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."
"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.