I haven't talked about this for a long time on the blog, so here goes.... marriage is hard work. Here endeth the lesson. Ok, so really, it's hard to talk about, but the Man and I have had a rough year or two. No divorce talk or anything that awful, but just having a hard time of it. I know people sometimes call that 'going through a rough patch,' but I really hate that expression. It implies that the circumstances are outside of us, when in reality most of us create our own issues within our marriages. I have bad habits, the Man has bad habits, we don't deal with our stuff in healthy ways, we take things out on each other.... all that normal marriage stuff that you let fester when you are busy raising kids and having lives that involve jobs and pets and gym memberships.
We had come to a point a year ago last summer that we knew we had to make some major changes, which is how we finally came to the decision to leave our old church. A year into life at the new church, we have somehow found ourselves still in an unhappy place in our married life. I'm not looking to air our dirty laundry (an overused expression that I do happen to like), but I think it's important to talk about how we're handling it.
We made an appointment with one of our pastors and met with him tonight for about 90 minutes. Hands down, this is the smartest thing that I think any couple can do when they are struggling. Pastor Cam was incredibly helpful & insightful, and gave us both a lot to think about. One of the issues we deal with is the spiritual leadership of our family. With the work schedule that the Man keeps, he is not at home for huge amounts of time, and when he is, he's exhausted and just wants to relax. I get that, and most of the time it didn't bother me. But with the onset of my season of depression last year, the burden of being a single mom 95% of the time became too much for me to carry any longer. I didn't handle that in a healthy way, and the Man in turn did not respond to me in a healthy way. I have all of the home responsibilities & chores, child rearing, homework, sports, music lessons, church activities, dealing with an ADHD child & all of the school services & meetings that go with that, doctors appointments, birthday parties...... the list is absolutely endless, and yet somehow I am also supposed to find time in there to be a helpmate & lover to my husband and a spiritual leader to our children. *SYSTEM OVERLOAD*
I want the Man to be the spiritual leader of our family. The Man wants to be the spiritual leader of our family. But neither of us have ever really thought of constructive ways to make that happen. Cam suggested that a mentor could show the Man how to do this, and asked if he had ever had one. The answer is no; he has a great relationship with my dad, but he really needs someone who isn't family to fill this need. Cam said he would be glad to help the Man find the right person for this, and I really felt a weight beginning to lift from me. I never wanted to be the nagging fishwife, but I didn't know how to motivate the Man to do what he needed to do. What a relief to realize that I don't have to, and that's not my job!
I am not Super Woman. I am not interested in being Super Woman. Unfortunately one of my major character defects is that I don't ask for help when I need it. My sponsor and I have addressed this in the past, and I've gotten a lot better at it. But it's a struggle for me. I dislike being codependent on any level, and I'm on my own here most of the time anyway, so why bother? It's hard not to sink into that crummy attitude, especially when you're depressed already. I'm on my third medication and I'm heading back to the doctor to switch yet again, as this one isn't working very well now.
The point is that I'm not giving up. I'm continuing to try, asking my doctor for help, asking our pastor for help, expressing my needs to my husband. I HATE doing these things but I do them because I have to. I don't have a choice, it's either ask for help, or continue to let my life crumble until I pick up a drink again. I'm not going to flush eight years of hard work down the drain, so I choose to fight for myself and for my marriage.
Kate told me that when I feel like I can't go on, God will go on for me, and that God will fight for my marriage. That has been a huge comfort to me, knowing that He has my back. I love and adore my husband, but marriage isn't easy, especially with a recipe like ours. I can't imagine how people live without the knowledge that He is on their side, and I'm glad that I don't have to.
I get an email every day from dictionary.com with a word of the day. Today's word was intrepid, and it means fearless, bold, brave, undaunted, courageous..... I may not feel like that lately, but my God will be those things for me until I do.