My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

breaking chains of captivity

I'm home today, not because of snow but because I'm sick. I have this really raw sore throat.... and a migraine that has the right side of my head feeling like it's about to explode.

Today's Proverb is Chapter 20. The verse that applies to my life the MOST today is verse 22, "Do not say, I'll pay you back for this wrong. Wait for the Lord and he will deliver you."

Part of my healing process lately has been to step aside and let God have his way. Dean and I talk in circles sometimes because we have such a great hunger for the truth. I have conversations with Michael (in my head) that rehearse and rehash every know the ones, when you fight it all out again in your head and say the things you want to say to them, even though they can't hear you. I do this every day. It's exhausting. Michael has gone on his merry way and has someone else sleeping in our bed, laying her head on my pillow, enjoying the embrace of my husband... hanging her clothes in my closet where mine used to be. He is finished - has been, I suspect, for a very long time. Meanwhile, I'm still arguing with him in my head.

Dean argues with Andrea in real life... by email, by phone and by voice mail when she won't answer. I tell him not to. What's the point? I asked if he thought that if he keeps trying that somehow he'll hit on the thing that will change her heart and change her mind... and maybe that's it. It's not that he wants her back - not in her present form - but he does want his family restored. It's also how he deals with his frustration. I don't know that it's effective but it's certainly more effective than anything I'm doing.

Sunday while studying Breaking Free, it occured to me that I was hanging on to my disappointment and anger like they were my inheritance, my possessions, my right. It finally occurred to me that continuing the fight, albeit alone, was not going to make me feel better. I've said all of it to myself at least a dozen times and have even said most of it TO him without success. I should say that I define success as having a complete admission of guilt, having the truth made available to me so that I can have closure and complete understanding of the full extent of his infidelity. I don't think it was just Andrea. I think there were others, the entire time we were together and I want to know so that on those days that I look back wistfully at the dreams that were shattered, that I can know with all of my heart that this man NEVER loved me, that he was never devoted to me and therefore I have lost NOTHING.

I will also say that I don't understand the thought process of "the other woman". If your relationship is based on a foundation of your mutual unfaithfulness to your respective spouses, what makes you think that he will be any more faithful to you than he was to his wife? If a man demonstrates to you that he is willing to participate in infidelity and JUSTIFY his actions based on supposed character flaws in his wife, don't you fear that he will find justification to cheat on you for a similar reason? If I met a man who explained his lack of fidelity in his marriage by the illness of his wife... I would run in the other direction! One thing is certain, at some point in your life you're going to be sick and you're going to want the one you love to stand by you. If you have both demonstrated a "run when things get tough" attitude toward relationships, don't you fear facing that thing that becomes a dealbreaker for you? It takes a great amount of optimism to believe that you are *the woman* who can break that cycle, to believe that your perfection and syncronicity with him are such that he will be able to achieve with you what he has NEVER accomplished in any other relationship in his ENTIRE life - almost 47 years of it. And it seems foolhardy to risk a fourteen year relationship and the wellbeing of three children (four if you count his son, who will surely be impacted) on such a huge gamble at happiness.

I am fortunate in that I can close my eyes to the situation and not be impacted by it any longer. I am distanced from the pain now. If I didn't talk to Dean, I wouldn't have any knowledge whatsoever of what's happening back in Egypt. And... there are those in my life who think it's unhealthy for me to talk to Dean. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it's hard. Sometimes it really hurts. When we mutually seek an understanding of the anatomy of the affair and compare dates and gaps and things that made us wonder... it can be painful to remember. There are things that I repressed for survival. I could simply not have woken up next to this person every day of my life if I had allowed myself to feel the full weight of hurt and disappointment and anger.

There were things I had to let go just to be able to function... remember the movie, "Sleeping with the Enemy" with Julia Roberts? Where she has to have all the cans in the pantry facing a certain way or she will get scolded? That was my life. I sat sobbing in a heap of clothes in the floor of the closet one night because they had all been ripped down from the rack because I had hung the shirts facing the wrong way. It traumatized me so much that when the clothes came back from the cleaners hung "wrong" one time I offered - in all sincerity - to rehang them before putting them in the closet.

I guess the point is that I have to stop fighting the battle while not ignoring the reasons it didn't work. I have to understand that I could have been PERFECT and that still wouldn't have been enough. I have to come to terms with the fact that marriages shouldn't fall apart because the wife has a bad kidney infection or a tooth pulled or a root canal or an outpatient surgery or a skin cancer removed. Marriages shouldn't fall apart because the wife is on medication that makes her gain weight... or is depressed to the extent that she is unable to function... especially if the depression stems from the abuse and neglect by her husband. Commitment doesn't end because you want to wear open toed shoes to dinner and your husband refuses to take you unless you "cover up those ugly toes"... and you refuse to go if that is the requirement. None of those things justifies infidelity.

In Breaking Free, captivity is defined as "anything that hinders the abundant and effective Spirit filled life God has planned for you". Can you imagine how crippling it is to have to constantly wonder when he stopped loving me... why he stopped loving me... what made her more appealing to him.... what could I have done differently? Can you imagine the mental anguish at watching the collateral damage of Dean's family? Can you imagine the what if's and the why me's? Those things are like shackles on my feet. So I am working diligently at breaking those chains of captivity.

I love this verse because it describes the merry-go-round cycle of this thought process for me:
Romans 7:15-20
15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

Got that? One truth that rang really deep in my heart over the weekend is that I need to stop letting this be MY fight. I have done all that I can do and all that I need to do. It is not my responsibility (nor is it yours, Dean!) to change the hearts of sinners. I can speak the truth to them in love but if they don't accept it, I have still done my job. Trust me when I tell you that over the course of the past three years that I have sought diligently to effectively change the heart of my husband. I have begged, argued, cried, pleaded, pouted, written, spoken, yelled, prayed... I have given it my best shot. Whatever change his heart goes through will be a divine work of the Lord. I understand now that my job is to pray... and get out of the way.

Exodus 14:14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.

I don't even know what results I want the Lord to bring about in Michael. I pray daily for his health and prosperity. I pray that he will be a devoted and committed father to Bobby and Stephen. I pray that his heart will break for us, that he will come to grieve the loss of our commitment and the breaking of our vows in the same way that it grieves my heart. I want him to feel. Not so that he returns to me, but so that he doesn't hurt others in the future. I pray that he comes to understand the meaning of the word "compassion". He forebid me to use that word during our relationship.

I grieve for Andrea, for the things she has lost without even understanding that they are gone. I grieve for the day that she finds out the painful truths that came to me... that once the bridges are burned and the relationships are destroyed, who is there to catch you when he pushes you away? I grieve for her children... for the day that a judge rules and those children either go to live with their father (and apart from their mother) or the day that they go to live with their mother, knowing that they will face the same injustices that my children faced, knowing that she, like me, will have to choose at times between her partner and her children. I grieve for Bobby, for the multitude of "fathers" he has had and the multitude of "mothers" he has had already in his short life and how he is growing up with the concept that relationships are temporary. I worry that this will make him unable to understand and honor commitments. Truly, when he was with us he always felt like he could be disrespectful of me and frequently walked all over me - he knew what I didn't fully comprehend - I was temporary. I pray for these young hearts that are being formed even now.

There are still things that haunt me and I am trying to talk them over with God instead of arguing with a man who can't (and never could!) hear me. I'm realizing that the battle is no longer mine to fight, that I have to rest and heal and prepare. There is so much ahead of me. I can enjoy it so much more without shackles weighing me down.

More later... love and hugs!


cw2smom said...

Wow! Truly a heartfelt post that touched my heart Sweetie! What a difficult time you all have been through. You've learned and are moving on! Michael and his other woman will have to learn through their life's lessons and it's definitely not worth your time to worry or rehash everything that's now in the past. What's done is done. You are wise and compassionate to pray for all it will bring you peace and forgiveness. Hang in there! Hugs, Lisa

*Tracy* said...

it doesnt sound like you would ever be good enough for him and thats okay because you have to know deep down how wonderful of a person you are and all that you have to offer. his loss he couldnt appreciate you. hope you get to feelin better. hugs

sober white women said...

I only have a few moments, so I wanted to stop by and say thanks for being theree for me! O.K. now back to my triplets!

Peaceful Epiphany said...

I hope your prayers are answered. You are probably the ONLY one praying for MJD.

Unfortunately, I doubt MJD will ever "FEEL". I highly doubt he has a caring bone in his body. That switch turned off in his body during HIS upbringing. Thank HIS mom for THAT one.

As for Andrea, I will never understand her. She saw your pain and aginy, yet signed up for the gig herself. I say if she wants to learn this lesson, let her. Don't feel sorry for her, she willingly put herslef in this position. Feel sorry for her children and Dean whom she dragged into this position unwillingly. THEY didn't sign up for this and THEY don't deserve one ounce of pain she and MJD are giving them. I pray for THEM daily.

Andrea and MJD are cut from the same cloth. Let them lie in it. You and Dean are better off without them. So are the kids. Praying for the kids.

slj said...

It's hard to give up on the dream of what could have been. No matter what you could have done wrong, it does not justify his being unfaithful.
Set him aside and follow the path that God has for you. It will hold much more than your marriage to Michael did.
I am still dealing with the thoughts of what could have been. Although those times are getting more infrequent. With Gods help, I will find a journey much more pleasant than the one I was on.
Hugs, Sheri

Tina of Moon Shine said...

when I found out about "bitch" I was a lot like Dean. Now that I look back on it, I wish I hadn't done any of those things. But nothing anyone said to me would have stopped it. It waS just something I worked through on my own. It is not good for Dean to keep arguing with Andrea. He might as well bang his head against the wall. At some point he will realize that Andrea is someone he doesn't want anything to do with. I hope it is soon.
as for you, you have traveled so far. I do not think it is good for you to hear about Egypt But if you do have to discuss it, I am glad it is from afar.
take care