There are times throughout my life that I have forgotten just how fragile love is. And as I look back upon this painful “possible divorce” I have to ask myself the question…did you forget this fact? And in turn, I realize that I must have for it to have gotten to this point. Obviously, our relationship has not had enough of the right kind of soil (genuine caring,spending happy times together), not enough water (kind words, kind deeds) and not enough sunshine (joy, laughter) or else it would have flourished and not died. While it would be easy to write about B’s failings in this area because of the place I am at in our relationship; the fact is that I MUST look at my own culpability in order to go forward either in this relationship or to be at peace with myself. So these are some of the things I have been considering lately in regards to our relationship and my part in its possible demise.
Love requires attention. Lots of it. With all the chaos in our lives and the fact that B and I enjoy different things did I forget the attention that love needs to blossom and grow rather than wither and die? Those golden moments of laughter, a slight touch or a kind voice. Did my missing the bagpiping weekends make B think I didn’t care because I wasn’t showing the kind of attention to something he cared deeply about? Was the chaos of two boys with autism taking over my life making me exhausted and leaving my husband behind?
Love requires trust. I struggle with trust. Always have probably always will but did my lack of trust make me see things that sometimes aren’t there but I acted as if they were? Did it make me question instead of believe? How have my own personal issues that have nothing to do with B contributed to this lack of trust? Have I forgotten how to trust B with my heart and have I stopped believing that he cares what is in it? Have I stopped believing that what he shares with me is the truth because since he hardly ever speaks out, so I then question why when he does?
Love requires honesty. Sometimes I think I am too honest for B. Sometimes I think honesty when it is sharing more bad feelings when good is hurtful and discouraging. I may be guilty of that. Is there such a thing as too much honesty? If I am asking the question then perhaps I already know the answer.
Love requires sacrifice. If I look back on our 30+ years of marriage I believe I did sacrifice certain things BUT the real question is did I sacrifice gladly, willingly and without guilt? That question may be harder to answer honestly because I can think of many times I did not. And did I sacrifice quietly? Did I sacrifice in a manner that B thought better of me as a person or in ways that warmed his heart?
Love requires acceptance. Have I accepted all that has come my way? Have I accepted B’s inability to stand up to his family knowing that there are other qualities that make up for that inability that he has? Have I accepted my sons disabilities in a way that makes love easy for them and everyone else in the family? Have I accepted what B has had to say without always having to have my opinion heard? Have I just listened and accepted upon occasion without making him have to justify his wants or needs?
Love requires courage. Early in our marriage when B would get upset I would say to him “Okay well I will just leave” It is a horrible thing to do to anyone all because I did not not have the courage to sit, listen and look at my own flaws. It takes courage to be married and courage to stay when you want to leave. I lacked courage which I think leads to disillusionment and distrust.
Love requires persistence. That means being willing to look at the areas in your marriage that need work and then take the steps to correct them. This may take weeks, months or even years. Often, over the course of our relationship I have recognized things that I could do to improve things (like not yell so much) yet I did not keep up with the follow-through that was needed to get these things to become good habits. I didn’t have the time. I didn’t have the patience. I didn’t have the desire and because of this lack of persistence it has contributed to our relationship floundering.
Love requires change. As our relationships mature and as times passes changes occur. As my relationship with B has hit this rocky road, I look back and see with regret those things I needed to change but did not. We are not meant to be stationary beings and relationships are suppose to be fluid too. I think that I have fought change at times and our relationship has suffered for it and my own growth has suffered too. Reluctance to change in my case has come from focusing too much on the pain on has to endure to make change come about or focusing on what I would have to give up rather than on what I would have to gain if I would just change.
As we have gone through this difficult time in our marriage sometimes I look back with regret because I know that I had forgotten how fragile love is without the proper nurturing and care. Marriage is like a delicate rose and it needs attention if it is to survive. I wish I had spent more time pruning, watering and ensuring plenty of light reached its leaves. Perhaps adding a little less crap would have helped too.
Copyright CLD 4/3/16