Posted on | May 12, 2011 | 50 Comments
Driving back from Columbia, I had an epiphany…. I was letting someone else run my life.
It shouldn’t have been surprising; I’d been doing it for awhile. When I was a kid, I just wanted to be everything my parents expected me to be. I wanted to be things they never even knew I thought they wanted me to be, like on student council, on the newspaper staff, in the top 10% of the class, and on the basketball team. I did things for so many other people that its a wonder I did anything at all for myself. And that continued well into my marriage.
I tried so hard.
I worked double and triple time to be the best wife I could be. I washed and folded the clothes. I cooked fancy dinners. I scrubbed the toilets and vaccummed the floors. I decorated for every holiday. I bought extravagant gifts for and tried to spoil my husband. I gave him everything I thought he ever wanted. If there was something about me he didn’t like, I changed it. If there was something about me he liked, I did it more, talked about it more, and in general made it a bigger part of me. I lost myself trying so hard to be what he wanted.
I tried so hard.
I thought, as a wife, my job was to support my husband constantly. If he made foolish decisions, I was still supposed to support him. If he did hurtful things, I was supposed to internalize those things and then release them, all fresh and new like butterflies of happiness, changed into something beautiful.
I tried so hard.
But here’s the thing… trying to make a marriage work only works if both people are interested in making it work and I think, from day one, my husband was not interested in making our marriage work.
I let my husband make me feel bad. I let him make me believe that there was something wrong with me. I let him make me believe that it was good and right and normal for a husband to stay up on the computer for hours after his wife went to bed, playing a game or surfing the internet. I believed him when he said he was a night owl; I didn’t think twice about the time he spent immersed in a world I wasn’t a part of. I believed him when he said he wasn’t talking to or flirting with other women. I believed him when he said I was the problem in our marriage. I believed him when he said that I needed to get help for my problems; I got help for my problems.
But my husband never recognized his own shortcomings.
There are reasons I should not be sad that our marriage is ending. There are the thoughts I hold onto and rub like prayer beads when the hurt is too big and the pain is too much. There are reasons that this is where we are; not because I am unworthy of him and not because he will find someone better than me. We are here because he could not see the forest for the trees. He could not see the light through his own overpowering darkness. He could not see what he had in me and his son because he was so busy trying to decide if there was something better out there.
There are things about our marriage that scarred my heart in ways that can not be expressed. I loved my husband from before the day I said “I Do” until the day he told me there was no hope for saving our life together. I would have rolled over and let him continue to beat me into submission, even in light of all I’ve learned about our lives together because I believed in the sanctity of marriage.
And for all of these reasons and so very many more, I need to remember that I am the person who can walk away from this with my head held high. I have made mistakes; this is not solely and 100% someone else’s fault. I am not a perfect wife, mother, or woman just as my husband was not a terrible, awful person. But the difference between us is that I never, ever, EVER went outside my marriage for anything. I loved my husband; I am not ashamed of that because that was my job… the job I happily took on as my own on October 13, 2007. I would have done anything in the world to make my husband happy up to and even past the day he told me that I was not what he wanted in his life.
The fact that he was unhappy in our marriage was the product of his own wrong doing. It is not my fault, no matter what the voices on my shoulder may whisper. The loss of me and the loss of his son are things that I fear (and hope) will haunt him for the rest of his life.
Because I know me. I know who I am deep down inside.
And I believe that I am awesome and worthy of someone who believes I am awesome, too. I believe that I am loving and worthy of being loved. I believe that I am a good wife and worthy of someone who believes that he can be a good husband.
I believe that I am better than this. I believe that I deserve better than this.
I believe that this is what they call healing. Slowly. Surely. Mending the pieces I tried to let him steal, tucking away the hurt and pain and putting on a fresh face to step back out into the sun.
I can do this.
I am strong enough.
I am good enough.
I deserve more and amazing and wonderful and so much better.
I know this will be a slow process. I know that it is going to take a lot of time before I can listen to Sara Evans “A Little Bit Stronger” without falling apart. I know that it is going to be a while before I can look at any man in the eye and not wonder if he’s staring at the empty finger on my left hand and wondering why I’m so damaged. I know it’s going to be a matter of just getting out of bed every day… for a really long time.
But I think I’m up for the challenge. I am tired of letting him take the best of me. He is not worth the best of me.
God’s honest truth?
He is not worthy of me, at all.