I'm Still in this Marriage...but we can't talk anymore.

COMMUNICATION: WE CAN’T TALK WITHOUT FIGHTING!

In the next few weeks I will write how difficult communication was after the damage of infidelity. I include this very personal journal entry for two reasons: to share honesty the damage done, and to give hope that healing is possible. Whether you choose to stay in the marriage or leave, healthy communication is essential especially if children are involved. Therefore, I will paint a picture of both scenarios, before healing (with a journal entry in the moment) and after healing (what our life is like today.) The key point...healing is both necessary and obtainable.

Journal Entry November 17, 2007
Today I kept myself extremely busy. I did this to distract myself from the misery. When my thoughts drifted “that” direction, I tried to praise the Lord, or sing a song. When I finally got home at about 7:30pm, I was determined to stay upbeat and not mope around.
David wanted to take me to dinner and a movie. So incredibly tired of talking about our mess, a normal evening sounded like a good plan. I endeavored to keep the conversation light as I chatted about the day. Everything went fine until I mentioned some friends who were celebrating their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary in Hawaii.
A sad expression shadowed David’s face and he asked me a pointed question. “Do you feel sad when you hear about other happy marriages?”
Because I craved a day of peace, I chose not to speak and nodded instead. Inside my head, however, contemptuous thoughts screamed out. Of course I feel sad. Their twenty-five years didn’t encompass infidelity. They actually have something to celebrate, unlike the farce of our twenty-fifth.
Dark, heavy, silence ensued. Like a walk through the catacombs, death arrived. Nothing was left but musty, dark, remnants of another time and place, decisions that could not be undone. A hundred “what ifs” echoed off the walls of the tomb that shrouded our table.
Neither of us speaking, we sat across from each other unable to make eye contact. My brain raced for something to talk about, anything that did not take us back to that dark wretched place. Nothing came to mind. I looked over at him, and then out the window. The storms of life were clearly etched in the deep furrows of his brow.
I vigilantly tried to contain my tears now perilously close to the surface. I refused to cry, determined to have one day without the wretched sorrow. I plastered a smile on my face. My cheeks ached from the effort.
He saw through the ruse. “We have nothing left. The one thing that has always been easy between us is gone. We can’t even talk anymore.”
I fiddled with my napkin unable to look at him.
“Blossom, it’s never been this way between us…we might as well admit the truth. We’re done!”
“Further more,” he added, “You don’t even like me.
“I…I…”
He stilled my words with a wave of his hand as he continued to speak. “I don’t blame you—but when I talk to you on the phone you are flat. There’s not an ounce of inflection or warmth in your voice. When you get home, you rarely look at me. I feel that you want me anywhere but in your sight.”
I glanced up from the tacky floral tablecloth that had my rapt attention to refute his accusation. A river of hurt flowed from his eyes and I realized in that moment how damaged he was. Sin does that, it looks good in the moment and then devours the soul.

           
“I’m trying,” I countered. “I really am. I’ve worked hard today to keep my spirits up. I'm so tired of this pain...”
“Yes, you’ve always done your duty, Blossom, in every way. You could be as mad as hell, and you would still make me supper, or pack a lunch, or clean the house—that’s your personality—but that’s not relationship. You don’t even want me to touch you. I can feel your angst every time I try to hug you, or hold your hand. You stiffen up and look away. There’s a distance in your eyes that says it all.”
I sat there unable to argue the point. I knew he was right. Things were just as he said. It was over. Truthfully, most of the time I couldn’t stand him because in my minds eye, all I could see was the two of them together.
A moment of relief washed over me as a weird kaleidoscope of emotions swirled through my brain. I contemplated a new life—far away from the reminder of him and all he did to us. Then I remembered that it was up to God, and it wasn’t over until He said it was over. Immediately the angst and the battle in my mind returned. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get through all the hard work of restoring this marriage. Truthfully, the challenges seemed insurmountable. I felt exhausted. In my own strength I had nothing left to give and I couldn’t fake it.
“Let’s go home,” he said dejectedly. “I don’t feel like a movie.”
“Me neither,” I agreed as we rose to leave.
To be continued...
The Challenge of Communication after Betrayal
WHEN A FRIEND CALLS!
 

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Sunday, 18 August 2019

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