Monday, November 15, 2004

Thoughts, part 1

K's wanting to separate freed me up to think about a lot of things. I've come to realize that I'm a very different person now than I was when I was 25 (and believe me, it's an improvement). My wants and needs have changed, I've changed. Since he's said he wanted out, I've had the chance to talk to different people and meet a few of them. I've realized that there are guys out there who are stinkers and not worth my time, but I've also realized that there are interesting, intelligent men who find me interesting as well, men who *are* strong and who *do* know how to be responsible when need be. (This is greatly appealing to me - sometimes with K, it felt like I made every decision, even where we'd go eat out.) I am *tired* of being the one who's strong most of the time. I don't know if I could spend the rest of my life carrying K (and if I take him back, that's what I feel like I'd be doing) - for once, it would be nice to be with someone who, every so often, could carry me. Not that I wish I wasn't a strong woman - all of the women in my family are, and I'm glad. I'd hate to think I didn't have the fortitude to take care of myself, that I *had* to depend on someone else to take care of me. But I don't enjoy being placed in the position of feeling like someone who's old enough to take care of himself, or at least do a bit more for himself, is instead wanting to completely rely on me to do for him. And that's how my marriage was making me feel.

But then that gets me to thinking - I took a vow. I said for better or for worse. Is sucking it up just part of "worse"? But if it is, what if it never gets "better"? Does that vow mean *I* should just suck it up, put aside my personal happiness, and do whatever I can to keep the marriage together? I've posted a bit on a "coping with divorce/separation" mailing list, and people there have said, you aren't responsible for his well-being, you need to look after yourself and not worry about him, he'll either make it or he won't. Is that true? (This gets into what I'm currently discussing with my counselor, the concept of responsibility for someone/something thing vs. responsibility to someone/something. I'm struggling with it, that's for sure - I tend to feel responsible for way more than I should, to take things on myself that aren't my problem. No doubt, I'll have more thoughts on that later.) Does the marriage vow I took obligate me to put myself in a position where I feel like K's caretaker, even if the situation isn't a good one for me? Is there a good reason to break my vow, and if there is, is the fact that I'm not happy, that I'm tired of being the strong one, that my needs and wants have changed, a sufficient reason to do it? I don't know. I wish my mother were alive so I could ask her why in the world she stuck it out with my dad for 43 years, when it was pretty apparent to me that neither of them was particularly happy with the situation.


Anonymous said...

Hi there.

I found this to be a really interesting post, one that touches on topics that are germane to my own thoughts surrounding marriage. I'm not married myself, for a lot of reasons, but I may someday be so, and reading about the trials and successes of those who have been there is edifying for me.

You said that you grew up in a Southern Baptist household, and although you seem to indicate that you are distancing yourself from the orthodoxy of your upbringing, some of the concepts you talk about still seem to relate directly to marriage as understood in the Christian tradition: the breaking of vows, the nature of sacrifice in relationship et cetera). I don't know if this is directly helpful to you now, given your current self-defined status as a seeker, but the one condition under which Jesus said divorce is allowed is infidelity. Further, in scripture, sacrifice for one's partner, without keeping score, is the ideal, but just as women are admonished to love their husbands in a particular way, men are admonished to love and cherish their wives as Jesus did/does the church, such that he would *lay down his life* for her.

So, it seems to me, you did your part.

I wish you well. A tangental note: I hope that some day you come back to Jesus. Just because people/a denomination might have failed you, He is still Lord. Wander if you must--heaven knows I have--but don't neglect to come back to Him if you hear Him calling.

God bless you.

Lisa said...

Hi Anon,

Thanks for the thoughts! I think a lot of my thoughts re: marriage and the ending of mine have the flavor of the Christian tradition is because that is what I grew up in, and regardless of what my current religious beliefs may or may not be, the things I grew up with are still pretty ingrained. Even if I'm not actively in a church right now, I haven't tossed out that history.

Thanks for the well-wishes, and I'm glad you enjoyed my meanderings.