alert and eager. We agreed on noon for lunch and then maybe a stroll in the mall.

Where M— loves trying new, exotic dishes, L— is a suspicious eater. One of the reasons I love the joint we visited is that they offer both simple quesadillas for younger palettes and a hearty Mulligatawny soup for more complex taste buds. We tied the meal together with a shared side of sweet potato fries.

I threw out the option of the art museum in Gallery Land to the south, but L— really isn't a gallery child. While the mall had only been a passing idea, she jumped at it. We decided to play dress-up at JCP, because L— is girly and a little wild and (totally unlike her mother) 100% comfortable in front of a camera:




I dropped her off at her dad's after five hours of play. 

As if it weren't already part of me, it sunk in deeper today that I am mother, living the dream not just because I have given birth, but because I get the wondrous privilege of truly enjoying the four fascinating people whose bodies originated inside my own. That fact brings me more joy, more sense of rightness than anything else in my life.

A dear friend and fellow mother once sent me the most comforting words ever written: "The world deserves more children who have you for  their mother." 

I spent fifteen minutes kissing, hugging and giggling with all four of them before I returned to life in solitary. L— texted me a short time later...

"Mom, this [afternoon] when you asked me what I wanted to be I totally spaced out. I want to be a photographer! :) love u"

I think she's got a good shot. She's pretty comfortable behind the lens as well.


Beautiful to my son

E— and I dined at Zupas for his evening birthday date, where he brought me up to speed with his latest pipe dream of adding skateboarding to his repertoire of skills. As we headed back across town he began texting friends for advice on where to find the best boards. Before they could answer I pulled into the parking lot of Happy Valley Boards. E— was hesitant, but I told him it never hurt to just look at what was available. I walked in, smiled at the guys behind the counter, and asked about outfitting for a novice.

We were guided step-by-step through 100% Canadian Pine decks, trucks, wheels, bearings and spacers. I could see the look of utter dismay spreading across E—'s face as his board was pieced together to his specification. It read: Seriously? Mom is just walking into a skate shop and setting me up, no questions asked?

Confession. I was delirious with delight. The eternal rebel in me came charging through all sense of budgetary caution and I probably overspent on this gift. But I'd been waiting fifteen years for E— to start skating, because I knew it was something he was going to love before he was born. Knew it. I'd even tried to steer him that direction previously, but, like his mother, it had to be his idea. Not someone else's.

We walked out with a beautiful T-Puds Plan B on Independent trucks, wheels, bearings and spacers. It was then that the reason for his hesitation came to light. "See, Mom!" E— said. "Those guys are totally nice. There's no need to judge."

"E—," I said. "I dated those guys in high school. I know they're nice. I was never judging."

"Those guys? Those very guys?" 

"Skaters," I corrected, but he was on a roll and we were laughing. 

"I bet they're thinking, "Man, she looked better in high school." Just kidding, Mom. You are beautiful!"

And so I am.

How a girl sees herself

Ms. M—

How she sees me.


Friday, December 28, 2012

July 9, 2011...

is the day my marriage died. I know because I went looking today for the email that ended it:

My precious Sweetheart,

I already know your response to this letter, which is perhaps why I have chosen to write it rather than discuss the matter face-to-face.

Amid all this discussion of the future and Jerusalem, and what it is we are meant to do together I have begun to experience a deep longing to bear you a child.

I tell myself it is a silly wish, selfish. I know the difficulties involved. I had assured myself that I will have grandchildren to fill the desire. I have asked the Lord to remove it from my heart. But still the thoughts will not leave me.

I understand your position clearly, and I will respect your feelings and wishes. But by the slim possibility that you should ever change your mind please know that it would be a great honor and a blessing to be the mother of one of your children and would bring me the deepest fulfillment.

All my love,
G

It was meant to be a love letter. It was a love letter. It is still. 

But he constantly reminds me how much this damaged him, how I hurt him with this email, how I betrayed him and destroyed his trust. He tells me that in the end I am to blame. I had to find my original words to assure myself that I'd spoken only with love and kindness, and that I hadn't somehow warranted his complete withdrawal, coldness, and the year and a half since of measured distance and angry abuse.

He is working now to control his anger towards me, but he still holds this over my head. It's like he's trying to get back at me.

He would never admit to that, and I don't know how do deal with his continued insistence that in expressing such a tender, righteous desire that I somehow abused him.

This is proving to be a difficult day.

Emily Jane White kind of day




I'm perplexed by grief and options that are mine:

Improve a marriage that feels empty and lacking in future when it is "good".
Leave a marriage that feels empty when it is "good".
Live in pain with the man who once brought unimaginable happiness.
Live in pain without the man who once brought unimaginable happiness.
Wait for God to perform miracles that aren't certain will ever occur, to fight those battles that rage endlessly in body and mind.

God hasn't said to return. I'm not certain why I'm sitting in his house again, even if he's once more in the North Country without me.

He texted this morning and I told him to leave me alone. I'm certain it hurt him. I wouldn't have said as much if I weren't hurting. There is no justification for my cruelty in any of that.

It is my first-born son's fifteenth birthday.

I'm remembering being that close to God, breathing through four hours of Earth-bending work, the joy of pushing back the veil through the last five minutes of contractions, and meeting the piercing gaze of the infant placed in my arms.


I'm remembering the months I carried him, first receiving my endowment, my belly covered in temple robes, and the quiet promise I'd whisper to him in the Celestial Room that I would bring him back someday. He's done baptisms for the dead with the young men in our ward, but the two of us have never been together. Some of that has to do with choices I have made. Most of it. I feel I have failed him.

My husband says how cruel it is that I revere the men who have given me motherhood. And it's true, I do hold them high. Even the one who abandoned me with my youngest in my belly.

I think it is cruel that my husband denies that motherhood is anything I should expect from him. Cruel that I'm expected to be happy with the promise that he'll give me all the babes I want in the next life. Cruel that he says he doesn't need me for children because he already had her. Cruel that I'm supposed to be happy just being present somewhere in his house, because feeling that he's not alone is what makes him happy. Cruel that he clings to the assertion that 49 is old and that he doesn't want to be parenting when he is 70, though he has five children from her who will still need parenting in some form or other until and beyond then. Cruel that he insists God must tell him to procreate because he doesn't know that he'll be able to provide till he's 70, though I will still be his wife and in need of that providence. Cruel because I have the insurance that he says isn't available. Cruel because so little of what he claims must be in place is needed to raise a child well. Cruel that he expects me to live alongside this ravaging dream and all its ghosts without answer to convenience him. Cruel because there is nothing better he has planned for the next 18 years.

There's always a cop out. God whispered once, "He doesn't love you enough."

I am twisted with joy and pain. December is going to be a dagger for the rest of my life.

Two years ago, when my husband's first granddaughter was born on Christmas day and this all woke up inside of me, when he told me that if I needed to bear his child to make me happy that he would let me go, when I first began to die inside—I tell myself I should have left then. Though I don't know if I could have found the strength, because I can't now.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mapping out life

I've had a thought.

As I've registered for classes to complete my BS in English it's interesting what has been available to me, and I get the sense that there is divine hand in what may seem like a limited number of options.

I've registered for a Philosophy class in Ethics and Values, a physical science class Life in the Universe, Intermediate Poetry, Fitness for Life, and Literature by Women. You may not recognize it as I do, but it is a semester in affirming femininity, which is what I need.

I need empowerment.

I need to define and acknowledge the feminine and her capabilities for myself. I've felt the drive to do this for many months now.

I need to claim the right to owning my own beliefs and spiritual revelations regarding my strengths and my purpose.


On top of all of this, I've finally picked up a copy of The Gift of Giving Life. Until this point I've only read excerpts on the website, which have been enlightening; but now, to heft the book in my hands, to turn its pages and read at will what the Spirit brings to me, it is stirring something more in my heart.

I have five semesters left to finish my degree. The question I get from family, "What are you going to do with it?" Well, the same thing I've been doing without it. Writing. Emoting. Giving word to the state of existence as I know it, however those words might manifest. 

So what then?

I can't say this is carved in stone, but ever since I birthed L— at home I've had deep interest in assisting in natural birth settings. There is a midwifery school an hour away that offers distance training for MS degrees.

It's just a thought.

Things I know and need to pass along

To any women, or men, who might bump into this blog:

Jesus Christ, will be your very best friend if you let him. And, like the most fiercely loyal brother you have, or can imagine in the flesh, he's got your back. If you steer the course, he will fight your battles for you. I'm going to let that be my focus for the coming year.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Trip

It's my turn in the North Country. 

We've been here in Zion for 48 hours, and already I've wondered what I was thinking, planning a trip as long as this one is slated to be, staying with my parents. I don't know that I've spent this many days back-to-back with them since I finally moved out for the last time in February of 1995. There is a reason. There are many reasons. 

But what I must stay is that even though there are still moments that I can't believe I'm subjecting myself to all this time with mum n' step-dad, my mother is finally trying to take responsibility for years and years of parenting mistakes that until about six months ago were a festering wound that I didn't think would ever mend. My mother is proof that people can change. That transformation is slow, but it is happening. For the first time in my life I feel that my pains as a child, as an adolescent are being validated. I don't think she understands what a gift her efforts are to me. Every time she acknowledges a recognized wrong it empowers me with a sense of ability where for decades I fell incapable and largely rejected.

My children seem to be enjoying the visit, though E-- is bored out of his mind. They have been asking for more and more details from my childhood, and being here helps them to fill in holes in my history that I haven't felt safe revisiting.

Strangely enough, I miss my husband. More than I have since I first left him. I'm not certain what flipped the fondness switch; perhaps the distance makes it safe to love him more because I'm not bracing myself for the next time that he hurts me. Whatever the reason, I'm feeling restored love and desire to put our marriage back together. We'll see if it abides once I return to Happy Valley.

We head back Christmas Eve.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gauging change

I walked into L—'s Primary class where I was substituting today and found the students crowded around Claire Nielsen who bounced her chubby baby sister, Miss Lottie, on her lap. I'd already felt strongly prompted to just relax and enjoy what the kids had to teach me today, so I extended my arms, took this delightful little angel to my hip and opened a gospel dialogue with the five eleven-year-olds who were present.

I think the trick to teaching is to prepare and then let the Spirit guide. It never fails that relevant topics, doctrines and discussion play off of each other to instruct all participants. And frequently, those who teach learn the most.

My husband made it to church, but he sat in the foyer for Sacrament Meeting, excusing himself later by insisting that he wanted to wait for his son should he arrive. We never waited in the foyer for him before when my step-son was late or if he might not show. I think shame still has fast hold on my husband.

I'm still processing emotions in response to the first year and a half of our marriage, uncertain how they will resolve. I don't miss my husband. I am happy without him. Happy. Even as he's tried to keep in contact over the last two or three days I've found my interest waning. I feel some guilt, but I don't know how he's supposed to fit in my life anymore. Forward momentum begins to build steam as I prepare for school in three weeks, and he gets lost in the fog of non-issues, which is oddly where I felt I resided while we were together. He is frustrated, I know. But I don't know how to resolve it. I see my life with him as stagnant and offering little. Perhaps that will change if we go to counseling. Perhaps it won't.

When I see him, I feel that something deep inside me has changed. I don't feel the same way about him. It worries me some. Probably because I don't know if what I have left to work with is enough to sustain the work it takes to be married.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The bond

Like most parents across the United States, I am grieving for the families of the Newtown, CT shooting victims. I spent most of yesterday avoiding taking in too much information from the media, but by 10:30 p.m. when it was time to leave my children at my ex-husband's and drive south to my own apartment I knew enough that sleep didn't come easily.

Early this afternoon, after spending a good deal of time in tearful prayer on my knees for the peace and comfort of Newtown's families, I went to the temple, where I was prompted to serve proxy for sealings.

Once the ordinances were complete, our sealer lead us to the Celestial Room. I sat in the peace of that room studying marriage and the new and everlasting covenant in the scriptures, praying for further clarification of doctrine and guidance in my personal life, and waiting for inspiration.

And then the most beautiful piercing sound broke the silence: a baby wailing somewhere in those upper rooms, likely discontent in waiting for his or her presentation in one of the sealing rooms below us. 

I know it seems strange, but nothing could have been more comforting to me today.

My prayer is and has been that the Lord will allow the spirits of these lost children to dwell with their families to provide peace, love, and assurance of the eternal nature of their bond throughout the holiday season.

Tonight, I am with my own children. Their dad has traveled north to play band-boy for the weekend, and I am staying with them at his house, spoiled in that I am sleeping beneath the same roof as my angels this evening. These are blessings I hope no one else takes for granted.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Crazy ladies and the men who marry them

If I seem glib or flip it's because I just came out of DV group. I believe an hour and a half spent in a secluded setting with powerful women battling the odds in their lives would leave anyone in this state of giddy agitation.

We all come in with our varying degree of up or down, and by the end we've ranted, raged, cried, and laughed until our lives seem doable for another week. In today's case, three weeks, because of the impending holidays. I'm genuinely sad.

I can't share any stories or situations, but I can say that there is consensus: Abusive men use the stigma toward mental illness against their victims. And though I can see my husband making baby steps in progress, he has used, and I believe, may continue to use the same argument against me. We are all the crazy wives, ex-wives, ex-girlfriends. They are the helpless victims.

Tonight, a couple of the women in group acknowledged their struggles with mental illness. I nodded. I'm in the same boat. But what was said was powerful...

"Hell yes, I'm crazy. I've been hospitalized. I'm diagnosed. I'm on medication. But he's the dumb*** who married me. So who's the truly crazy one here?"

I told the woman who shared that I was stealing her words for future ammunition.

I met with my husband for lunch today. I hadn't seen him for nearly two weeks, and I can't say that I was really missing him much. I approached the meeting with a good degree of apprehension. Like I said, he's making progress, but in baby steps. When he asked me why I chose the lunch date over an evening dinner and movie I told him we needed to work back into contact in a microcosmic setting rather than swinging for home base. He agreed it was best. And it was, because even in that hour it was tense. I didn't feel like he was showing much interest in me and that the conversation was all about him. He confessed afterward that he didn't want to push for more than I was willing to offer. I can see how he's trying to be safe, but if I've been struggling for a year and a half of marriage feeling unwanted and under-appreciated I need him to show interest and to ask questions to help me even feel secure that my presence is desired so that I'm willing to share. My guard is up. And when I feel he isn't trying to understand or accept my responses I panic and begin to disassociate. 

There's a learning curve we're up against. We both see the problems, but implementing solutions is getting a rough start.

I must give him credit, however. Before I left he said, "You don't deserve to be yelled at. No one does. I know I have to work on that." He said that even if we don't end up deciding to stay together that I need to get better for me, and that he needs to get better for him. (He still insists on keeping a weights and measures of fair play, which frustrates me because I fail to see that my behaviors, even the abusive ones that are completely wrong and must not be repeated, did anywhere the damage that his have done to me.) Still no admittance that his yelling would qualify as abuse. No admittance that he has been wrong. But baby steps. 

I probably need a few days to recover before I'm ready for a second date. Maybe we'll make it a weekly gig.

I received my acceptance letter from University of Humble Pie.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Answer to prayer

Last night, before I finally went to bed, I offered prayer that:

1) If I was pregnant and it was meant to "stick" I would get a clear positive on a test.

2) If I was pregnant and it wasn't meant to "stick" that I'd get my period.

3) If I wasn't pregnant I'd get my period.

This morning two hours after a negative test Aunt Flo arrived. Sorry for TMI, but I've never been so happy to hang out with Auntie, ever.

My husband and I tried talking on the phone for 45 minutes last night. Because Facebook tells you how old posts are I know that he was active on social media during that call. I also know that it was obvious that he wasn't engaged in the conversation. This from the man who claims to love and miss me, and who can't live without me.

I called him on it. First he lied. Then he justified. Then he dismissed it as no big deal. Then he apologized that I felt badly even though to him it was no big deal. Then he told me if he wasn't apologizing well enough that he wasn't available to continue conversation.

Before I spoke to him yesterday I met with his counselor. She is agreeable. We visited for almost two hours as she gathered my background and concerns about the problems in my marriage. I shared what I felt were the biggest problems for an hour and a half before she stopped me and said, "So explain to me the issue of having more children."

To which I replied, "Oh. So that's what he's told you this is all about. It doesn't surprise me. That's what he blames for the end of his first marriage."

For the 341st time I launched into the explanation of the interconnection between the marriage being "good" and the in-suppressible desire to bear and raise a child with my husband. I repeat each time with extreme defensiveness because this is a precious issue to me, and so few try to really understand it. I've just about given up trying to explain and receive any validation in return. I'd prefer not sharing it at all anymore.

On departing she asked if I would be willing to meet with my husband. I couldn't have been more hesitant. Counseling with abusers is difficult. In my husband's case, he uses counseling in manipulation against me. I expressed those concerns and she said she would ponder and then let me know if she wanted to proceed.

I offered him dinner tonight. He turned me down. He knows it hurts me, because I told him so. He made excuses of a headache and not wanting a confrontation. I know he'll be on Facebook the moment he walks in the front door.

Some days I'm not certain why I even want to have hope that all of this is fixable.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Might

My husband hasn't been to church in three weeks. The first of those was because he was with his family in Idaho. The second because he said he was suffering from an ear infection. I haven't spoken to him in depth for over a week, so I don't have his reason for week three, but it is definitely suspect. I was leaving the neighborhood 10:30 p.m. Saturday after tucking my kiddos in bed and I pulled up behind him at a stop light as he was heading west. Not normal.

Ward members are catching on. My bishop instructed me to tell them, "We're having problems, but we're getting help to work through them." 

I have modified my response slightly to include, "One way or another, everything will be okay."

I believe that. But I'm not so naive to believe there isn't difficult growth between point (a) and point (b). One of my favorite scriptures of all time is 2 Nephi 2:11: 

For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.

Knowing true happiness is contingent on also knowing a great deal of misery and discomfort.

For instance, I'm having pregnancy symptoms. I've done this before and either miscarried very early or menstruated and nothing came of them. My husband is aware of my concerns, and because I know how anti-have-a-child-with-my-wife he is, when I had light spotting yesterday night I texted him to pass along the info that my period came. And then the spotting stopped. I'm three and a half days from when I should have a clear answer, but I'm a bit anxious that this may be implantation bleeding. It's what happened when I miscarried.

A small part of me wants to be pregnant for the sake of loving being in the midst of my higher calling. A larger part of me doesn't know how I would deal with it. I've even thought about giving up a child for adoption should one actually be on the way. I have two couples in my ward in mind.

I'm really looking forward to getting into school. A pregnancy, and the exhaustion that goes along with it, would not be conducive. And selfishly, I don't want to deal with a separation, school, taxiing between South Happy Town where I live and The Arboretum where my kids live to be a good mom, and pregnancy all at once. And I think it's at least somewhat fair that I feel that way.

The sealer who performed my marriage came up to me again in church yesterday and asked, "So are you happy now?"

I thought for a moment. Does he have any idea what is going on? Does he know that in the past week since the Lord told me not to go back to my husband that I've found peace and contentment in focusing on me and my kids? Does he realize that I'm in the same situation now that I was before he sealed me to my husband?

"Yes," I said. "I am happy." I answered him honestly.

"See. I told you happiness was a choice and not dependent on a situation."

Sacrament meeting was focused on 2 Nephi 2:25: 

Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. (Italics added.)

The purpose of our lives isn't guaranteed long term, and it doesn't come without leaving the safety of happiness for long enough to recognize that we have found it again once we are back nestled within it's brief, yet satisfying umbrella. And it only comes through obedience to the precepts of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Lately, I do the point (a) to point (b) dance at least two or three times a day.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Clear guidance

There is change. And then there is the appearance of change.

I've been passively threatened that if I don't return my husband will stop trying because he "knows himself." I have been told repeatedly that he can't be expected to put forth effort to show interest in me because the bishop told him to let me make the "first move." I have been told that he learned more at work from the principles of "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" than he has from the self-help chapters on abusive men. And when I reminded him that at one time the Lord warned him not to attempt to snuff out my desire to bear him  children, I was told that there is so much more to women than bearing children (to which I agree, except I do not believe there is anything higher or of more divine purpose), that my husband's grandchildren should suffice to fill that desire for me, and that the Lord has told him he isn't required to fill our covenant to multiply and replenish the earth. When confronting my husband with the information that he went into the Bishop's office pointing fingers and placing all blame on me, describing me as Bipolar, emotionally unstable, that he never knows to which wife he will wake, he flatly denied responsibility.

I left, cried, composed myself, and returned.

We laid down Sunday night with the intention of sleeping through the night at his house, but I woke at 2:30 a.m. in so much emotional distress from the suppressed conflict that all I could do was dress and go to my apartment.

I texted a brief explanation and the scripture D&C 132:63. I cried for the rest of the night and for large portions of the rest of the day, interspersed with long drawn out prayers and scripture study.

Tuesday morning I rose, knelt and asked for a contrite heart, a humbled spirit, and for the Lord to teach me what I needed to know. I then went to the temple.

I have received three spiritual warnings in my life. The first two I ignored to near calamitous events, all involving avoidance of relationships with men; the latter being my second husband. Tuesday's warning was by far the most powerfully unmistakeable and clear; more a commandment than direction that I MUST NOT return to my husband.

I received further clarification and guidance into our relationship, namely that nothing has changed of the Lord's acceptance of my righteousness desires, but that my husband does not love me enough. 

I left the temple still electrified and went directly to my Relief Society President's house for our weekly cooking club. She and I were the only two in her home that afternoon, which was perfect for what I needed to share with her. As we discussed the directive the reasons why became even more clear in my mind, as if the Spirit opened my brain and poured the information in, sometimes by means of mental clues, sometimes through deposit of whole recitation of scripture.

I have been an enabler. My error was in allowing the need for a man in my life to supersede the importance and sacredness of the righteous desires of my heart.

And sure as our relationship has been for two years, though I have repeatedly reiterated my needs, my feelings, and my beliefs to my husband, he continues to wear his impervious helmet to the reality of our marriage beyond what he allows himself to see and accept. Today, after four days of silence he began the guilt trips (because he still seems incapable of instigating any contact or concern unless it is accusatory):

"I am trying to cope with these feelings of abandonment again and the idea you have decided you can't be with me. Being that's how it is I will respect your decision and space."

I explained:

"Sunday was terrible for me. There were things said during our conversation that I didn't understand and I felt may have damaged my spirit. And so I went to the temple, contrite and asking to be humbled and taught what the Lord needed me to know. I was given commandment with unmistakable power and clarity that I MUST NOT return to you. When I went to ask how long I was prevented. An so my life is in His hands. My focus is on my children and my education. I do not know what the future holds, but I understand that there is agency in the balance that is not in my control and with which I am not meant to interfere. My prayers remain with you that you will undergo the growth and change necessary to by happy. This is not the decision to abandon you, but to obey the will of God. My hope is that the time will come that His will is that we will be together again, but now is not the time. I will arrange for my things to be removed from your home and will be in contact to arrange for that to happen. Be well. Remember that Christ's arms are always open."

He fired back two subsequent emails in rapid succession:

"So are we going forward with divorce procedures?"

"I'm not sure what was said that would damage your spirit but I suspect I will never know."

To which I answered, but not as quickly:

"No. Prolonged separation. That is what the bishop advised yesterday after I spoke to him about the matter."

"Like so many other aspects of our relationship that I have tried repeatedly to communicate with you, and that never seemed to be received, you are perhaps correct. I truly hope that as you get help and are able to heal and change that these things will become clear to you through the Spirit."

He is angry. I know it. And as I conferred with the After-Care specialist at the women's shelter, she assured me that his correspondence is oddly dramatic and manipulative. My mother has mentioned that my husband may possibly suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder. If such is the case, therapy may not be enough. He may never be able to see the world and his own situation rationally, nor mine with sympathy. In short, he may not be able to change.

I hope that is not the case, but this man cannot accept what he is told repeatedly as fact. It's as if his brain isn't wired to see the world clearly. There is something terribly, terribly wrong, and he desperately needs this help. I pray he sticks with it, but I won't be there to mommy him to make sure he is doing all he can to acquire the aid. I suspect he is engaging in the therapy merely as a means to prove that he is not in need of  change, but that I am, as he stated, bipolar, unstable, and unpredictable.

I am going through stages of relief and grief with this guidance. Life is hard. Very hard. But "the desire" has been completely lifted, I am able to walk away from my struggle to help him with no twinge of conscience, and as my bishop assured me, marriages can be worked on separately. I just know my husband doesn't see it that way...

Which is typically Borderline.