Let’s start over. From now on, you are to have first pick of the take away menu. You are to have the drumstick, the big slice, the comfy corner of the couch. No more end of the loaf toast for you, no more cold dinner, no more three dollar shampoo. I don’t ever want to hear you describe yourself as not all that clever ever, ever again. I don’t ever want to hear that acceptance in your voice as you admit that you bought his story that your appearance is somehow less than it should be. From now on we draw a line in the sand. This is acceptable, this is not. And when it is not I want to see you let the tiger out. No more powerlessness, no more keeping quiet, no more waiting and seeing.
I saw it happening, but I didn’t know it until now. I wish I could have saved you from the crushing he has given you as he squashed the fight out of you year upon year upon year. He took away (some of) your spark and that’s not acceptable. I don’t know what kind of fears you have lived with, I don’t know what your new fears are. I hear you say it a lot, that you are frightened. But I want to say to you no. He has taught you that and he’s gone now. He has taught you that you can’t be alone, that you can’t be the strongest person in the house. Every day he has chipped away at you until your own son forgot what your laugh sounded like. Not acceptable.
It’s time now for noisy laughter, for spontaneous decisions, for expensive shampoo. It’s time to own your body and your space and your opinion. No more apologising, much more expecting. No more doubting that you’re worth spending time with. The only reason you didn’t pick up the phone is because he made you believe that nobody wanted to answer. It’s time to separate out the person he stepped on and the person you are. He tried and he failed. No more asking permission no more second guessing. Today is the day for a new haircut, a new puppy and some fresh air.
How does procreation affect a marriage? We have had the heartbreaking news recently of more than one set of friends seeing their relationships falter and fail. I feel sick to my stomach with the sadness of it, so I cannot imagine how painful it must be to go through. Kids are cited as a major pressure, not the ’cause’, but a major, major pressure. With about a third of marriages in Australia ending in divorce, it is perhaps pessimistic, but sadly realistic to say that these will not be the last of our friends to go through such a seismic life change.
I once would have said that there was no way my marriage would end in divorce. No. Way. I am far more realistic now. I would like to know the statistics on families with multiples and divorce/separation rates. Someone once (perhaps well meaningly) said to me see, having twins is no big deal. Well, I can tell you, it’s been the biggest deal of my life thus far. It has nearly broken me and it has come close to breaking my marriage. I just wrote and then deleted a whole qualification on how I shouldn’t look at things so negatively and had better count my blessings. Our experiences are what they are. For better or for worse, these are my thoughts, feelings and learnings.
We have spent years putting off conversations. Years of nights too tired or talked out to talk again once that sweet silence descends on the house. Years of we really should get a babysitter this weekend only to forget. Years of texting each other important stuff because it is only in that second when the thought comes to you that you can remember what it was you had been meaning to say for weeks. Years of frenetic pace, much too fast to look, listen, be gentle, talk softly. Years of everyone else but us. Years of just just keeping our heads above water.
We have pledged and pledged again to each other that we will not do that to each other, our kids, our family, our friends. No doubt about it, we have had our moments. My I wanna hurt myself moments are often accompanied by I also wanna leave. But I do not. Want to. I want him and everything that goes along with him. He has taken to leaving me notes around the house. I call him every afternoon when I get into the car for my half hour drive home form work. I am always home first. When he finally comes in the door I feel better. He has heard all my stories. He is still extremely funny. Yes, I love him, but apart from that, I really like him. This life has stretched us to the very limit. We have been close to broken and there are many things that need repair, but we are not broken. I’m a bit broken myself, but it’s nothing a bit of mind and heart work can’t fix.