Hurry Hurry Hurry….Quick Quick Quick

Why are we always in such a hurry to fix things?

There are a lot of people who want me to ‘fix’ my marriage. And they want to see it happen quickly. Imagine… if I don’t … for some reason it seems it would be ok for my husband to find someone else because ‘he has needs’. Excuuuse me?!

But no. I won’t fix my marriage fast. I may not fix it at all. After 25 years, there are a lot of issues. If by chance we do get back together, we probably have 25-30 years left together. So what’s the hurry? If it takes us 1-2 years to work through things does it matter? If we do it and do it well, isn’t it better than rushing it and ending up in the same place with the same bad habits, the same perceptions, the same ‘us’? Isn’t it kinder to give ourselves room to grow? Isn’t it kinder to really think things through and see where life takes us rather than pushing on because we ‘should’ be together? Because honestly – maybe we shouldn’t!

Hubby had a ‘come to Jesus’ moment and it seemed as though maybe we should and could work it out. Within a matter of days and weeks we were set to get back together and build a house and sail off into the sunset on our jet skis. The dream was dreamt, the fantasy was set. All we had to do was have the borders open, our current houses sell and off we would go. 3-6 months. All this year would be done and dusted and we could start afresh.

Except we can’t.

WE are still the same people. And part of that same is the ability to get caught up in a dream, forgetting everything else until the dream isn’t the fantasy we expected and life becomes harder because we went off on a wing and a prayer.

So with nothing changed except the ‘come to Jesus’ moment… really nothing changes. What drove me away before will do so again. Talk of work work work, running a business, feeling invisible, always being put second or third or fourth, feeling let down, caring but not truly loving him, physical contact still making me feel like cringing, my marriage not being a place of safety, strength and rest, not feeling respected. You see, I’m still wavering. My mind tells me I ‘should’ be there. I would make him happy, my kids happy, other people happy…. but I know deep down my heart does not want it. I want the dream… who wouldn’t, but I don’t want it with him. How very sad. How very lonely. I don’t hate him at all. I want the best for him and I can’t give him the best.

It’s easy to go back. So much is familiar. So much is comfortable even in it’s uncomfortableness. But don’t we both deserve better?

This is an excerpt from a text a dear friend sent me last week…

You see…. he wants what is best for me. He knows I deserve to be respected, to be special. He knows I deserve to be loved. He knows me enough to know how hard it is for me to let my guard down. He knows I shouldn’t settle for anything less than the best. He knows me so personally – in fact even from 3000 miles away he knows my faults, my weaknesses, and how I should be treated. Sometimes I forget what I deserve. I’m not yet ready to look for anyone else, but you can bet if that time comes I will remind myself of what I need to do.

Right now I waver back and forth. I don’t know what I want with my husband. But you know what? I’m ok with that. People think we need to fix things ‘now’, but we don’t. Sometimes we need to sit in the process. We need to take time. We need counselling. We need self development. We need space. We need freedom. We need wonder and grace to do life our way. Sometimes we need to lose ourselves in order to find ourselves.

If that means my husband has to wait… then he has a choice. He can love me in the waiting or he can go look for a bit of skirt somewhere else. I have needs to, but they are secondary to the rest of it. If I’m not worth the wait, then I never was worth enough to him. But if we can both self examine, both seek counsel and forgiveness, if we both continue to confront our own issues, then maybe there is a way. Or maybe there isn’t. But I’ll be damned if I will ever be hurried into something to keep other people happy.

I deserve the greatest love from and for myself. I deserve to be given the time and space I need.

So let’s stop the hurry. Let’s stop trying to fix. Let’s embrace the process. Let’s slow down. Take time. Be kind to ourselves. Be kind to each other. Allow ourselves to grow. Release the tears. Find out who we really are. Confront our fears. Work on our failings. Listen to the birds. Enjoy the coffee. Lie on the grass and stare at the sky. Let’s stop the hurry because we will be better for it. Let’s embrace the journey and take the time we need to heal instead of putting a band aid on an amputated limb and hoping it works.

Maybe you agree. Maybe you don’t. Would love to see your thoughts on this 🙂

When I do became I don’t…

(Note: This was written from 35,000 feet back in March this year. Still relevant although much has also changed.)

I’m sitting here in the shadow of leaving my husband and I’m asking myself … when did ‘I do’ become ‘I don’t’? What was the catalyst for the change? What happened to make me suddenly say no more?

Was there abuse? Not recently. (Edit – But actually there was, and I wasn’t noticing anymore 😕)

Were there arguments? Nothing unusual.

Was there infidelity? Not for years.

So why? Why would a 47 year old woman decide to leave her husband of 25 years?

We have been through a lot over the years. We survived early affairs, we survived 5 children, we battled through a change of country, we fought on during times of conflict, we rectified a lot of abusive behaviours. I became stronger, he became stronger. We managed with little money, we went through teaching kids to drive, we bought and built houses, we even taught others about marriage and how to make it work. So none of this makes sense now does it? No. It really doesn’t.

Some days I think I am just freaked out, but I know it’s bigger than that. I always wanted us, wanted us to work, wanted us to be together for our children, for their weddings, for Christmases, for grandchildren.

I worked hard at keeping our marriage together. I remember going through a time of discontent and changing my attitude, choosing the good, looking for only what I could be thankful for. That changed us for a long time. We decided we were a team. We were together in this thing called marriage, called life. We continued on happy enough, always pressing towards more. We worked hard and worked some more trying to get businesses off the ground, and trying to make a life we were comfortable with.

So what changed? Thinking about it…. It wasn’t just one thing, it was a realisation of many things. I had lost my dreams, I felt unloved, my opinions were discounted, the sacrifices were too much, my life had become this web of half truths and inauthentic actions that gave up all I had to satisfy the other, and while I slowly performed on the outside, I died on the inside.

Last year someone mentioned to me that I always seemed to make all the sacrifices. I’m a Mum right, so it’s often just the way of it. But… I’m also a person. I’m also a wife. I’m also a worker. I’m also someone with feelings and emotions. I realised that although I’m happy to make sacrifices, I’m only giving, and giving and giving some more with very little in return.

My dreams are not his dreams. I never dream of money, and boats, and expensive houses. I’m not willing to sacrifice for things that are only things. I’m willing to sacrifice for love… for purpose, for family, for people.

I’m no longer willing to sacrifice ‘me’. For the past 5 years I have worked full time, done our business accounts and things at nights and weekends, worried about the children, taught kids to drive, moved house even though the idea to renovate didn’t excite me. I’ve put up without being touched unless sex was wanted, with being the shopper, the cleaner, the washing lady, the banker, the financier, the coordinator of family events and get togethers, the voice of reason, the one who recently gave up her job for ‘us’ and the one on the receiving end of bad moods and sulks and limited help.

I’ve literally done it all. And I’m tired. My stomach is always tied up in knots, my heart is weary, my love tank is dry and my bank account no better. There is always promises. Promises of a more settled life. Promises of more money. Promises of a new start if I move states. Promises of ‘us’. But it’s all words…. and the words are as empty as my heart feels.

My son recently suggested I give it one more try. We get counselling, we go to church, we give it a final go. It sounded good in theory, but how can you do that when you are dead inside? When you had hoped and dreamed a marriage would be built on Gods design, yet are left disappointed time after time. When your existence seems so futile inside the marriage that you no longer have hope.

Perhaps that is the word… perhaps that is the reason… the loss of hope. The loss of believing in promises, the loss of believing in ever loving him as he should be loved. The loss of trusting myself, and trusting him. The loss of knowing that we will ever get ‘there’, because his personality is to always chase more. When hope dies, your dream is gone, the light has gone out.

I know you are thinking – why don’t I ask he gives up his dreams for me? He would. I know he would. For a time. But after that they would plague him again. He doesn’t settle for simple. It’s not in his DNA. And that’s ok. That is who he is made to be. He has great ideas and chases them. He works hard. He follows his passions and his dreams and I love that for him. I won’t hold him back from them…. because they will always be there. Instead I will release them to him. He will get his dreams because that is who he is…. and I will cheer him on from afar.

It makes me cry to think of us breaking up because I know it brings hurt…. to him… to my kids… to our friends. I’m not blaming him… it takes two to make a marriage and two to neglect it. Two to let it die, and two to revive it.

Somewhere in our marriage I lost my voice. I stopped dreaming for myself. I stopped asking for what I needed. Perhaps I should have fought harder. Perhaps I should have yelled more, cried more, talked more. Perhaps I should have stood up for me more. Perhaps I should have taken a break more often.

The realisation that this is over has been extremely hard. To be honest it was probably before Christmas I realised. Christmas was bittersweet knowing it would be our last as a family. Our holiday to ‘celebrate’ 25 years of marriage, marred because I was so unhappy. Our first child’s wedding with a sense of sadness knowing this is the only one we would be together for. And the last month, knowing deep in my heart and soul that I can’t go back. I can’t try again. That I no longer want to try. I don’t have the capacity to try.

It’s very scary. Knowing I have to be prepared to be alone for the rest of my life. Knowing my future holds no promises. Knowing there will loss of dreams, of family, of finances. The guilt weighs on me every day. The idea I ‘could’ or I ‘should’…. yet knowing I can’t. Not this time. Not anymore.

Will I have regrets? I’m sure there will be some. Will I wonder if this time it might have worked? Perhaps. But I wouldn’t be being true to myself if I stay. I wouldn’t give it an honest try because my heart is empty and my hope is gone. I wish it could be different, but wishing doesn’t change anything. Wishing doesn’t change patterns, doesn’t change behaviours (mine and his). Wishing doesn’t wipe out hurts, or stop more from happening, it doesn’t make it right and it certainly doesn’t make it happy. Wishing is just that – a longing, a dream, a hope…. but when hope is gone, there is only silence.

So when did ‘I do’ become ‘I don’t’? It was when hope died.

Healing

Healing can be a painful process. Sometimes you cut deep. Sometimes you are surprised by the truth you find when you search for it.

Healing means being brave enough to feel the emotions and strong enough to allow yourself time to process them. Healing doesn’t happen overnight. It is a journey. It’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to be honest with yourself. It’s ok to grieve, to cry, to be angry. It’s ok to feel defeated.

You only have to put one step in front of another. Take one moment at a time. Show yourself tenderness. Be kind to your soul. Keep walking. Trust God even when you can’t.

One day you will think you have healed, another day you won’t be able to see past your puffy eyes. But… healing will come and you will be changed…. a little lighter, a little more compassionate, a little more raw, open and kinder.

Embrace the season through your pain because your journey becomes your story.

Dear Christian Friend…

I value you, or I wouldn’t have shared my story with you. I love you because of your beautiful heart and love for God. I treasure you because you make me feel known by you. Or you did. Until now. Until I told you I left my husband.

I shared my story, I poured out my heart and you said you would pray for us. I knew you would, but please don’t pray for reconciliation. There will be none. My only prayer is this does not happen. I am scared of being forced back into a marriage of loneliness, control and where my soul dies every day.

I thought you knew me, but I find myself wondering. You send me words and yes I hear your beautiful heart for Gods best – but don’t you think that is what I have searched for? What I have strived for? The reason I have put so much energy and so many years into this marriage?

Do you think I have left him on a whim? Do you think I haven’t spent 25 years hoping God would truly be the foundation of our marriage? Do you think I haven’t used up 100% of my emotional, mental and spiritual energy?

Friend – I am exhausted. I have been bullied, disrespected, unloved, and made to feel invisible. I am giving by nature. Do you not think I have given all I have and more to this?

Dear Christian Friend – when you say you pray we get back together I hear you saying it’s ok for me to be treated badly. You are saying it’s ok for my health to suffer. You are saying it’s ok for me to be unloved. When you say God wants us back together, I hear it’s ok for me not to matter, and it’s ok to live a lie.

Why is that? Is it because if we stayed married it makes you feel better? Do you think it will make God love us more? Or does he love me less now? Does it make us better people because we ‘hung in there’. Do you believe that God can restore me as an individual or will I forever be a let down because I will be divorced?

I know you mean well, but dear friend, please do not heap more shame, guilt and failure upon me. I have put enough on myself. I do not need your judgements or your ‘Godly’ advice because my heart is broken that God was only talk and not action for the past 25 years in my marriage. Do you not think I want to honour God too? Why does it appear to bring more honour to God by living a lie, than it does by being honest?

Dear Christian Friend, I can acknowledge my own failings. I acknowledge I am not perfect and I have messed up more times than I can count. But right now, I stand in front of you a shell of the person God created me to be. I stand in front of you tired and worn down. I stand here without hope. I stand here needing your loving kindness, not your ideals.

So dear friend – please change your language. Please try a different way to communicate with me. Maybe say:

‘I know if must have taken a lot for you to get to this point. I am sure it has taken massive amounts of courage for you to make this call. My heart breaks for you. How can I be of most help to you? How can I pray for you?’

My friend, I love you. And right now I am sensitive and vulnerable. I need your support. I need you to show me that God still looks at me tenderly. I need your prayers. More than ever I need you to pray for healing and gentleness for me, my husband and my children.

My Dear Christian Friend…. I have been you. I know you mean well. But you are hurting me. You may not be able to walk a mile in my shoes, but please, please open your arms with gentleness and love. Please love with tenderness and compassion.

Your reaction is more important than you know.

Love me,

Your friend who is separated and searching for God in the shipwreck. ❤️