When I returned to New York it was much of the same. A once a week therapy session that was going nowhere fast, working as much as possible to get through the days, and praying constantly. Faithfully, I would attend our church every Sunday…alone. I had started speaking with my pastor’s wife who I knew would be a prayer warrior for my marriage. I had even started doing a bible study about being an excellent, Godly wife. If I was failing in this marriage, I wanted desperately for God to let me know, so I could change. I racked my brain for any possible step I could take to move this healing process along. I was miserable, but I didn’t even know it. I was so focused on the end game that I couldn’t see how this was tearing away at every part of me.
The weekend after I got back, my husband was headed out of town for a football game. He would return to his hometown and be surrounded by his family who would tell him how wonderful he was, and diminish any responsibility he had in the destruction of our marriage. Nobody thought to say, “You don’t get to come to this game. You stay at home and work on your marriage and start respecting your wife.” I don’t say this to be mean, I say this because it’s true and honest and shows how little support I was receiving when I needed it the most. Side note: When you marry a man, you marry his family as well. Anyone who tells you any different is dead wrong and has most likely never been married.
I was to stay in New York because one of my very best friends was having her bachelorette party. She had been in our wedding and we had been friends for years. She had moved to California, but had chosen to come back to New York and celebrate her bachelorette weekend in the city. I had not told her about my marriage problems. I didn’t want to spoil her wedding preparations with my husband drama. She had been so good to me during my wedding and I just wanted her to be happy and have an amazing time surrounded by her loving girlfriends. Several of the other girls attending knew my dirty marriage secret, but they had agreed not to talk about it for the weekend and just focus on the beautiful bride-to-be.
And it went well. I put on my “I’m OK” mask and we all had a lovely time. I counted myself lucky because she spent the night at my apartment, which meant plenty of time for some good old fashioned girl talk. She spoke about how excited she was to marry her fiance. How much she loved him, her dreams for their life together. The frustrations that come with planning a wedding; the joys, the drama, the over all excitement. I remembered that feeling. And my heart was truly happy for her…and my heart is still happy for her. Marriage can be a beautiful thing. It is meant to be beautiful. Seeing the love she had for her soon-to-be husband was a reminder of that for me.
And then she left and I didn’t have to pretend anymore. I could put away the mask. It was mid-October, so I started packing up our summer things and getting out the winter items. I cleaned the apartment. I went grocery shopping. I did what grown ups do. We keep moving. We do what has to be done. We do the day to day, mundane tasks that are required of us. We live in reality, we realize the choices we make have consequences, we hold ourselves accountable. We do what we say we are going to do. We don’t hide. We own who we are and we go from there. And sometimes we do it while we are miserable. And sometimes it’s inconvenient. And sometimes it hurts our pride. But that is what we do and that is what we are called to do.
The beauty of writing this blog two years after the fact is all the perspective I have gained. Why wasn’t I more appalled that my husband thought a football game was more important than taking that extra time for us? Why didn’t I question a family who didn’t insist their son own up to his mistakes? Why did I let my pain keep me from being more present for my friend? Why didn’t I see the joy in her eyes and wonder where it had gone in mine? Why was I content to live in this misery? Why didn’t I demand more for myself?
We are called to be more. We were created for more. God asks more from us. And no matter my surroundings, I can only be proud of myself if I am owning that “more.”
Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”