Dear Diary: Stuck in the Muddy Mess of Recovery
If you've been following along in The Grey Diaries series, you'll know that my husband was set to come home from treatment and I was pretty nervous! This diary entry is a few months post-treatment and we're trying to work things out, or rather, I'm trying to work things out and my husband trying to deal with it!
If you've been through recovery with a loved one, I am sure you know it's very difficult to not get expectations up about what kind of person you're going to see come home. We hope for someone new and totally changed but often, we get the same person back- sober. This is actually a good thing, despite how frustrating it can be because recovery is a process- for all involved! [Read more about your role in recovery here] It's important to walk through healing together or else all that will be left of the relationship is a load of unresolved issues and mistrust.
My husband fought me every step of the way when it came to "talking it out". He still doesn't love to talk about anything in the past but I believe he also now sees the value in resolving the hurt. That's the key to remember when you're going through this: There is hurt there. Sometimes, so much hurt and shame that the conversations are too difficult to have but if you leave the wound bleeding, it will always hurt you.
Because I have made many mistakes, this is what I would have done differently (maybe it will help you!):
First, find personal healing so we can have the conversations we need to have without getting upset.
Second, exercise patience with other people's pain and shame as they work through issues at their own pace.
Third, pray for our loved one's hearts to be softened as we gently continue to encourage and have those tough conversations.
Keep talking. Keep praying. Keep loving. And never let go of God.
Thursday, March 19, 2015-
What was it my dad always said was the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I am a caretaker. Your caretaker. Because I love you, I have put you first since the beginning of our relationship. Isn't that what a marriage is? Our marriage is out of balance.
You've been getting so jealous. Jealous of other men (I literally go nowhere). Jealous when I visit my parents (I stay home or visit my grandmother!). You're always making comments about what I'm wearing, that I look too good or you ask who I'm dressing up for....... it's you. I'm dressing up for you! When I confront you about your jealousy, you deny its existence. There’s never a resolution!
Why are you so jealous? Is it guilt? Guilt for all the lies? Or worse, guilt because you're guilty of the very thing you're accusing me of?
I feel lost. I wasn't some New York City businesswoman but I was building a sustainable career before I met you. I was proud of the little townhouse I rented all on my own for my son and I. I was a good mom. I was paying off my school debt. I had friends. I had a church family. I had a happy life.
I feel like I'm carrying you. Never mind the financial aspect, money doesn't equal security. You and I are married. We’re one. In our "oneness" you've dragged me down and now as much as I try, I can’t seem to get back up. You’re stuck down there in the mud and I'm stuck there with you. What is my option? Just sit here? Waiting?
If I cut you loose and go my own way, I am certain I will lose you... I don't want to lose you.
I wanted a partner but don’t feel like I have one [have you felt that way? Stay tuned for next week to read, "Letting Go of the Dream of Partnership in Marriage"]. It’s me and the kids versus you.
Sometimes, I feel like I'm being too hard on you. I expect too much. I tell myself to lower my expectations and try to be happy with what you offer but you demand a great reward for minimal change. Applause and accolation for the sacrifice of sobriety. I'm not going to do that. Not yet.
What have I asked of you in return for the sacrifice of simply sitting in this mud pit? Only to play with and listen to the children, love me, spend time with me and make decisions that don’t make life difficult for us. I hope and pray you'll one day become the spiritual head of our home. That's not being too hard on you, in fact, I think I'm being too kind. I have made too many excuses and accepted too little.
I wonder (although Joyce Meyer says wondering can get you into trouble in the battle of your mind!) if you will ever be that kind of husband for me. I know you will try- and try very hard. I KNOW that God can heal our marriage from ALL of this.
“For this people’s heart has grown callous; their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn back— and I would heal them”
I don’t want to keep speaking about the problem. I want to bear fruit and grow in God’s grace! I want to speak mercy on you but I also don’t want to be foolish and put the children or myself in a harmful situation. I don’t want to condemn you for things you have been forgiven for but we need to deal with what is still happening or was left unravelling. Wise people allow God to unpack their baggage.
My covenant with God from Grandma Pearl was:
“I MUST give thanks in everything. When I thank and praise God for qualifying and making me FIT to share what my portion is right now I am partaking in the inheritance of the saints. There is no greater calling! Don’t forget, the children of Israel suffered for forty years in the desert because they always murmured and complained!”
Okay, Lord. My faith can pull us through in this mud so long as my hope is anchored to heaven. If God has called me to be your caretaker then I will do it with vigour until He tells me to let go.
Come, my love, give me your hand. We are walking out of this together.