Saturday, March 31, 2007

Then and now - Marriage Monday


This week for Christine's Marriage Monday she asked us to talk about ourselves as two different women; two different times in our lives. She wants us to describe how we were when we got married and what we are now.

Oh my.

Part of me wants to run away from this subject. It's too hard; I don't want to look at it.

But as soon as I saw her Thursday post announcing what was to come...I knew. Something told me I had to do this. So here it goes.

My first marriage, I was barely 18 marrying a man 20 years older than I. I liked him but pretty much married him because I figured if I was going to live with him, we should be married.
It lasted 3 years.
When I left that marriage, it was because I was not allowed to grow. I was to stay at the same job and not have any friends besides him. We were building a house and I was to spend all my spare time there. He also decided we would not have children. He already had one and that was enough.

When I left that marriage, I went nuts. From one extreme to the other. Partying, dating, drinking almost every night. Then I went to truck driving school. And consequently, drove truck for a year. Wandering. Didn't know what I wanted except for ONE THING!

I NEVER NEVER wanted to get married again. If I got married once thinking it was forever and I was THAT wrong; how could I trust my judgement on another man?

Then came Tall, Dark and Handsome. My best friend's little brother. His legs were just gorgeous. And he was SOOooo Tall. I'd like to say we began our relationship as friends, but ummmmm, I'd be lying.

We were together for almost two years before we got married. He was actually afraid I was going to say "No" because I had been so adamant about NEVER getting married again. But I said yes; deciding to take a chance on him. I loved him. With everything I had, I loved him. I still do. There was a problem, though...

He had a temper. Household items would get broken, nasty words were said. I begged him to change. I did not want to raise children in that environment. But he never hit me...so it wasn't THAT bad, was it?

It took us four years to finally get pregnant and our boy arrived. Four years later, our first girl. When I was pregnant with our second, we argued about his foul language once again while I was driving him to work. When he was angry he was scary...mainly because he was so big. Six feet, six inches and 350 pounds of fury. When he got out of the car at work, he slammed the door so hard the car window shattered. I went to my mother's for a week. Then came home. Once again, he promised to try to do better. And I loved him. My son wanted his Daddy. I was pregnant. And I'm making excuses, aren't I?

#2 and #3 came along within a year. One year after that, Tall, Dark and Handsome, decides I am no longer his princess. He loves someone else. He goes to meet her...and comes back within 24 hours. I forgave him. He said she was selfish and he didn't realize what a treasure he had.

But my friends, there is a difference between forgiving and forgetting. I never forgot what he did. My self esteem was destroyed and I was constantly on edge. What if I said the "wrong thing" or did the "wrong thing" to make him go looking again? How could I stand that pain?

Little did I know; what I feared was NOTHING compared to what happened. When I discovered he was hurting our daughter; well, the pain is indescribable. It hurt worse than anything I had ever experienced before, including childbirth. WHY, oh WHY had I forgiven him and let him come back? Why hadn't I seen what was going on? What kind of a wife and mother was I, to not KNOW? What kind of a wife and mother was I that I had driven him to do this? I had not been "good enough" for him.

Through the help of a couple of good counselors and my Father in Heaven, I have come to know that what he did was not MY fault any more than it was my daughter's fault. However, the decline of our marriage WAS my fault as much as it was his. Over time, I became lazy. Let him live his life and I'll live mine. We let Satan slip in and destroy everything. He took TD&H by the hand and took him into the darkness while I was looking the other way. I should have fought for his life. But I was lazy, complacent and I just let him go.

To see how I have changed and the lessons I've (hopefully) learned over the last 18 years of knowing my second husband, let's make some comparisons.

THEN and NOW
From Hopeful to Realistic

From Willing to take a chance to Not so much

From Always unconditionally loved to Knowing that some people "love" you only when you make them happy.

From It's not that bad, is it? to I don't have to "settle" for that!

From Why do I have to do EVERYTHING around here? to If I don't do it, it'll be there tomorrow.

From "just a minute!" or "later, tomorrow" to "Sure, sweetheart! Let's go do that right now!"

From he'll always be there to value every minute because you never know when...

Yes, I've learned some good things from being married. I KNOW I wouldn't have missed it for the world because I gained the four most precious things on this earth in the bargain.

I just wish it hadn't had to hurt.

4 comments:

Jenny said...

Janean-

Thank you for sharing this incredible story. I am so sorry about what your daughter suffered through.

I truly believe that are blogs can be ministries to people out there that we might not even know. I feel convicted that your honest in this post is truly going to benefit someone.

Many blessings to you and your family-

Jenny

Christine said...

Janean, I am so glad you decided to post this. I'm sure it is painful revisiting it, but I also assume you "revisit" it a bit each day watching your children grow. I can see how much you've learned and grown in this post alone, not even having known you through the years past. What treasures you have in your children even with the pain of that time. Truly gifts earned through difficult circumstances. Thanks again for sharing so much of your life.

Nise' said...

I am brand new to Marriage Monday and have been blown away by the depth of sharing and am so glad that you shared your story.

devildogwife said...

I'm so sorry for all that you and your children went through. No one should have to suffer any of that.

Thank you for sharing your story. I know it wasn't easy.