Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Confession: I mess up too. Sometimes in big ways.

No, really. It's true.

Last winter, about a year ago, I messed up big. And I've debated whether or not to tell ya'll, but it's been eating at me for a while. I feel like it's something that needs to be said.

Background:I know this might be hard to comprehend, primarily because I never did disclose specifics of what FireMan did to kick off our marital issues, and also because I took a hiatus from this blog at that time, but I was in a really bad place. If you read my other blog though, you may have gathered that from some of my posts last December and January. What I've never told you though, is that it was really bad. Like I-looked-at-apartments bad. I honestly thought my marriage was over.

So, one day last December, I dropped FireGirl off and proceeded to drive to work. As I pulled into the parking lot, I lost it. I pulled into a parking spot and proceeded to sob uncontrollably.

Later that day, one of my co-workers (let's call him... Chandler) pulled me aside and asked if I were okay. Puzzled, I said I was fine. Then he told me that he had pulled into the spot next to me and saw me crying in my car, and he was worried about me. I told him I would be fine, thanked him for his concern, and we hugged it out.

Chandler continued to check on me over the next few weeks, nothing major, but just making sure I was okay. His job required him to travel weekly, so I would often get short emails while he was on the road. When he was in the office, we started visiting each other's desks.

He also parked next to me every. single. day.

Chandler was is younger, handsome, kind, intelligent, and (most importantly) seemed to genuinely care about me. At a time when I felt so alone, and it seemed like my husband hated me for some unknown reason, here was this person, this co-worker of all people, showing me more care and concern than my own husband. We became friends, but only saw or even communicated with each other at the office.

By February, Chandler & I were texting each on a regular basis. And yes, not always during office hours. Mostly evenings, sometimes for 2-3 hours at a stretch.

I started looking forward to "talking" to him. A little too much. I started getting butterflies in my stomach when my phone buzzed. And the night he ended the text calling me "hon", I knew I was in trouble.

I deleted him from my phone and unfriended him on Facebook.

That resulted in an interruption in our contact, but just because I deleted him... didn't mean he deleted me. I ignored his first few texts, but finally replied.

I felt bad. Technically, he hadn't done anything wrong. And I never told him why I cut off contact and unfriended him. I didn't want to address it.

So the texting began again.

In March, he was rotated to a different group. I literally have not seen him since.

Sometimes I wonder if that weren't a God-send for our marriage.

Because, truth be told, I wasn't very strong at that time. Not strong at all.

The texting continued for a couple of months after he rotated. And I eventually friended him on Facebook again.

Then I cut him off again. Didn't delete him, just didn't respond. That seemed to do it.

I don't remember the last time we texted each other. I still get the occasional (once a month or so) email at work from him. What do you say to the person who tells you that he was thinking of you earlier and you're awesome?

So... I messed up. I allowed myself to be drawn into this fantasy. It distracted me from the work I needed to do to save our marriage.

And sometimes I really do think his rotation was God's way of protecting me. At least maybe that was part of it.

I messed up. Royally.

I was admittedly weak at the time. And I acknowledge that at least I was strong enough to finally distance myself. But I should have never allowed myself to go there in the first place.


In a different look at this, I think everyone should take this as a cautionary tale, that if you don't tend to your spouse... there is someone else who will.

My weakness is my issue, but I do have to think that if my own husband were talking to me (he wasn't), complimenting me (instead of insulting me), choosing to spend his time communicating with me (ha!), and sending me messages that he was thinking of me and I'm awesome (pretty sure this has never happened)... would I have been so weak? so vulnerable? so open to this kind of attention? no matter what my mental state otherwise?

I really don't think so.

So perhaps, we share the blame. However, I can blame him for not tending to me, but I cannot blame him for my actions. My actions are my own.


And to answer the questions I would be wondering if I were you:

- yes, I told FireMan. Not sure he was listening at the time, because it was during the he's-ignoring-me-at-all-costs phase, but yes, I told him.

- no, Chandler & I never "did" anything. The farthest it got was him suggesting one night that he'd like to get drunk with me some time, and me telling him it sounded like fun. Some time never came. (
I know, I'm horrible, I get it, okay?)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

One Amazing Weekend

A few weeks ago FireMan & I attended a Weekend to Remember Marriage Getaway presented by FamilyLife.

I cannot say enough about the amazing experience we had at Weekend to Remember. While I was hopeful, we both were, I never expected such a change - in both of us - in only three days.

It truly is an astounding time. From the very first night.

I've thought and tried to write about this several times, and have given it short blurbs on Facebook and Twitter, but nothing I come up with seems to do it justice.

Ugh. Even now, my words fail me. I just don't know how to elaborate on the fact that God transformed our marriage.

So let me just say this: FireMan & I were so moved by our experience, that we separately (then together) felt compelled to become group coordinators for the event.

What does that mean? Well, the title "Group Coordinator" is really a mis-nomre. It simply means that we feel so strongly about the positive effect this ministry has on marriages, that we want to help others go. You don't have to go in an actual group, or even in the same location, at the same time, or even in the same year. But to help you go, if you sign up under our group, you will get a discount of approximately 50% off the registration fee for the conference.

And because I know someone out there is wondering: FamilyLife is a non-profit organization, and this is a 100% volunteer position. Our reward is helping others.

So... if you are interested in attending Weekend to Remember, be sure to join our group (FireFamily) to get your discount. It is well worth the investment, I promise you.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I'm a little nervous

We're going to a marriage conference thingy thiscoming weekend.

And although I'm really excited, I'm also a little nervous.

It's something I've been looking at for... oh... I don't know... probably over a year now.

And every time I'd look at this one, I'd tear up.

I don't even remember how I found it. I think it was recommended by someone on one of my message boards, but this much later, I don't exactly recall.

But I bookmarked the site. And about every 4 to 6 weeks or so I'd look at it. And find myself on the verge of crying. But I couldn't really tell you why.

Which I have always been told is a sign that "it's the one"

Kinda like wedding dresses. You don't get the prettiest one. You get the one that makes you cry.

But I'd look at it, and think about how FireMan would never go for it. Especially when I saw the cost of the registration fee. He'd never want to pay that much for something like that.

So I'd close the site.

Then a few weeks later I'd look at it again.

And so it went. For a year.

And I found a few other marriage conferences & retreats as well. But none that struck me like this one did. Certainly none that made me cry.

Repeatedly. And still.

And I still can't tell you why. If you look at their site, there is nothing there that every other marriage conference website doesn't have. But there's something. There has to be.

I even showed it to FireMan at least once. I doubt he remembers. Because... he ignored it me. Completely. Didn't even acknowledge what I was showing him or saying. Might as well have been showing him a site selling plus-sized maternity pants.

And then... one Sunday back in late Winter we went to church and I was really about to give up. And God stepped in. And my husband has a brain after all.

That very Sunday, when I felt all was lost, it was over, our church announced they would be starting a small group for married couples... a marriage small group. And FireMan said we should sign up.

I may have nodded. I don't even know. I know I didn't speak. I didn't have any words left. He signed us up. I didn't even speak to the people leading it who smiled at me over the sign-up sheets after service. I was that low. I had no words left for anyone.

And so we went.

And it was good.

One of the last sessions, they urged us to attend a marriage retreat - a time when you go away, just the two of you, for the purpose of hashing out your issues (nutshell version). And if you don't feel ready to do it just the two of you, then please attend an organized marriage conference.

They so strongly believe in these activities as ways to strengthen your marriage, that they asked each couple to promise to do one or the other.

And we did.

I also broke into tears that night.

And on the way home I confessed to FireMan that I didn't think we were ready to do a just-the-two-of-us retreat. Not for the purpose of hashing out our issues. Because the truth is I don't trust him to be careful with my heart. Not enough to be just-the-two-of-us baring all.

But maybe we could do an organized conference?

About a week later, I grew a pair and showed him the site again.

He actually looked at it.

Like... looked.

I didn't say anything. Didn't push. I don't think I even really asked at this point. I just showed him.

He seemed open, but didn't really say anything. So I let it go.

I waited a while, and brought it up again. He looked, again.

We talked about going. Maybe. Maybe I could see what dates were they in our area?

Holy crap. They happen to be fairly close to us the same time we have scheduled off for our wedding anniversary.

Coincidence? Of course. Because my God plans my coincidences.

I told him. He said "okay"

Which is really very non-committal.

So I let it drop.

But time passed, and we never committed. I needed to pin it down. If we were going.

So I asked what we were doing for our anniversary. And when he said he didn't know, I asked if we were gonna do the marriage conference. And he said "we can". And I said "Like... I should book it, we can? or... ?"

And he said something like "yeah, I guess we should book it, huh?"

So I booked it.

And even when we realized money was getting tight, my little scrooge never once asked me to cancel.

So I think he realizes it will be a good thing too.

But... back to my original point...

I'm a little nervous.

Because part of the point (according to their website) is to address some of your issues as a couple. And we don't exactly have a great track record of doing that without fighting.

So while more of me is really excited, the closer we get, that little nervous part of me is getting a little bit louder, and a little bit louder...

I'll let you know how it goes. And will review the conference after too, 'kay?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Why Some Fruit Should be Forbidden (edited)

originally posted on my other blog in 2009

Being one that's always had a lot of male friends, I sometimes think about my relationships and how they may or may not be affected by these friend.

One of the most significant romantic relationships I was in ended suddenly, and I've long wondered how much my male friends had to do with it. Not directly, but indirectly.

At the time my best friend was a guy, and we would often go out just the two of us. We were very close, but we were "just friends". However, people being, well, people, rumors of impropriety abounded, my then-boyfriend expressed jealousies, etc, etc.

Looking back on it, I can see where I made mistakes. Things that I confided in with my male friend I should have been discussing with my love interest. Knowing how things looked, I should have taken more efforts to make my inward commitment to my romantic relationship more outwardly apparent. And so on and so forth.

This isn't to say I don't think you can have friends of the opposite sex. But let's face it, when you have chemistry with a girl friend - you hit it off right off the bat, enjoy each other's company, could talk for hours, etc. - it doesn't have the same implications as when you discover that type of chemistry with a guy friend.

And these implications aren't just those of outward appearances. Maybe you don't care if the world thinks you're cheating when they see out to dinner with a guy that's not your husband, as long as you know.
But what does it do to your relationship? What insecurities might it raise in your husband's mind & heart? Where is your heart & mind? Do you really see this guy as just a friend, or do you let your mind wander to the Land of Something More?

Which brings me to the title of this post: some fruit should just be forbidden.

I have chosen to make these close friendships with members of the opposite sex a Forbidden Fruit in my life for the sake of my marriage.

Do I miss these friendships? Yes. Is my marriage worth the sacrifice? Absolutely.

I'm not saying I don't have guy friends, I certainly do. I just choose not to go out with them alone, just the two of us. The only man I'm interested in being alone with is my husband.

So how is it that this can be good for a marriage, you ask? Well, it's not so much the Fruit, as it is the Forbidden. Because as long as you see it as Forbidden, as long as those relationships make you feel awkward, as long as you continue to keep a check on things and keep checking yourself, it's good. It means that you care about your marriage. Any awkwardness is an acknowledgement of the commitment you have made to another person. And that is a good thing.

When it becomes too comfortable... well that's when you need to worry.

As always, thanks for checking in!

Friday, September 30, 2011

I Feel So Stupid

So, about two days after my last post - my post about Satan's attacking our marriage, and I just need to hold fast because everything's checking out? - yeah, about two days after that God showed me where my husband was hiding things from me. Again.

How I found it was scarily similar to how I found the major trustbreaking actions that he was doing last year. Scary to me, anyway.

It's so funny. When I try to catch him doing something, I find nothing. And then there I am, minding my own business, sitting there in false security, when God puts it right in front of my face.

Happened last year. Happened the other day.

Now, don't get me wrong. This time is nothing like last time. Nowhere close.

It could easily actually be a simple lapse in judgement.

Except... for the steps he took to hide it from me.

For (by his admission) for two years.

Meaning, that last year, when we were going thru the whole big thing, and I point blank asked him on several occasions if there were anything else he were hiding from me... he lied. To my face.

And I know in his mind, it's no big deal... but the truth is that if it weren't a big deal, he wouldn't have kept it a secret. For two years.

He doesn't seem to understand that I am trying really hard to trust him again, to trust him as fully as a person can after being betrayed once.

And even little, seemingly insignificant, indiscretions are, in reality, chipping away at a foundation that hasn't even been restored yet.

This one took a sledgehammer to that foundation. Just one swing of the hammer, but it did enough damage.

So here we are again.

We talked it out. He lied to my face again. I called him on it. He came clean (as far as I can tell).

But it's shaken all the work that we'd done the past year. Like an earthquake rattles buildings, I feel us swaying, shaking, scared we're going to crumble.

I find myself wondering what else he's hidden from me, what else he's lied about, what he will hide from me in the future, what else he will lie about in the future.

I find myself wondering if I will ever be able to trust my own husband.

For someone who went into this marriage with pre-existing trust issues, continually hiding things from me & lying to me repeatedly do nothing to help the situation. Nothing.

Heck, I think it's obvious to most people that hiding things & lying never helps the situation. Especially in a marriage.

I find myself feeling as though he is two people.

He is a wonderful, supportive husband, a loving, fun daddy, a great son (and son-in-law), a helpful, loyal friend. I adore that man.

He is also the man who hides grievous information from his wife, who sneaks around behind her back, who lies to her face. He is the man who, when confronted, turns everything around to blame her, insults her, calls her names.
That man makes me ill. Literally, physically ill.

I think, more than anything, is his lack of emotion about the whole thing. There is no remorse, there is no evidence that he understands why this is wrong, there is no apologizing, no effort to console me, no effort to reassure me that it won't happen again.

Which I suppose is better than doing all of those things and it being just more lies, but... it concerns me in that as long as he sees nothing wrong, as long as my issue with his deceit he sees as solely my issue, then he will continue to do it. Again. And again. And again.

And I worry that one day, one of us will just have had enough. Either I will reach a point where I cannot live with the man-who-makes-me-ill anymore, not one more day; or he will tire of my trying to get him to stop... and that will be that.

I am scared that this echoed deception... dooms our marriage.

We need your prayers.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I think Satan is attacking our marriage

Things have been going so well. I mean really well. Like, things haven't been this good in over three years well.

Until recently. I mean, our relationship is still way better than where we were last year. Or heck, earlier this year even.

But there have been lots of little ickies lately, and I just feel like Satan is attacking our marriage.

Probably because we've been doing so well. And because in a few weeks we're taking a step to strengthen our marriage even further, by starting off our anniversary vacation with a 3-day marriage conference.

So I just feel like all these little things that are arising all of a sudden are just Satan's way of trying to drive a wedge between us, you know?

Like, all of a sudden there are these little things that have me questioning FireMan's trust again.

Just little things, but dozens of them.

And yes, all of the ones I've actually checked out have, well.. checked out. Just fine. No lies, no misleading, nothing.

Well, unless he's just really good at lying, which I know from experience he is.

But see, there it is again. That doubt creeping in. These little inconsistencies seem to be popping up out of nowhere, and because we're still in a building-trust phase, my mind goes crazy when they happen.

And then we started arguing about money.

Which is crazy, because we actually have very similar philosophies about how to handle money. So we never argue about it. But the past two weeks? Arguing.

It's just stupid.

But these little things keep happening.

And it was in talking to my sister about her marriage, and I began to counsel her that Satan was attacking her marriage, and that she needed to just pray and hold fast... it was then that I realized that I needed the same advice, that Satan was attacking my marriage as well.

Since that realization I've tried very hard to resist the doubts that creep in, to ignore them, to remind myself that Satan is just setting these things up to feed on my weakness and drive that wedge.

I've tried very hard not to argue with my husband, even when I feel that he is being argumentative. When it seems that anything I say turns into arguing? I stop talking. I stop trying to get my point across. I stop trying to get him to calm down. Not to give him the cold shoulder, but to let the silence diffuse the situation.

"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers... Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgive you."
-- Ephesians 4:29,31-32

And I need to get on my knees about this more. I really do.

"Pray without ceasing."-- I Thessalonians 5:17

I have gotten lax in my prayer life.

And I ask you, my readers, to pray for us as well. We have come so very far from where we were just a few months ago, and now we need some strengthening to keep us here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mother-in-Law Update

Well, things have improved. Greatly.

Why? Because FireMan stood up to her.

He had been helping them get their new house ready to move into, putting off things he had promised me he'd do, not seeing me or FireGirl for about two weeks, and taking unpaid time off work.

Then it was actual move day. They weren't on any timeline to move, and didn't decide the date (a Friday) of the actual move until the the day before.

FireMan told his mom he wouldn't be coming. He explained that he hadn't seen his daughter in nearly two weeks, and it was the last night of the local fair, and we were taking her, but he would be willing to help out the next day (Saturday) if she wanted.

That was not good enough.

She called him 14 times while we were at the fair. Left six voice mails.

Mama not happy, apparently.

Also, maybe a little crazy.

He only listened to one voicemail. Despite having her husband, other son, and several friends to help that night, she totally guilted him in her message, insisting that she needed him.

He called her while we were on the way home, and asked if she still wanted him to come the next day. She said she'd call him back.

His dad called back a few minutes later, and said they'd love his help.

Things have been different better ever since.

On Saturday he got up earlier & went to help, and I just planned on having a day with FireGirl, puttering around the house.

His mom asked us to come over. She gave me the grand tour of the new house, asked for my advice on decorating, and was very pleasant. Not insulting, condescending, didn't guilt anyone about anything.

And then... she asked if she could watch FireGirl the next week. Maybe FireMan & I could have a date night?

Wowsa. I don't remember the last time she offered to watch FireGirl.

It's like (and this is just my interpretation) him standing up to her and not only putting his family above her, but voicing it to her as well, made it click with her that he is a grown man, with a family of his own.

I think she never really grasped that. She couldn't see him as anything but her little boy, and so would get very upset if he didn't make her queen of his world. She didn't see him as a man, with a wife, and a child, and a family & responsibilities of his own.

I'm still not sure she totally gets it. But I'm sure it's a process. And probably not an easy one.

Although I will say I think that considering he's lived on his own for 11 years, and been married for a total of 7 of those (1st wife + me combined), and been a dad for 3 years... I guess you'd think it'd happen sooner?

*note* I want to make it clear that I'm not against my husband doing things for his parents, and I actually kinda like that he's a momma's boy. The problem came in him repeatedly putting his mother before his wife & child, and her insistence on coming before us.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dear Mother-in-Law,

I wish I knew how to say this to you in real life. Maybe some day you will find this posting and realize it's me. Maybe I'll print it out & give it to you.

But I think it's time it's said.

I just can't figure out how to say it, without making things worse.

You have to stop asking FireMan to choose between his wife and his mother.

Perhaps you have short-term memory loss, and therefore keep forgetting that he puts everyone on speakerphone when they call, so I actually hear your phone conversations. Or perhaps you don't care. But I have heard you do it.

I have heard you try to guilt him into choosing you over me. And on one occasion, I actually heard you try to guilt him into choosing you over his daughter.

I have tried to give you the benefit of the doubt. I can't imagine how hard it must be for your children to grow up and leave the home. And FireMan is your youngest, he was your momma's boy. There is a special attachment there.

But you have crossed, and are continuing to cross, a line.

He loves you. You are his mother. There will never be another you. I will not replace you. I could not. You are his mother.

And he is no longer a boy. He is a man. A husband. A father.

He has obligations of his own, to his own family, his own wife, his own daughter, his own home... than can, and should, take precedence over his obligations to his parents.

It's part of becoming an adult. It's Biblical.

And yes, I find it super-hypocritical of you to profess to be the Christian that you do, to even preach the Word on occasion, and yet in your own life turn a blind eye to this Biblical principle - that when a man becomes married, a husband's first priority is to his wife.

I do not appreciate you putting him in the position of having to choose. I can't imagine having to choose between honoring my parents, or honoring my husband. It must be a horrible, terribly difficult place you are putting him. Because he loves us both, wants to honor us both.

Which is why, this past time, I have tried, really tried, not to be angry with him. I am not succeeding right now, but I am trying.

When he tells you that he cannot do something for you - not something life-saving, not something urgent, not even something otherwise primarily important, but merely what is convenient for you, what you want - when he tells you that he cannot because he has prior obligations... it is not okay for you to continue to brow-beat him, whine to him, guilt him, or otherwise manipulate him until you get your way.
That is not okay.

That is not the actions of a loving, caring mother toward her son.

Whether those obligations are indeed to me, his daughter, or even to anyone else, for you to place your wants above your son's need to help people (a truly admirable quality), and then to play off of that need and use it to manipulate him into doing your bidding... is despicable.

When he tells you he cannot move an appliance for you because he has a prior obligation with me, it is not okay for you to brow-beat him for 10 minutes, finally scolding him, making him feel like a bad son.

When he tells you he cannot help you at your house on the specific day that you like, because he has to work, it is not okay for you to ask him to take off work. Repeatedly. He has a family to support.

When he tells you he really shouldn't do {insert random chore} for you on your requested date, because he hasn't seen his daughter all week and would like to spend a couple of hours with her, it is not okay for you to beg and plead and whine until he finally agrees.

When you are sick, it is not okay for you to send your husband to work, then call your son and ask him to come take care of you. And when he says that he can't, because his wife & daughter are also sick, it is not okay to get into a who's-sicker contest, trying to guilt him into leaving his ill wife & daughter alone at home, to come take care of you, when you sent your healthy husband off to work. That is not okay. And for the record, it's a little weird. (thank goodness I won the who's-sicker contest that day).

You & I used to get along. Things started going downhill when FireMan & I got engaged. Worse after we got married., Worse when I got pregnant. And have just been bad since FireGirl was born. I have reviewed my actions over-and-over again. I'm pretty sure I didn't change. Pretty sure. You know, other than becoming your son's wife, and your granddaugther's mother.

I feel like you may have some major jealousy issues. Perhaps you are still not comfortable with the idea of there being another woman taking a priority position in your son's life. Sometimes I even wonder if you see FireGirl as a threat, mostly because I can't figure out any other reason why a (grand)mother wouldn't want her son spending time with her granddaughter.

I have tried to be nice. Tried to be accomodating. And it always seems to backfire, always seems to be taken the wrong way. So I finally stopped trying, and started avoiding you.

Mostly because I was really getting the vibe that you really didn't like me. At all. And I didn't know why. And no matter what I did (you know, other than marry your son & birthe the granddaughter you always wanted), you still didn't like me.

But honestly... the more I learn about you... the more I see (mostly just from observation, since I'm avoiding you) how you treat your son my husband... yeah, I don't really like you anymore either.

He may be your son, but he is also my husband.

When you brow-beat, guilt, and manipulate him... you are doing that to my husband. And it pisses me off.

When you make he-who-adores-his-mother, feel like a bad son, just because he doesn't bend to your whim... you are doing that to my husband. And it pisses me off.

When you slide in little insults, shots to his self-esteem, I assume in a conscious or sub-conscious effort to retain your superior position over him so you can continue to manipulate him... I see you doing that... to my husband. And it pisses me off.

I am really trying to not get angry with him anymore when he chooses you, mostly because I am really starting to see you for who you are, and I feel bad for him.

But I do still have needs. He still has responsibilities & obligations to me, his wife, and FireGirl, his daughter, and our home. And it is up to him to realize that and tell you 'no'. Even if you are his mother.

So I am trying not to be angry with him.

But I also know, from his own words, that his relationship with you was a hindrance to his first marriage. And he acknowledges this. And I see him trying to change the pattern in his marriage with me.

But you are a strong matriarch, aren't you?

But here he is again, and his relationship with you, and your ability to control him, is causing arguments in his second marriage. Hmmmm... what could be the common denominator?

Do you not want him to have a successful marriage?

Do you not understand that, God willing (only due to age), you will die before me, and he will be left without you, and only with me & FireGirl?

Wouldn't it be better for him, for you to do whatever you can to help him nurture his relationship with his wife & daughter, instead of trying to get in-between us?

Stop it. Just stop.

You have an able-bodied husband of your own. You have another able-bodied son, who I have heard you refuse to even ask (maybe he's learned to say 'no'?) for help, in the midst of you guilting my husband. And, quite frankly, for many things, you have the money to hire a handyman.

Or, I don't know... as a compromise, when he says he has something else to do, could you maybe just say "bummer, maybe some other time?", and work out a later date or time that is convenient to all of us, instead of everything having to be done at your whim? Could you just not try to make him feel guilty for growing up and being a man, for having a job, and af amily, a wife, and a daughter, and a home of his own to take care of? Could you just do that?

Just a crazy idea.

- Signed,
  Your Daughter-in-Law, a matriarch in her own right

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I don't post on here nearly as often as I should

It's not that there's nothing to post. It's almost that there's too much.

And my mind starts running.

And then, because I separated this from my regular blog, I debate which blog it belongs in, because, well, let's face it, marriage is so much a part of our regular life and pretty much affects everything we do in some way, so... where to put it?

And then a lot of times when I really feel the need to write, it's because I need to let off some steam, but I don't want this to turn into a bash-my-husband blog.

So... I end up just not writing here at all. Even though I wan to, and really do have plenty to say.

I promise I'll be back here. When I get my writing-about-marriage act together.

Till then!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I apologized to my husband

I know, right?
The whole thing about what I had said upsetting him really gave me some food for thought. Like, a lot of thought. A. Lot.

And I realized that while yes, I should be able to express myself, that in all my own hurt & dealing with everything I hadn't really given much consideration to how my words and actions might be affecting him.

And that's not right.

It might be understandable. It might be a very human thing to do. But it doesn't make it okay.

So I apologized.

That's all.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ugh. Another Argument. I guess.

Ends up, when I say something about wishing he were around more, or wanting / needing more help around the house, wanting to be a SAHM, wanting more kids, blah, blah, blah... it seems these statements hurt FireMan's feelings.

I had no idea.

You know, because he doesn't tell me these things until he's built up so much negative feeling that he's now angry with me.

But, what I struggle with, is that I don't say those things to try to hurt him. I say those things because I'm trying to express to him what I need and/or want. And all of those things that are mentioned, are things for him to provide. Or try to provide.

I don't know.

I wish he would agree to go to counselling.

Not only because I think everyone could benefit from counselling, but sometimes I think we need intervention from some sort of communication specialist. But those don't seem to exist, so I think a marriage counselor's probably our best bet.

Because conversations like this happen way too often in our house.

He'll say something, and it just hurts me to the core, or angers me, or whatever, and when I try to talk to him about it he says I'm twisting everything, although I swear I'm just repeating what he said. Sometimes word-for-word.

Or I'll say something, and he takes it as an attack on him personally, when I'm just trying to communicate with him.

And so many other things.

And honestly, I wonder how many of our marital issues over the past couple of years could really be boiled down to miscommunications. Or lack of clear communication. I really do wonder that sometimes.

And as much improvement as there has been in other areas, these communications problems are persisting, aren't getting any better.

And I'm sure we're both at fault, in some way(s). And I'm sure how we communicate, and how we listen, and how we react - I'm sure it all has to do with our baggage. Most likely baggage we haven't dealt with yet, and possibly don't even realize we're still carrying.

Ugh. It's so... exhausting.

Literally. I am ridiculously tired today. Found myself forcing my eyes to stay open while playing with FireGirl. Like actively playing with her. So tired.

And once again I feel stuck between a rock & a hard place.

I hate the idea that what I've said has hurt him, and that was never my intention. But yes, I can see where in moments of great frustration, expressing my frustration doesn't always come out nicely. But I still was never intending to say anything to hurt him.

So I feel stuck. Either I express to him what my needs / wants are from him as my husband, and he gets hurt. Or I keep my mouth shut, put on a happy face, and never even tell him.

Neither one seems like a good choice too me.

Rock | KyFireWife | Hard Place


Friday, July 8, 2011

Different Battlefields

FireMan & I had a mini-argument last night. I don't know if it really classifies as an argument when one person just rolls over & goes to sleep. Which is what I was upset about anyway, so you can guess how happy that made me.

And it's one of those repeat arguments. You know, the ones you have over & over, about the exact same thing, because both of you believe you are right.

And because I don't understand why everyone doesn't agree with me, and because this is my blog so I get to be right on my blog, I will tell you about the moment last night when I think I realized why he doesn't agree with me.


See, the repeat situation is that he wants to go to sleep, I want to stay up & talk.

Now, it's important that you remember that he's gone. A lot. So we don't get that many occasions for conversation.

Back to yesterday. He was off, but got called on a water rescue detail. Followed by a scheduled diver training session for the new divers. So I kissed him goodbye in the morning when I left for work, and then he came home at 9:15pm. FireGirl didn't get to bed till 10pm. He starts flipping thru the channels, and we watch 10 minutes of television, before he feeds the dogs, then announces that he's going to bed.

I really wasn't ready to go to bed, but believing that couples should go to bed together whenever possible, I follow him to bed.

*this is a point of irritation also, because he always decides when to go to bed. If I want to go to bed before him, he just stays up. If I want to stay up, he'll go to bed alone. Could care less, but if I say something about wanting to go to bed together, insists that it's my own fault because I didn't conform to when he wanted to go to bed. Grrr.*

So we go to bed and start talking. He's actually improved vastly in this area, and doesn't complain until much later in the conversation than he used to.

But he also still watches the clock. Grr.

So about 45 min into the conversation I get the first complaint. The first roll over, "I'm tired, I'm going to sleep". I manage to tickle him out of it.

I know, 45 minutes seems like a lot. But keep in mind that I've seen him for a grand total of about 5 waking hours in the past 3 days, and beginning the next morning am not expecting to see him again for another 5 days, although we might get "lucky" and get an hour here or there over the weekend. So in 8 days, I'm gonna see him probably less than 8 waking hours.
And he is my best friend. And my husband. So 45 minutes of face-to-face talking in 8 days... not so much.

But that action, him doing that, him deciding... initiates the situation.

Why does he get to decide? (are you getting the feeling this is more than just about talking, or sleeping?)

So he gives in and talks for a bit, then repeats his complaints, rinse, repeat.

The thing is... I was tired. Really tired. Had I been allowed to talk myself out, I probably would have stopped after maybe another... say... 20-30 minutes after his first complaint.

But I wouldn't let myself. I wanted to decide.

So badly that several times I actually caught myself nodding off, and then forced myself to start talking again to keep it going. For a loooong time.

As if it mattered. Because he's decided to go to sleep, and has rolled over and gone to sleep. I can hear is breathing getting deeper and regulate into the slow steady pattern of someone sleeping comfortably.

Which upsets me even more.

Because I am so upset, that my mind is spinning, and there is no way I can sleep now. But he's sleeping soundly.

This, to me, translates to someone that isn't that concerned, doesn't care. He got what he wanted, and that's all that matters to him.


So... you're still waiting for my revelation, aren't you?

Well, first you need some background info.

You need to know what always gets brought up during these repeat situations: water rescue.

Why is it, I ask, that he can & will happily stay up for 36 hours on a detail for water rescue, but won't stay up until midnight to spend time with his wife?

This angers him, and he accuses me of laying a guilt trip on him.

I don't say anything this time, because I've explained a thousand times in the past that I'm not trying to make him feel guilty, I'm trying to explain to him how his actions affect me, how they make me feel, how his actions translate to me. I've asked him a thousand times that if it doesn't mean what it seems to mean to me, then tell me what it does mean. And then he accuses me of twisting everything, and I ask him to set me straight because I'm just trying to understand, and he says "I don't know", and I say "If you don't know, then who does?", and we end up fighting.

So I don't even bring it up this time.

Because, even though I know he wouldn't believe it, I really am not trying to fight. I just want attention.

But now I have a new frustration. Because I am not the kind of person that plays games, that intentionally tries to lay guilt trips on people. And if he hasn't figured that out in the 5+ years we've been together, then me telling him one more time isn't gonna set him straight.

Me trying to explain to him how his actions affect me, and/or affect FireGirl, does not mean I'm trying to play a head game. It means I want him to understand that his actions affect us. That's it. And the fact that he refuses to learn that lesson tells me either he doesn't believe it, or doesn't care. And since I know he's a smart man... I'm left with one reasonable explanation: he doesn't care. And that is hurtful.


So anyway... back to my story of last night (man this is getting long!). Sometime after he had gone to sleep, and I had gotten up because I couldn't sleep, it dawned on me.

It's not about the talking at all. Or the sleeping. Not. At. All.

Are you ready for this? Because this is big.

I want him to show me, and FireGirl, that he will do for us what he does for everyone & anyone else. And more.

I want proof that we are his top priority.
I want his actions to prove that he loves us more than anyone else.

Told ya it was big.

Of course, when I had that revelation, it snowballed into a hundred other examples, other repeat arguments we've had, etc.

I guess with everything that has happened the last few years... I'm left wanting proof. And when his actions seem to prove the contrary, it strikes a hard blow to me, and becomes something that I just can't let go.

So when he voluntarily goes on a water rescue detail from 3pm until 4:30am, and goes on boat patrol until midnight, or until whenever they need him to stay, and does so gladly, because water rescue is something he loves - but won't talk to me until I'm ready to let him go... it sends me the message that he loves water rescue more than he loves me.

When he gladly volunteers to work on the water rescue building, instead of working on the much-needed renovations at our house... it sends a  message.

When he makes plans to spend the evening with FireGirl, for a much-needed daddy/daughter night, and then plans get changed, rearranged, and finally cancelled, all to accomodate an unexpected water rescue request... it sends a message.

When he's known for helping everyone else, but I've learned I'm better off not asking, because asking him to do something is a guarantee for it to not get done... it sends a message.


Things have gotten better between us the past few months. Much better really. But there is still some healing to be done. Some wounds that are still open. And words aren't gonna cut it. It's gonna take actions. Repeated, consistent actions. Proof. Repeated, consistent proof.

And as with all major injuries, it doesn't take much to damage the site of the trauma again. Especially if the healing process isn't yet complete.


So that was my revelation. That, is why we have these repeat arguments.

He thinks he's right, because he thinks he's arguing about sleeping & talking. Or hanging out with his friends. Or doing a load of laundry. Or spending time with FireGirl. Or finishing the darn kitchen already.

I think I'm right, because I'm contending about the deeper meaning behind his actions. Or lack thereof.

We're having the same argument, but we're bickering on completely different battlefields.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mini-Vent: Housework Related

You know... I have accepted the fact that FireMan does not help with housework. I get it. It took me forever, and I think it's not fair, but he expects me to maintain the household as if I were a stay-at-home-mom, while still working full time outside the home.

Well, I've explained to him repeatedly that it's physically impossible, and if he wants the house kept to those expectations, then he needs a better idea.

So... basically we both live in a state of disappointment. But I think we've both come to terms with that.

I should say he has helped out more in the past few months than he has in... three years. Cooked dinner on several occasions when he was off & I was working. Even scrubbed the bathtub twice. And mopped the floors once. And he does keep the lawn mowed (it really does look awesome, vastly improved from when we moved in to this house last Autumn).

But on a day-to-day basis, he does zero.

Fine. Just don't complain, right?

Except... it's not just that he doesn't help. In a lot of ways... he makes my job more difficult.

I don't think he means to. It's just that... he doesn't think. It's almost like having another child in the house.

Oh, you want an example, do you?

Okay. The other day. I had an early appointment before work, and was meeting a friend after work. I was gone from 7:30am till 11pm. So he was home all day. His job was to take FireGirl to preschool & pick her up at the end of the day. So... home alone all day, right?

*important note for later* before I left I told him I was running a bit late and he would need to pack FireGirl's diaper bag himself. And make sure you grab a clean shirt to put in there for her spare outfit, as I had to use the one that was in there the day before. Love you, bye.

I come home last night to find FireGirl's breakfast, what was left of it, on the dining room table. Like, actually on the table. He didn't even put it on dishes. And, you know, he left food out. All day. And night.

And then FireMan complained that there were no diapers or training pants in her diaper bag.

Ummm... see note above.
I asked him if he gave FireGirl a bath. Nope. He said it didn't even cross his mind. So... she played at the playground at preschool, including the sandbox, he took her to the playground after picking her up, they played with the dogs at home... and giving her a bath never crossed his mind. Oh, and (this is where it makes my life more difficult) by what I found in her hair when I tried to brush it this morning, at some point she got food in her hair. And it never crossed his mind.

It would have also made my life more difficult in that I would have liked to have given her a bath before we left, but being in the time crunch that we are every weekday morning... that wasn't gonna happen.

So then I go to pick out her clothes for the day. From her dresser. Where tops are kept neatly folded in stacks in the top drawer, and bottoms neatly folded in stacks in the drawer underneath that one.

I opened the top drawer... and just sighed. I really think he stuck his hand in till it reached the bottom of the drawer and then moved it to and fro from one end of the drawer to the other, until every shirt was unfolded and the drawer was just a pile of clean laundry, in no particular order.
Ditto with the bottoms drawer, except it also now has two shirts in it (??).

So now tonight, instead of just folding the clean laundry that I get out of the dryer, I also am blessed with the opportunity to re-fold and re-stack two drawers of clothing that had already been neatly folded and put away.

So finally I go looking for her diaper bag. I can't find it. Anywhere. I check all the usual places. Then I search the living room, kitchen, and dining room. Hallway. Even the fireplace room and FireGirl's bedroom. Nothing.

I finally call FireMan. He says he doesn't know where it is, it should be there.


Then he says that maybe he left it in the car.

So I go out to the car, and sure enough there's her diaper bag, her bedding (sent home from preschool so I can wash it), and yesterday's mail. Just never brought in.

When I check the diaper bag, sure enough, there are no diapers or training pants. And no clean shirt (see note above). I re-stock it. Which is a little thing, sure, but should have been done the day before.

I guess that's my point. They're all little things. None of them are huge. But let's face it, I'm not the best housekeeper in the world to begin with. Plus I now have a toddler making messes throughout the house. And I work full-time outside the home.

But does the other adult living in the house really have to make it harder on me? Create more messes, mess up what I've already fixed, make my life even harder?

If you're not gonna help that much, fine. But don't make it harder for me. I'm struggling enough, you know?

Okay. Mini-vent over. After one last...

{{ sigh }}

Monday, June 27, 2011

Frustration: Society Related

As you may know, last year I embarked on a 30 day challenge to be a better wife to my husband.

Well, a while back, FireMan actually seemed open to discussing our issues civilly, and seemed receptive to ideas, and I came up with the idea that what if we each simultaneously did challenges? I would re-do my challenge to be a better wife, while at the same time he did a challenge to be a better husband.

You know what?

I couldn't find any such challenges for husbands.


Bookstores. Online. Christian or not. None.

There are plenty of references, guides, self-help books, websites, articles, and "challenges" to help women be better wives, but I could not find one such thing to help men be better husbands. Not one.

There were also quite a few "couples" references, where the information and tasks were aimed at both of you, which I suppose would have sufficed for my original purposes.

But it became a separate challenge for me: find the husband challenge.

I could not.

Since that time, I've paid attention to websites, magazines, books, even radio talk shows. It's always the same: tools to help women become better wives, but not one mention of such a tool for men.

This is frustrating to me on several levels.

First of all, well, it's just frustrating that I couldn't find what I wanted.

Secondly, it seems to send the message that marital problems are wholly (or at least primarily) the fault of the wife.
Why else would she need so much help, while he does not?

Thirdly, an expansion of the second, it gives the impression that the responsibility for maintaining a happy marriage falls squarely on the shoulders of the wife, instead of being a shared burden between the two.
This is an unfair, and impossible, responsibility to bear.

Next, it makes no logical sense. Why would the same writers or publishers that produced the wifely challenges not also produce husbandly challenges? In many cases they are produced by husband/wife teams. Yet these challenges only exist for the wife? This does not make sense.

Unless they are assuming that men have no interest in maintaining a happy marriage or sharing responsibility for marital problems. Which is a callous and unfair way to view men. Or a sad commentary on a real statistic.

And lastly, (meant to be said in a really whiny voice): it's just not fair.

So that is my frustration. Now, I'm not saying these sorts of challenges don't exist at all for husbands. Surely (right?) someone along the way has created one. But if they exist, they are certainly far fewer in number, and much more difficult to find than the ones for wives. Which just doesn't seem right.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Things have been good

The past month, things have been good between us. Not just existing, just just "okay", but actually good. Sometimes, really good.

At the same time, I feel that we need to make sure we don't get lazy. Don't let our guard down. Marriage takes work. All the time. Not just in the bad times to fix the problems, but in the good times to prevent them. Time to strengthen the foundation.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

We had a fight

A couple of weeks ago.

It was a big one, although now it seems really stupid.

But it was a doozy.

Quite possibly the only time we've fought in front of FireGirl. Not good, I know.

But somehow we ended with a "we love each other, and don't want to do this, but..."

Which was a start.

And later that night we went to a friend's wedding.

And sometime during the ceremony, I had a thought.

Maybe... just maybe... this fighting... what we were fighting about... because it really was something relatively little & stupid... maybe we've finally settled into the normal-stuff-that-every-married-couple fights about.


But maybe we just have a hard time seeing it, because we went from honeymoon bliss straight into wedded nightmare.

So neither of us knows what it's like to just fight like normal.

So we both still see each little arguement as part of the wedded nightmare, when maybe... just maybe... we've finally just settled into a dysfunctional kind of normal.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

I want to be more grateful, but I need a knife

*note* for the purposes of this post, "needs" and "wants" refers only to the essential things that we need from our spouses. It varies from person to person (which is why it has to be figured out), but usually includes things like affection, sex, time, honesty, attention, etc.

Sometimes I think it sounds like FireMan is just awful. And he's really not.

And here recently, maybe the past few months or so, I can see where he's been trying.

Which is why in my last post I mentioned that I sometimes struggle with gratitude.

I think some of my frustration comes from feeling like I'm not being heard.

I mean, I have tried so hard to figure out what he wants & needs from me, and have been & am still working to meet it, and yet he still doesn't seem to get, at all, what I want and - more importantly - need from him.

I started with pretty much nothing. I mean, here I was, thinking we were fine. He never told me anything was wrong, never voiced his needs. Even when I asked, he'd say everything was great. Even when I told him I had a feeling he wanted or needed more from me, he'd deny it and say everything was fine.

Yeah. Everything was fine until the day it all fell apart in front of me, collapsed thru my fingers.

So basically, I really had to work to try to figure this out.

What little information I eventually got from him was like trying to harder than pulling teeth.

But I wanted to. He's my husband. I love him, I want to meet his needs, I want to give him want he wants.

And so here I sit, a little over a year later.

Has he figured out what I need or want?
Doesn't seem so.

Has he listened to me when I have told him spelled out for him very clearly what I need and want from him?
Apparently not. Or he has heard me, and doesn't care.

Has he taken the hint when I suggested we do those online quizzes to see what we need from each other?
Nope. We got thru his results, and he got up and left the couch before we could go thru mine. Until I whined at him.

Has he taken the multitude of hints I've given him when suggesting books to read or websites to visit?
I really don't think he has. Or again, he has, and just doesn't care enough to act on it. But I really just don't think that he has.

So, while yes, here in the past few months I can see him actually taking steps towards trying to do things for me... well...

It's like he keeps handing me spoons when I'm screaming at him that I need a knife.

It just doesn't cut it.

And then I feel guilty for not being grateful enough for his efforts, for not being thankful enough for the spoons, but the truth is I'm really not that grateful at all because I don't need spoons, dammit! I need a freakin' knife!

And in a way, the more spoons he hands me, the more frustrated & angry I get, and the more hopeless it seems, because each one just seems like more proof that he hasn't heard a word I've said the past year, hasn't listened to me at all, or just doesn't care enough to do what I really need.

I don't want to be ungrateful. I don't.
I want to look at each spoon he hands me with soft eyes, look at each gesture as just that - a gesture that shows that he is finally making in an effort to show that he does care.

I don't know.

I guess just after everything, after a year of repeatedly being hurt,
of repeatedly being told that I was the problem,
of being me blamed for his actions,
of being lied to...
after a year of me busting my butt to try to make things better...
after a year of me telling him what I want & need in every way I know how -
        spelling it out, hinting, gently asking "please", yelling & screaming, nagging, writing it down, showing him where "experts" (even Fire Life       experts) have said that women need these things -
after a year of telling him what I want & need and still not being listened to, not being heard...

It just seems terribly hopeless.

Like I'm destined to live in a world where I never get what I need or want (not that I don't get anything that I need or want, but in relation to the essential things I need from my spouse, that only he can provide).

And I feel like I'm left with this option of to continue giving & giving & giving without receiving, or to stop giving any more. To refuse to give any more.

And I know what is right, and I know what I should do...

But I am so tired. And frustrated. And hurt.

And eventually you just reach this place where you just don't want to give anything to someone who has done nothing but take from you for so long.

And the fact is that you do love him. And despite everything, you still want to give to the one that you love.

But, I will admit, I find it difficult to muster the strength to put in the efforts like I used to. At this point, it's just too exhausting.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Update, of sorts

It's been so long since I've posted, I guess I should start with an update.

We're doing better. Mostly.

I suppose.

There are definitely still issues for both of us to work on. But things are vastly improved over where we were last year at this time.

Personally, I can see where my efforts be a better wife, to be a better person have been successful. I mean, I can literally see a difference in who I was 12 -14 months ago to who I am now. I am definitely a better wife to FireMan than I was last year.

I have learned (an am learning!) what his needs & wants are, and have really worked at fulfilling those for him. It hasn't always been easy, and at times it seems to go unnoticed, but the overall harmony in our relationship is better, so there is proof that it does work.

I have done a lot of homework, read a lot of resources, said a lot of prayers. It has definitely not been an easy road.

And I know I'm still not perfect. In fact, I still have far to go. While I have made leaps & bounds in some areas, I am still woefully lacking in others. And for some, I struggle with how to make more progress. I'm stuck.

But I digress... this was supposed to be an update. And to update you, is to say that I've improved greatly in my wifely role.

Currently my greatest struggle is with... frustration (?)... satisfaction(?)... gratitude(?)... I struggle to define what I am feeling.

It seems that I am still the one putting an abundance of effort into making our marriage work, while he coasts along, throwing in a teaspoon every once in a while. It is too lopsided. And I am struggling with the unevenness of our efforts. I will go into detail in future posts, but for now, that is the overall update.

Thanks for checking in!