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Hi, Crystal,

 

God is on His throne and definately still producing miracles. Your post is very similar to something I am wrestling with, but I'm not quite ready to post about, yet. My innocence was stolen from me as a child, and then, like you, I kept giving it away, and then, felt guilt and shame for not being a "good" Christian. One book that really helped me process a lot of it is "The Healing Heart". I learned that when a child's (or young woman's) boundaries are violated in this way, the one thing we should have had the ultimate control over has been brutally breached, and it skews our thinking about boundaries. We lose our sense of self, and fall prey to predators and lies that convince us "It's ok, it's only making out, not intercourse," or "Just a little bit longer. Nothing bad happened last time," or the one that caused my downfall, "We're going to get married anyway". Even though it sounds like that man didn't force you, he still took adavantage of a young, vulnerable girl who was not emotionally ready for physical intimacy. He probably knew better, but did it anyway.

 

Like you, I wonder if all the violations and giving away are interfering with our sex life. I believe it is, but I also believe that what we gave away was not our fault. Sin, yes, but we were set up by the evil that was done to us in the first place.

 

I still have a long way to go in the healing department, because, like you, I don't dislike sex, but my husband is right when he says I wouldn't miss it. And I've been struggling with knowing all Kathy endured and yet, she seems to always have been able to have an active sex life. Sigh. Another block in the "See there's something wrong with you pile". That's why I haven't posted about this issue, yet. One, I'm afraid to get too close to it, and two, once again, the enemy convinced me no one would relate.

 

I still have a deep repulsion. I feel guilty about that. I feel guilty about all of it.

 

I don't have a very good handle on this part, but here goes. Guilt is destructive and used by the enemy to keep us convinced that we are unforgiveable. When he comes along with guilt messages, the line I rely on is, "When the enemy reminds you of your past, remind him of his future". The Holy Spirit will convict us when we sin, but I would imagine you have already asked God for forgiveness for your mistake w/ that first man, and God has wiped the slate clean for that. You are no longer condemned for your mistake.

 

Is this really stupid and childish to be thinking about? Much less talking about? And most of all, how do I purge all that from my memory? I woke up thinking about it---I don't want it there at all.

 

I don't think what you're feeling is stupid or childish at all. I think Satan gets great delight out of destrying something God intended for our pleasure. And when the damage has been done, we are left to try to put the pieces back together but we are never the same. I don't know that you can purge all those horrible memories, but I do know that by sharing them with someone, they lose their grip on you. I once told LO about something awful that haunted me for years, and it was very difficult and painful to do, but it no longer haunted me. I still have the memory, but the self-contempt and guilt and shame I felt are no longer there. I think it's because we are shedding light on the secret, and it loses it's power then.

 

I am so glad that Joel posted about how the healing comes. I kind of suspected it would work that way, it's nice to know I was on the right track. :wink: Also, God reveals to heal. I may be off base here, but maybe He is reminding you of these things because now it's time to share it with Brass so you can start to heal. Thank you for sharing this part of your journey with us. You are helping me, too. :) God bless you.

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I can't express how thankful I am for all of your non-judgemental responses.

 

My Sunday morning thoughts about my past came out of the blue. I knew they were there, but it was unexpected that I would open up about it Sunday morning and I had no idea how much it really matters in the healing of my marriage. It has a lot to do with it!

 

In unrelated Bible Study prior to my outpouring confession to you on Sunday morning, I have been marveling about what CHRIST did for me on the cross. The following three passages have been on my mind:

 

John 3:14-15 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

 

Numbers 21: 8-9 The LORD said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live." So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.

 

2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

 

In the John 3:14-15 passage, it's unclear what Christ has to do with the snake, but with meditation, it seems obvious that the snake/serpent is sin. In the garden of Eden, the snake was SIN himself, Satan.

 

The Numbers passage clarifies somewhat that until we look directly at our sin, we can't live. Look at the snake and live. In scripture, the snake isn't a good thing. The cross, in reality isn't a good thing---it's gross, it's horrible---and yet we have to look at it to live.

 

2 Corinthians brings it all together for me. Christ BECAME sin for me, for us, for you. We have to come to full realization that he didn't just die for our sins, but he BECAME sin for us. It's just beyond human comprehension to realize that depth of sacrifice and love.

 

How does this relate to my marriage? Wow. Scripture compares my relationship with Brass to Christ's relationship to the Church. I have to completely trust him with my confessions from the past. That's asking an awful lot of a mere human being, my husband, who in the past has shown me how untrustworthy he is and how breakable/weak he is. I'm getting the idea that it's up to me to do more than ask Christ to forgive me, I've done that and he has, but for the healing of our marriage bed, I have to trust Brass to accept my baggage as his own---just like Joel and Kathy say in the DVDs---he is responsible for healing me of my past wounds in this physical world.

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And I've been struggling with knowing all Kathy endured and yet, she seems to always have been able to have an active sex life. Sigh. Another block in the "See there's something wrong with you pile".

 

 

For both of you - to take pressure off; Kathy was highly motivated to make love in our bad days, feeling like that would keep us together.

 

A few years ago, Kathy thought something was wrong with her because she was not highly motivated anymore to initiate.

 

We realized that this was actually part of her healing; that she was now able to just relax and enjoy my initiating.

 

So, our love life functions smoothly - I initiate which Kathy loves - and if I am in the mood for her to initiate, I simply say, "Hey Kathy, do you feel like initiating tonight?" or "how would you like to initiate tonight?"

 

Making love is the absolute best idea that God came up with - the crown jewel of His creation; God's proof, everyday - that He really is a GOOD God.

 

That is why the enemy has attacked this area with such vengence. He is out to destroy women - so he attacks the thing that is most personal to a woman.

 

God is so good - all the time.

 

Congratulations, both of you, as you are entering this next phase of healing.

 

Chrystal - you are definitely on the right track - time for brass to demonstrate that he has been maturing!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank-you Joel for that bit of encouragement. It means a lot to me.

 

Brass and I haven't begun working on the above mentioned "problem". We're making love, but I mean, I haven't brought up any of it to him yet.

 

We had several cruddy weeks. Not horrible by any means, but Brass was stuck in passive defending. Things like, "I'm NOT arguing!" "How is THIS arguing?" Those kinds of conversation stoppers. He kept telling me that he was a safe place, that I should tell him anything, but he wasn't. Last week there was a palpable change in the air between us. The week was dreamy, he rubbed my feet while we talked before he left for work in the afternoon. He felt safe and comfortable and dreamy. Yesterday I asked him what the change was all about...his answer made me laugh.

 

He said that sometime last weekend he had told me that he was praying that the sin of his heart would be revealed. I don't remember this, but I don't deny it, he says I whopped him in the arm and told him to "quit praying for me to be frustrated!!" He said he first thought of saying out loud that THAT's not what he was praying at all. I give him credit that he didn't defend himself, otherwise I might have remembered the conversation. Instead he was quiet and as he thought he realized I was right. He says he changed his prayer to be a blessing to me. My prayer is GOD LET THIS PRAYER get stuck in his heart!!!

 

Yesterday, we also had a minor little conflict, that I was fretting out loud about. He wasn't defending himself, he wasn't saying anything. He was thinking that he was doing his whole part by not defending, while I was analyzing his silence. We both realized that we had forgotten the next step after not defending is taking responsibility, you see, even though THIS TIME he was innocent of my accusation, he still needed to claim and take responsibility for it, because otherwise I wouldn't have made the accusation at all if he hadn't been feeding me death for all those years. The issue I was fretting about was paying for our lunch. It was not a big deal that I was buying our lunch, but in years past he always expected me to pay. He was always protective of his personal money supply, it couldn't be spent on anyone but himself, so I always paid when we were together. This started when we were dating, I was a working professional, he was a poor, non-employed student. This time I believe he simply was not paying attention and forgot, but it triggered his years of selfishness.

 

So now if he can just REMEMBER those lessons!! I want to quit having to be his "teacher". After this week I feel much more hopeful.

 

We talk a lot about helping other marriages that we know of that are having problems. We know we have a ways to go before we can be a real help, but it's in our hearts. A lot of times I know I'm not where I should be when I'm listening to the calls and my feelings about some of the comments women make are "Come ON! Snap out of it, be a woman" My thoughts still expect the woman to be more of a man and then when I hear Dory or Analea or Michael or Nemo agree with the woman, I realize that I'm still expecting myself to be the man.

 

A year ago when I (again) caught Brass pleasuring himself I was finally motivated to give him "Livin it and Lovin it". I remember that I thought of telling him to ignore the first two chapters, I remember thinking that it was asking too much of him to expect him to actually love me. It's funny to look back, now I realize that's one of the most important things! Neither of us remember whether or not I actually told him to skip to the 3rd or 4th chapter, but Brass says that if I did, at that time it would have been exactly the thing to tell him to make sure he WOULD read it. He was a silent control freak, we both know it now and we can laugh about it. It feels so good to be able to laugh with him. So good....

 

Another step that Brass is taking now as of this past week...

 

He has been a "good Christian man" in the church for years. I have told him that he needs to confess to the church. It's been hard for him---he seems to not want to deny that his works were good. He continues to hold up his own "Fig Leaf", an analogy we use for trying to make himself look good, referring to the garden of Eden when man's own fig leaf didn't cover his nakedness, there needed to be blood shed. God sacrificed the first animal to make skins to cover their nakedness. It's been difficult for Brass to accept that his motives weren't the most pure motives. The church has held him in high esteem, and he would have to be humiliated by telling the truth. This week, he at least came to the point that he admitted his motives were not pure (selfish gain, trying to look good, self-justification, deceit etc) He finally seems to be claiming those wrong motives. Hasn't been easy for him.

 

Anyhow, that's all for now. Thanks again for listening. :)

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  • 2 months later...

It's now fifteen months after Brass's eye opening. If this forum had existed earlier, I would have had hundreds of posts leading up to the big change. I met "Man of Her Dreams" at least fifteen months earlier. Those were 15 excruciating months leading up to my new man. I had read both books 1 and 2, and I had given the first book to my husband which he rejected, because he was already a great husband, it's just that I didn't appreciate him. . . After only one or two posts on the forum I was encouraged to continue pushing him to read both books. He read book two along with some of the posts I printed from the forum and next thing I new he was a new guy.

 

He and I were both amazed at the immediate change in our marriage.

 

I have to remind myself of that now when I'm reading some of the newer "converts" to J&K and how quickly the guys seem to catch on. I have to remember our "Man of Her Dreams" honeymoon phase. It was good then and it's even better now fifteen months down the road, but this far down the road, it's also easy to get discouraged.

 

Discouraged. Yeah.

 

That's how I often feel recently. Every now and then he has to remind me or I remind him that both J&K and the Hegstroms say it takes a good three years.

 

Recently we've had a horrible cycle of "he gets it" and "what's wrong with this guy???!!!" Up and down. Reading back in my thread here and when I was esvi, I see that it's a running theme. Brass often makes dramatic changes from "All about me-compassion" to "All about him-defensive" without warning and it's always throwing me off balance and makes it harder to trust him as a safe place when he IS a safe place.

 

We went on a short vacation last week that started out dreamy, but ended up horribly, because he was trying to read my mind, he thought, without me being given the opportunity to tell him what was on my mind. Our youngest son was with us, so I was a hesitant to tell Brass that he was being stupid in front of our son. I can't even tell you without blushing some of the things he did. Real clueless guy kinda things. I felt like he was using our son as a shield for his bad behavior. Can't go into detail in a short paragraph. Anyhow, the week ended up, at least in my mind, a disaster.

 

We've been trying to figure out what's wrong that he keeps having these personality swings....good husband/bad husband....Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde. The change can happen in a single day...sometimes I can sense it in a single moment.

 

We were discussing it on one of his good mornings this week before he left for work. After he left home, he texted me "Trying to balance humility and confidence."

 

By this morning it came to me....his focus is on himself when he is trying to balance between humility and confidence. Humility and confidence are closely related because when you try to focus on being either one, it becomes the opposite of your desired outcome. It's like Peter when he walked on water and when he began thinking about it he started sinking. Brass is responding to me when he goes up and down like that. When he's in "good husband mode" he reacts to my affirmations and feels confident in himself, then when he feels confident in himself I react negatively to his arrogance and he reacts to me reacting negatively and I react to him reacting negatively and he reacts to me reacting to him reacting negatively and we spiral downward. It's stuff we should have gotten over a long time ago, but we're slow...we never went to an

intensive and .......

 

 

 

We've had some great conversation today that has been very J&K. I can and do make a lot of excuses for Brass. 1. He's not great on a keyboard and he's not computer literate (he could be if he wanted to), so he has trouble communicating on and reading the forum. He has made ONE post in 15 months. He works all evenings Sunday through Thursday, so he can't be on the calls. We haven't been to an intensive, because because because. . . .

 

So...this evening, he is finally making some noises like we might be able to manage going to an Intensive...(insert a quiet "YES!") and he is looking at his schedule. Woo Hoo!!

 

I'm excited that he is actually considering it. I think we have progressed pretty well on our own, but I think we can make some more palpable progress with just a little help from our friends.

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  • 4 weeks later...

It's (Mostly) His Fault by Robert Mark Alter

 

Someone here on the forum recommended this book. I received it in the mail yesterday. My reaction: I can't stop giggling!

 

I have not laughed much in my adult life. I have a social laugh that I have mastered. It's a sincere laugh of enjoyment in the conversation, but it's not from that deep giggly place where laughter comes from when you're 12 years old trying to be quiet in church and while your looking at your best friend somebody in the church passes gas and you can't stop laughing. That's the kind of pure laughter that I'm talking about. It's rare, it's incredibly healthy, and it'a a laughter that you can't create or force.

 

I got the book yesterday and took it with me to the soccer fields to look at while my son practiced soccer. Simply reading the cover flap made the little child in me bubble in delight. Gotta tell you more!

 

It's the same message as Joel and Kathy, without the benefit of Christ. It doesn't replace Joel and Kathy's book by any stretch of the imagination. Mr. Alter does quote a few Bible verses along with other less dependable sources, but that doesn't make it Christian. The author is a psychotherapist and he comes from a secular viewpoint. His view of man is that deep inside we're all *good*. As Christian's we know that's not true. He describes the changes as losing that hard exterior mask that has been learned from society or (ahem) religiosity or upbringing or whatever to get to that good interior. Oh well, it's another way of visualizing it.

 

In contrast to this book, the first time I read Joel and Kathy's book I cried and cried and cried to know that somebody understood what I was going through, that I wasn't alone. Joel and Kathy claim the rights to participating in pulling my husband out of the grasp of hell.

 

With that said, Mr. Alter's book is awesome. It is so down to earth. Because we're already walking on the same road, I don't feel the same anguish I felt when I read "Man of Her Dreams", so maybe that's why this book is so much fun to read. With chapter names like "The Five Big Lies That Keep You from Changing" and "How to Know When You're Being a Man as Opposed to When You're Being an A*sshole" ya know it's gotta be good.

 

It talks straight to the heart of the matter: grow up and be a man. I can predict that my husband will balk at reading it. He'll read it and read something totally different that what I'm reading in it and then he'll feel confident that he's "got it right this time." What's so reassuring about this book is that they are ALL alike. They all think they're thinking individualists, but they aren't. It just cracks me up and makes me feel happy that God has put me where I am right now. He's equipped us both. I feel strongly like we're gonna make it.

 

I haven't finished reading this book, I've skipped around reading the chapters that interest me---and have totally enjoyed it so far. It's funny, my husband can't do that, he can't skip around when reading a book. He has to start at the beginning and read word for word, and I think it gets all difficult to digest when one reads in that way. He gets bogged down and decides if the first few chapters aren't applicable then none of the book is applicable. One of those weird things, that makes me say "Why do you DO that?" Anyhow, so far, it's a book I recommend. Especially for people who have been with Joel and Kathy for some time. It's encouraging.

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It's (Mostly) His Fault Is written to men. It's encouraging, direct and funny. The closing chapter is a message to women readers and I want to share a few excerpts. The phrase that jumped out at me is "Believe in your anger." Especially at the point where my husband and me are, where he "does good" a lot of the time, he continues to slip into old patterns of behavior and I get much more angry about it than I feel like I should. "Believe in your anger." Expect more.

 

 

 

 

 

Do Your Part

 

by Robert mark Alter

(It's (mostly) His Fault)

 

 

* Know that you're right in wanting what you want from him.

 

*Hold him to your highest standard of behavior toward you.

 

* Trust your dissatisfaction and anger with him and when necessary get angry at him.

 

* Stay on his case.

 

* Remember you're in a fight. Fight hard, and fight long, and don't worry about losing some battles, but win the fight.

 

* In everything you do or say, be strategic.

 

* Get the help and support you need from wherever you can find it.

 

* Know that you're the teacher of your husband and teach him well.

 

* Do your own inner work and address your own issues around relationship and intimacy.

 

* Be both impatient and patient with your husband as he takes his journey of change.

 

* Know that you are the goal of his journey, that all his efforts culminate in your being pleased with him.

 

* Keep a steady stream of appreciations flowing to him and in the form of grateful words and whatever other ways you know he likes to be thanked. As your husband does his work and walks the path of his transformation, never underestimate the power of your acknowledgment, appreciation, and admiration of what he's doing.

 

Acknowledge Yourself

 

While you're giving him all that acknowledgment for what he's doing, make sure to acknowledge, appreciate, and admire yourself for what you're doing. What you're doing is no picnic. You are a woman trying to change a man in a deeply entrenched global culture of male autonomy and superiority and dominance that decrees that a man should not be subject to change by a woman. You are trying to assert a right---the right to have a husband who always treats you with utmost respect---that has never been asserted so strongly and on such a large scale on this earth before.

 

It's hard. "Disciplining masculinity that takes its superiority for granted," says psychoanalyst Marion Woodman, "demands as much strength and vigilance as training a wild horse that's never known a harness."

 

 

 

A Woman's Proclamation of Power

 

by Robert Mark Alter

(It's (mostly) His Fault)

 

* It's the power to believe in yourself---that you are connected to truth, that what you think and feel and say is true, and that you know the difference between truth and untruth.

 

* It is the power to know what you want and what you don't want from your husband, to know what's okay and what's not okay with you in his behavior to you.

 

* It's a teaching power, and it teaches your husband right behavior toward you and it derives its authority from universal laws of right behavior which you read about in you r books of wisdom and which you know in your heart to be true.

 

* It's the power to say yes to whatever you want to say yes to, and to say no to whatever you want to say no to, and the right to change your mind when you want to.

 

* It is the power to say yes or no to sex, depending on how you're feeling at that moment and how you're feeling about him.

 

* It's the power to set boundaries with him---times and spaces and possessions that are yours, not his---and to draw behavioral lines he may not cross.

 

* It's the power to tell him all this and keep telling him all this until he gets it that you mean what you're saying---and what you're most deeply saying is that he must change in the ways you're telling him to change.

 

* It's the power to know what's the appropriate and correct action to take or the words to say in any and all dealings with him, and to do it and to say it.

 

* It's the power to say, "It's not okay to talk to me disrespectfully," and to leave the room if he does.

 

* It is the power to leave the marriage if he treats you disrespectfully.

 

* It is the power to not take any form of abuse anymore from him or anyone.

 

* It's the power to want respect and attention and connection and communication from him, and to say, "We have to sit down together and talk about our relationship," when you're not getting these.

 

* It is the power to ask and expect your husband to live from his greatness, as you are trying to live from your greatness.

 

* It's a power that brings you and your husband and your whole family and all things together. It is a peaceful, gentle, compassionate and benevolent power that seeks the good of all. It's the power of love. It is the most powerful force in the universe, and it's a fighting force. It fights for the good and the true and the right; and it fights hard, well, and long; and in the end it always wins.

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 months later...

I'm a loser.

 

I'm not going to dwell on this, I'm going to post it, understand it and move on. I appreciate Joel's devotional on Zephaniah 3:17 yesterday, specifically "He will rejoice over you with singing." with Joel's comment that God is not mad at you.

 

Because I'm feeling like a loser. This is what I won't dwell on. I will dwell on the fact that Christ is rejoicing over me with singing.

 

I'm a loser. My two oldest boys are already grown up and they're taking what they learned from their parents (us) into their relationships. I'm afraid they aren't taking the best. I'm afraid I ruined them.

 

. . . I brought a book into our home this week and was reading it. It's from the psych section in the bookstore about families of people with personality disorder. I brought it home with the idea that I need to understand how to relate to my mother in law. She is about the most self-loving person I know and she's hard for me to deal with.

 

The book began with a clear description of my husband's childhood family. I wasn't surprised. The authors labeled his family "overt". Very easy family to identify. The next section began a description of the "covert" dysfunctional family. This part amazed me, because they described my family. My "normal" childhood family. They described scenes when the father beat the daughter and the little girl felt like she deserved being beaten. I thought to myself, well, that's almost like our family, except that I actually deserved it. They mentioned again how the dad would beat the daughter and the daughter thought she was to blame, and I thought to myself, yeah, but in my family, I really was the one to blame. I stopped reading the book and went on with my day thinking that the covert family was "almost" like ours.

 

Then I went to bed. When I awakened in the morning, the memory of my dad beating me was fresh in my mind and not until then did I realize that I didn't deserve it. I don't know how often it happened, but it was generally a bedtime battle. I thought I deserved it, because clearly I wasn't obeying him and going to sleep like I'd been told.

 

We had a two bedroom house until I was born in the family. I was the third child and my family needed more room, so my dad, being the handy guy he was closed in the front porch and turned it into a long narrow bedroom that held two twin beds end to end. The window that used to look from the living room onto the front yard became the doorway of my bedroom. The doorway didn't have a door that could be closed. My dad used to stay up late watching t.v., and the t.v. would keep me awake so even though I knew I wasn't supposed to I would turn around in my bed and peek out from the blankets at the foot of my bed. I'd have to be very quiet. My dad would have to punish me and I remember that if I protested too loudly he would spank me more and sometimes I remember him taking off his stinky sock and stuffing it in my mouth to keep me quiet. I was a bad little girl. I was the bad one of the four of us, I was the only one who was beaten that I know of. I knew my dad was a good dad because he didn't beat my other sisters, just me, but I deserved it. I was an annoying little girl too, I used to follow him around and ask questions and I remember him screaming at me to get off his back.

 

I learned to stay away from him and I learned not to cry.

 

A couple weeks ago Eric took the boys on an overnight river trip and left me home alone. It is a rare rare rare event that I ever have time alone. it went all too quickly. The reason I mention it is that while they were gone, I took some time to pray aloud. I ended up crying and I don't like crying and it ruined my day. It took me a week and a half to pray again. I didn't like crying at all. It makes me feel out of control.

 

I dont like being out of control. Out of control is bad. That's one reason I don't like alcohol. It makes me cry and be out of control. Out of control is bad. When I was a kid and experimented with marijuana, I cried and cried and cried and cried and it was the most horrible experience ever. When I was in nursing school a long time ago almost everybody smoked tobacco. I tried to start smoking, but even tobacco made me depressed instead of relaxed. I refused drugs when I had babies and was able to keep control for most of the labor and delivery until the last moments of the last baby, 12 years ago, I lost control and screamed and I felt so ashamed when Eric told somebody that I was a a bigger baby than our new baby. He didn't know how I fought to keep control through the whole thing so that I would not upset my husband. I was almost able to keep under control.

 

I do not like to lose control.

 

I think I am like a duck egg. The shell of a duck egg is lots tougher than a chicken egg. I feel myself losing control. My shell is getting thin and there is nothing but yucky stuff inside.

 

I am terrified of the Intensive. Will I lose control? Will I end up like humpty dumpty with my yucky insides all exposed and bad? If somebody can come up with an emotionally prettier picture than humpty dumpty for me to think about happening when my eggshell cracks, then jump in and re-paint this image for me. I know I'm not hardboiled inside and I don't think my husband will be too happy.

 

Enough about me. I don't know. I'm really reluctant to say when Eric does well. It seems like a jynx and he disappoints. This process for the past 18 months has been about fixing him. My new insight has shown me again that I was raised in a home that put my dad's feelings ahead of my own. My tendency is to put Eric's feelings first and in that sense I keep messing up this process.

 

There are other reasons that attending the Intensive in September terrifies me, but that's all the time I have to dwell on me for now. toodles.

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Oh, Crystal,

 

I'm so sorry to hear how much you are hurting.

 

I thought I deserved it, because clearly I wasn't obeying him and going to sleep like I'd been told.

 

I was an annoying little girl too, I used to follow him around and ask questions and I remember him screaming at me to get off his back.

Dear Crystal, there is nothing, I repeat N - O - T - H - I - N - G that a child could do that would deserve the cruelty you endured as a child. It was not punishment or correction, it was abuse. I used to think I deserved the things adults did to me when I was a child, but I am grown now, and I have studied child-care and cared for hundreds of children. I have learned that children will test your patience and push every one of your buttons because they want to be in control. And many adults feel that their lives' are out of control, so children should be controllable. They are horrified to learn that you can't control children, so they get frustrated and angry. They are already frustrated and angry and it has nothing to do with children, but they can take out all their frustrations on a helpless child because the child can't fight back, and so they do. Children believe that they are the cause of everything that happens in the world, and an abuser somehow knows this and pours on the guilt. It's so unfair. An innocent child is treated cruelly, and then led to believe it's their fault.

 

I didn't like crying at all. It makes me feel out of control.

 

I feel the same way, but I have also learned that the only way to get rid of all the ugly stuff others have poured into our souls, is to cry. To let it out. To scream at the ceiling how unfair it was. To pound on a pillow until I collapse in an exhausted heap. You feel like a loser. God did not plant that in you, your abusers did. But you have to get it out so you can make room for all the wonderful good God wants to fill you with.

 

I am terrified of the Intensive. Will I lose control? Will I end up like humpty dumpty with my yucky insides all exposed and bad?

 

I felt the same way. I felt like I was going to fall completely apart if anyone went anywhere near any of the pain I was hiding inside. I did fall apart. But here's the cool thing ~ Joel and Kathy know what is inside a woman's heart. They know about all the guilt and shame and lies and pain, and they are not afraid to help you face it. If God can forgive those who murdered His Son, then I think it's safe to say that no ugly secrets that are tormenting you, are ugly enough to pull you away from the grace of God. I have done things I am ashamed of, but I have asked forgiveness, and I know that my sins have been washed away. I also know that we are human. We are going to mess up. We can't help it. It's what we do after we mess up that matters.

 

I don't know if you were looking for a response here or not, but you sounded like you were hurting so badly. I pray God will reveal His Amazing Grace to you and comfort you. Btw, Amazing Grace was written by a slave trader who was so evil, his own crew tried to kill him. God got ahold of him, and I believe he is in heaven. You are loved, dear Chrystal. Never forget that.

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Thank-you AC for responding---it's nice to be acknowledged. I just needed to get that off my chest and it's not something I plan to dwell on. It's good to put it into words on the forum, because it helped me express it to my husband without him getting the idea I was wanting sympathy. I really really appreciate your words of encouragement. I don't know why I've been feeling so terrified of the intensive. Awhile back I told Eric that I was scared that I'd have to start being a "good wife" after the intensive and surprisingly his response was no, I dont' have to. That was very reassuring to hear.

 

Damsel asked me some questions on my husband's thread and I thought I should answer here. Thanks for asking, Damsel.

 

How is he doing on the 20 hugs, smiles, kisses?

 

Sometimes not too badly, sometimes not too well. Never yet consistantly.

 

how is he doing on reading ten minutes a day? And you?

 

Actually he began reading aloud to me from MOHD/WOH today. He's starting to take responsibility. . . maybe.

 

How are you two doing on watching the DVD set one hour per week?

 

Not.

 

How are you guys doing on getting on at least one call per week?

 

Not.

 

How is he doing on being a positive and loving force in the home in general, during the week?

 

I don't want to be too encouraging here, because I don't want to jynx it---I know, not a Christian way to look at things, but in the past 18 months things go down hill when I start to get optimistic about his positive and loving force. In general for the most part, he hasn't done very well. When I'm feeling good, he does pretty well.

 

Sounds like your husband is still responding to you.

 

Yes, I feel that way.

 

You both seem to be willing to work on this and that is what it takes.

 

This is one positive thing----we're both willing----

 

Thanks for all your input.

 

I read the forums everyday although I don't post I learn a lot. I feel like I know all of you very well and I pray for many of you very often.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi! Here I am 4:46 A.M. updating my thread. Following are some posts from my husband's thread.

 

On July 3rd, he posted:

Eric

Woke up today and greeted Crystal with a kiss and a hug. We had our coffee and whatever then went on our morning walk. Things went pretty well. i went to sharpen mower blades and Crystal started tidying up the house for our fourth of July bonfire.

 

After lunch we shared a bowl of ice cream and then we went to attend to some shopping and other things. That is when things started downhill, slowly at first. i started to cave in as she started venting, when we arrived home and she was venting outside i really regressed and started in on defending and trying to fix it all up ... i was very immature. Not that this was the first time. i have read both books a couple times, read some Ken Naire a couple times watched the DVDs, read another book, but STILL can not seem to get it in my thick skull that Crystal's venting is healing for her. i still get all caught up in the fight or flight of it all, it is so frustrating for Crystal. She is trying to open up, start to let defenses down but El Jerko keeps going off the deep end.

 

We are scheduled for an intensive at Septembers end and it will not come too soon.

 

i know that i have no need to defend, i know that through Christ i can do all things. That Christ is working so i can be that safe place Crystal needs. Wicked man that i am, i do what i do not want to do and do not do what i should, but thanks be to God that by Christ's ressurection He will supply the grace needed to over come self.

 

So what is it i am not getting here?

 

Followed by my post on July 4th:

 

me

I hope somebody please responds to this guy besides me. I know he didn't say much to go on, but he needs some help.

 

This is my husband. This is his second post in a year. I brought him here, logged in for him, placed the computer on his lap and asked him to post. It seemed as if he hadn't even read most of the responses to his last post until yesterday, but I will see to it that he sees your response if you reply to him.

 

We are very minimal conflict type people, as you could probably guess. Post J&K books doesn't LOOK a whole lot different to outsiders than things looked before. Oftentimes it doesn't feel a whole lot different to me either. He feels like he is a hugely changed man, and I know he is.

 

I'm grateful that we both have a heart for serving Christ now and we have a whole lot more in common to talk about than we did before. Our marriage is much more intimate than it was before emotionally and physically. I have little to complain about.

 

However, it feels like we have been on the same plateau of life for ages. Two steps forward and two steps back. It's mostly husband-performance oriented. He does well, he does badly, he does well, he does badly.

 

I've been trying to get him to understand the difference between loving connecting with me, and loving me. He tries real hard to connect with me---if I'm "up" then he succeeds and he likes that. If I'm not "up" he fails and he internalizes and tries to fix himself.

 

Going back to what he was trying to tell you about yesterday.

 

We had a bonfire yesterday evening for our families. In the past our bonfires were so relaxed and fun and easy to prepare for because it was all my family----they are so easy to get along with, there's nothing to worry about. His mom has lived nearby for the past year, this is the first 4th of July bonfire of ours that she has come to. I stress out big time any time I anticipate her coming to my house. I always have---unless she changes, I always will. In our preparation for our bonfire I yelled undeservedly at my husband and his response was to go in the house and read his Bible to figure out what he did wrong.

 

How can I be such a horrible wife to criticize him for sitting down and talking to his Lord?

 

There is so much that he is not getting about this program. He feels like he has it down pretty well. We both feel like we'll go to the Intensive in September and we'll be told that Eric is doing just fine, it's his wife that has the problem. I dread the Intensive.

 

Please, somebody respond to this guy. I don't know what to tell him anymore. He's tryin. I'm getting tired of him trying and I go back and forth between feeling smothered and feeling neglected. I'd really almost rather him go back to full time neglecting, because it's easier for me. I'd know what to expect out of him. I'm afraid that the Intensive will only intensify this back and forth swing and make it even more unpleasant for me.

 

Eric: July 19

I do have a question that I will try to phrase. It involves moods and how to deal with them. We all have our "moods" now and again and they really are not a big deal, but...

 

I used to deal with Crystals' moods by running or becoming moody myself.

I tend now (maybe then too) to try to fix them (mainly for my benefit). The question becomes how to deal with them? I know the validate, apology ... i also know that when she is ready, and only when she is ready will we talk about it, if it needs to be talked about. How can I assure her that I am here for her with out taking off to the "Badlands" for the afternoon? My question probably wasn't worded well, but I hope someone can give some advice here.

 

me again July 28

Eric's last post was written after a very bad weekend together. He's the one who put me in my "mood". He goes looking inside his own head how to fix my "mood", and that makes things worse. I had had a good week with my best girlfriend who came down for the week before that weekend, and I think I got spoiled by how easy it is to talk to a woman friend. Conversation is polite and respectful---we tenderly pass the discussion back and forth to eachother, like a teaparty. Talking with Eric, I realized is more like tackle football, I have to intercept and take the discussion away from him and keep the ball moving toward my goalposts. This past week I actually began using the taboo words "Shut up!" to Eric. I was forbidden as a child to speak so rudely. I don't think ever before in our marriage I have used "Shut up" as much as I have in the last week.

 

I have to brag that Eric didn't discourage my outbursts too much. He would start taking the conversation his direction and I told him to shut up so I could finish what I was saying, then when I would give him a chance to say what he was going to say we both noticed that what he was getting ready to say was WORTH knocking down, so I didn't feel bad about not letting him speak his mind.

 

This week we had a pretty fair weekend together. We always have at least one weekly date---we've been doing this since Eric began believing Joel and Kathy (about 19 months ago). I'm gradually slowly turning his world upside down. He has always assumed that as a man he's the one who drives and decides where we're going. As a woman, ha! I've always given in without complaint. He and I are working on the assumption now that I will be the one who drives and decides. Just for a time----long enough to break him of the silly idea that he's the decider. Kinda silly I guess, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. It's awkward for me---I constantly find myself making decisions based on HIS wants instead of my own, so it's a good exercise for ME too. Decisions need to be made together---not with the assumption that one or the other is in charge. I think it's really making him feel "wifey" maybe, and maybe that's why he keeps whimpin out on me. I don't know, but I'm really not being a dragon! Not a real dragon anyhow, just a woman who's been suppressed for a long time.

 

 

I was a dragon about a can of corn on this Saturday evening and he emotionally ran away again.

 

You know what---I called him "dum-dum" and he whimped out completely. The can of corn offense wasn't nearly as hurtful as his whimping out when I called him "dum-dum". The reason, I guess that I got so bent out of shape with dinner prep is precisely because he had been listening to me vent about OLD long ago hurts and those hurts were all brought to surface in my mind. He listened and sincerely apologized----that was very good, but then he couldn't hold up when I "clobbered" him with a current act of disrespect. He did something that I had asked him not to do. But he was caught up in being mister wonderful and he did something "for me" that I asked him to let me do myself. It was dumb and I couldn't believe he could go to his old ways of not hearing what I had said.

 

Great conversation came out of these past two weeks. We are beginning to distinguish between HIS own idea of Mr. Wonderful and MY idea of Mr. Wonderful. He gets so caught up in trying to be what he thinks is wonderful and what I say or feel or think doesn't matter.

 

This is not new stuff for us----if you read my threads, it's the same theme over and over every single week.

 

But overall, My Mr. Wonderful is growing larger than Eric's Mr. Wonderful and I hate to say it, cause every time I do things get worse instead of better, but our marriage looks/feels like a nice place to be. I'm going to keep most of my praise for Eric between him and me---cause I plain and simple don't trust Eric's Mr. Wonderful that he has in his own head.

 

HIS Mr. Wonderful is our enemy.

 

 

Then here is his post from last night:

 

Eric again, August 14

"Mr Wonderful" is not an easy character to kill off, but he must be if Crystal is ever going to experience the freedom she needs to glorify God and enjoy Him for ever. It is not like I purposely start out he morning with the intent to "Mr Wonderfulize" her, but the jerk pops up at the most inopportune times!

 

My check list is most rediculous, why I still have it is anyones guess, my guess is that it still exists because I still have alot of pride to clean out of my heart. Not me, but rather Christ through the Holy Spirit.

 

My most recent regression came on our recent trip last weekend when I was really no better for crystal than I was one or two years ago. It gets so disconcerting for her that I'm sure she feels like no progress has been made.

 

I know it is pride because I tend to try to prove I am a good husband when people are around to impress, especially if "I" think they don't treat thier wifes good. For example, as we were hiking with the other family we met with I was walking with Crystal and her friend judging the other husband saying in my head "Why isn't he walking with his wife like me, he is ignoring her but I am not" (not exactly my words but so close one would not know the difference). Such foolishness and immaturity the only thing it does is inflate the head and then it falls because the weight is too much to hold up.

 

This then lead to critisizing our good friend

and our return trip was a total disaster with my head so big it wouldn't fit in the Car! It would be great if this were an iosolated occurence, but sadly Crystal has to put up with this quite regularly and it throws her out of whack.

 

When I analyze our good days one thing stands out, those days are good because Crystal is able to express herself freely because El Jerko is gone and I am able to listen to her and keep from falling when I stumble and this creates a zone of comfort and ease for Crystal.

 

Today I will list as a "good day"as Crystal was able to relax, not that I didn't stumble but I didn't "look to the list", praise God, but focused back onto her.

 

We had such a decent day yesterday. Eric can be so pleasant to be with when he's not trying to be somebody else. It's just that he slips backward so easily.

 

I don't like when he cuts himself down. Even when he's in his good frame of mind. AND I don't like it when he talks badly about "how he USED to be" as if he's talking about somebody else. We're gettin there. We're taking the slow backroads to get there, but we'll get there. The Intensive is 6 weeks away. I dread traveling with him again to the Intensive---he's hard for me to travel with. I'm not so much dreading the Intensive like I was. I appreciate everyone's posts on Eric's thread. His recent long post was in response to Firewalker's post August 14 on Mr. Bingley's thread. You people are awesome.

[/b]

 

This next post is my very first post on this forum just to give some perspective. Dated January 3rd 2008:

 

As background, I'm the wife and I've read the two books and I'm a big fan of J&K. I asked dear husband to read the books. He read the first one and didn't like it. He didn't see himself in the book at all. (I DID!) Although he made the comment that he would rate our marriage about a "4". He didn't ask me how I would rate it. I told him I was happy he rated it a "4", because that meant he realizes it needs work. His comments indicated that he does everything he can possibly do and that I simply fail to appreciate it.

 

He's never had a real affair and certainly never physically abused me, so what have I got to be raging about??

 

It was about a year ago, maybe more since husband read the first book. Even though he didn't take anything to heart in the book, I learned from the books and they helped me to see things for what they are. It was eye opening for me. I have a much better understanding of why I've been going crazy for 20 years. Things HAVE improved. I haven't let him get away with things I used to back off from. I am more verbal and generally less afraid of hurting his feelings.

 

I don't back off now when my husband compares me to his mom or is "deeply hurt" by things I say or do.

 

A lot has happened in our marriage since those days. I am quicker to say what I'm thinking without thoughts of hurting husband's feelings. He's getting stronger everyday.

 

Instead of having a marriage that hovers somewhere below mediocre, our marriage is now several notches above mediocre.

 

But he's still a poor listener. He thinks he listens, and then he goes out to solve my problems, like a knight slaying my dragons. I don't want my dragons slayed. I want to talk about it. He's disappointed because I'm not appreciating all the dragons he's slaying.

 

I don't THINK he's trying to irk me, I think he thinks he's doing what I want him to do.

 

We rarely make love anymore. He thinks that's what I want.

 

In a nutshell, we're both trying in our own ways. I think things would work better if he'd take J&K seriously and read the books...but maybe that's not even the dream answer.

 

Any thoughts or ideas? J&K always tell me I should print out the letters that I write to them (you) but I can't bring myself to do that. One reason is that I just know that I don't want it in print lying around our house for the world to see (our teen boys). Letters to HIM never seem to solve anything. He misinterprets and I don't get a chance to clarify. men!

 

and then January 7th 2008:

Last week I wrote a letter to husband about my needs. It was pretty harsh, so I didn't give it to him. I sealed it and put it in my underwear drawer.

 

I began thinking that it's likely my fault in part. I get up so early in the morning. I love the quiet time when everybody else is sound asleep, I can get lots of thinking and reading done. So yesterday morning I decided to sleep in with my husband...(I won't selfishly mention that doing so gave me a blasting headache---oops, I mentioned it, bad me)

 

Anyway, I stayed in bed and when my guy first woke up I gave him the invitation which he gladly took. Hm. That part was good.

 

It was Sunday morning, so I got up and started my routine (minus my early morning Bible Study) of getting ready for church. Husband read the paper and had coffee and then while he got ready for church I read the paper. Innocently I returned to the bedroom to get my knee-high stockings and I walked in on my husband MB with porn.

 

Actually I didn't feel angry. I just felt, ~Oh brother~ But it gave me the incentive I needed to give him the letter I had written. He read the letter and was humbled and gave me a tearful hug. It's routine. The other part of the routine is that he writes a reply for me to find in the morning. (He works evenings, so he was gone all afternoon after church.)

 

I dreaded reading the letter this morning. But I did. Poor husband. He says he's been a bad husband and he'll try to do better, but I have to help him. He should just make copies of this letter and hand it to me at the appropriate moment. Ho hum.

 

Anyhow, I wrote a quickie response thanking him for his apology and I'm happy to know he wants to keep on trying.

 

I told him that I'd love to talk about it face-to-face....but is there any change in his attitude this morning? Not really. Same old no eye contact, off for his run, gotta go, hurry hurry. Kiss, bye. I don't know what I'm expecting. I think this is a good opener for me to present book # 2 or the DVD, prob'ly huh? OR I'm thinking, maybe I'm happier with him just leaving me alone with him doing his thing and me doing mine. Maybe it's just best this way? :)

 

 

 

That's all my updating for now.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I started to post this on HD and Eeyore's thread, because I feel like nobody notices poor little me. Feeling sorry for myself again. I decided not to invade their thread.

 

Seems like we have been having the same struggles as H.D. and Eeyore. All the way down to him putting gasoline on a fire while burning brush that resulted in an explosion and burns---his burns were not as severe as H.D's, but when their accident happened it made my jaw drop because it had happened to us a few days before. Who ARE you? do-do-do-do, do-do-do-do (twilight zone music). My husband's reaction to me was bad---"No big deal"---which came from his place of embarassment, instead of realizing it affected me too. (Heart pounding, running outside to see if he was OK.)

 

Now this week, it sounds like they went through some things similar to what we are doing. 1.) While my husband was trying to look good in church he made me out to look like a fool----which is something not good, because I'm trying to minister to some broken wives in our church. His comments added to me looking like a busy body. When it's just him and me, he assures me that I'm not being a busy body, but it's like he wants to be accepted and if the popular opinion is that I'm a busy body then that's what he wants to agree with. 2.) He hasn't been listening to what I tell him. I think God is trying to teach him that HIS OWN WORKS will not gain him favor with me or with God. But he just keeps on trying and trying by following some lists in his own head. The lists don't fail to fail. We can talk and it seems like he has perfect understanding of listening, loving and cherishing me, but when it comes to action and living it out----BOOM!! kind of like that gasoline explosion.

 

I made airline reservations down to Palm Coast. I feel better about it now, my husband wanted to drive. Of course after I made the reservations, he made it sound like that had been his preference all along.

 

Our son was watching a show on tv about extreme situations and they were telling what to do if suicide terrorists hi-jack your plane. I paid close attention so now I know exactly what to do. Can you tell I don't fly very often? Despite that fear, which isn't a godly way to feel, I do feel better about our planned trip to the Intensive in a few weeks. I am mostly looking forward to meeting face to face with real live people who believe as strongly as I do the principals that Joel and Kathy teach. i feel so alone sometimes and when my husband swerves from the program I feel very panicked. He's really doing quite well. When he's good he's very very good, but when he's bad, he's horrid.

 

He's not terrible. I think it just makes me freak out more than I want to---he's not ADD----he knows the concept very well and I do feel like he loves me. It is simply a matter of putting it into practice when it REALLY matters, which is something he can't seem to do. I swear that I can see it in his face when he turns from Dr. Jekyl to Mr. Hyde. It happens in a flash sometimes, a single micro-moment. And of course---if it's the bad guy (wow! I forget, is Mr. Hyde or Dr. Jekyl the bad guy???!) then of course he adamantly denies it ! When he IS in that bad place, with his eyeballs turned inward or whatever, there is no talking him out of it. I get so frustrated with him, I end up shouting, "just turn your eyeballs around!" When he finally does, I can see it in his face and I can feel it almost immediately in my gut and my hair follicles and flaring nostrils instantly relax.

 

Maybe if I can begin not freaking out. . . . . .

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Crystal, I can't believe how similar our stories are! Even the gas and explosion! Glad that your hubby is okay. Mine is gradually getting better...

 

I am so glad that you guys are going to the Intensive soon. We did not get an "instant" miracle at the Intensive, it has been more of a gradual building of things since then. It has not been easy, but it is progress.

 

I feel the same anxiety when that switch flips between Jekyll and Hyde (I can't remember who the bad guy is either! But I think that it is Mr Hyde, as the other guys is the doctor who created his own monster). It has been one of my biggest struggles... how to have peace and not feel so alone when that happens. It is not easy. But being here helps me immensely.

 

I am not sure what to say to encourage you at this point. This has been a tough week for us. But I just wanted to "pop in" and let you know that I am praying for you, and I am here for you. We are getting ready to head out of town for the weekend, but I should be on here some. Hang in there, sister! :wink:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Eeyore, thanks for thinking of me. We've had over a week of relatively good interaction. I am a little afraid to say it's going well----it almost seems like a jynx, but it's going pretty good. My husband seems to be focused on understanding me instead of being understood. That's very good, but he's been there before and it's like a vapor that disappears. However...like I said, this has lasted over a week this time, longer than it has for quite a long time.

 

So...reluctantly....we're good. I really like the new Outrageously Happy Marriage with Joel and Kathy Live from Naples, Florida DVD set. I seemed to have lost (!) our old set of DVDs, maybe I loaned it out or something, so I went ahead and got the new set and we have really enjoyed watching them. They're awesome. Maybe we should give credit to the new DVDs. My husband, perhaps, is grasping hold of some understanding that he didn't get before. Maybe. I hope so.

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Crystal, I am glad to hear that you are doing well this past week. Don't be afraid to "jinx" things! Be strong, and hold your hubby's feet to the fire. Expect good things!

 

No, it is not going to be perfect at first. Take things slowly and don't be too hard on yourself. But don't let him sit back and not bless you. Watching the DVDs together is awesome. It will sink in more and more. Stay committed to watching them together.

 

Let me ask you a question... is the good week due to no "crisis", or is Brass focusing on you? It is a tough question to ask yourself, but it is key to moving forward. We have had so many "good" days that were just days without a major blowup or me feeling totally ignored. Those are not "good" days, they are just not "bad" days. I pray that your week has been "good", and that Brass is returning his focus to you!!

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OK, guys. We are definitely in "Drive" again. There is definitely forward motion. I have been so reluctant to post anything positive, because until now the forward motion has been more like being stuck in an icy snow bank. Forward, forward---backward, backward. No progress. But now we are rollin' in the right direction. I'm sure of it. Ha, the road ahead looks like the snowplow has been through!

 

Maybe the pressure of impending Joeldom (Intensive soon) is causing my husband to pay closer attention. He didn't think some things applied to him specifically and didn't pay attention to certain parts, or somethin.

 

It's like the big dissertation is due in a couple weeks, the pressure is on, he's gotta get crackin'. He's not just sorta doin' "the Man of Her Dreams" program, he's doin the whole program, books, DVDs and now the Intensive. Gotta love 'im, he tried to get off easy, but there's no such thing as just sorta doin' it.

 

Eeyore, you asked if it was a good week just because there was no crisis---good question! I was wondering that myself. There was no crisis, because he took care of me, for the most part. Not perfectly, mind you, we had "stuff" going on but he was there for me. And Eeyore, you mentioned that things were going to be hard at first...that's the frustrating part, we are almost 2 years into this, minus the Intensive. We're not just starting out. :oops: But I appreciate your encouragement!!

 

So---today, the most healing thing so far, by far!!

 

I worked this morning, he works in the evening. Normally, we don't see eachother or talk to eachother on the mornings I work, because he leaves before I get home. But today I got home early in time to have lunch and coffee with him before he left. Coming home early is often a horrible thing. I feel like I'm intruding (him, home alone, big trigger for me!!) he was being weird-ish, withdrawn-ish and not giving me straight answers to my easy questions---like: Did you already feed the cats? It wasn't an accusation, but I just wanted to know if he did or didn't so that I either would or would not feed them, right? right. Oh, those crazy double answers, it's like he tries to answer both yes and no so that he won't get it wrong. I asked him if he got a new watchband....his answer, "No...I got a new watch." OK, Mr. Specific, things are NOT going well. He asked me if I was PMSing---not a nice thing to ask a peri-menopausal woman. On and on. I accused him of hiding inside his head again and he kept denying it. Finally, before he left for work he claimed it, I mean, it doesn't MATTER if he is or isn't hiding inside his own head, what matters is that's how I was feeling. (NOW, while I'm writing this I know why he was acting that way, but at that time I did NOT.) Finally he apologized and I felt so much better and told him so. And I told him I was so glad that he didn't leave me feeling that way before he left for work. It always ruins my day for him to leave for work with me feeling like a crazy woman.

 

Anyway, now for the healing part. Before he left for work, he handed me three pages of paper typed and folded for me to read after he left.

 

I asked, "What is it, a suicide note?"

 

He said, "no".

 

We kissed and hugged and laughed about something, I forget just what it was, but it made me laugh, we said good bye and he left.

 

Eventually I sat down to read what it was he had handed me. WOW!!!

 

and now I understand why he was acting pretty weird-ish before he left for work.

 

See...backing up to the weekend past, we watched one of the Joel and Kathy DVDs. Joel said something that I don't remember hearing before. He said that husbands should write out a list of things they are sorry about. I've heard of the apology letter and my husband has written dozens of those, with no healing whatsoever. I had not heard of putting it in a list form. As soon as Joel said it, I pointed a long crooked green finger at him, (witchy, you know) and said, "That applies to you." I said, "That would be very healing." That's pretty much all I said about it. I think.

 

He typed out a beautiful three page single spaced list of 121 non-repeated items titled "I am sorry for:"

 

I am very impressed, dear husband!! I'm sure it wasn't easy for you, but it includes a lot. It's very healing. Some of the things I recognize as things I hve complained about, but many things are things that are very real that I don't remember ever mentioning. Mind if I frame this list? Exactly as Joel said, it feels like you actually understand. It has very deep meaning for you to have gone back in your mind looking for things. Even the things I have mentioned before and you apologized for, it took a lot for you to mention them again, there was no I-already-said-I'm-sorry-for-that.

 

Just for the sake of sharing, I'll try not to embarrass my dear husband, but these are general things that could probably apply to every wife:

 

2.) for not consulting with you while job searching when we were first married.

9.) for not becoming informed on what a marriage is all about. [before getting married]

10.) for not caring for you and acknowledging your hurt when you miscarried.

44.) for being unhappy around you all the time.

62.) for caring for the house plants more than for you and the kids.

91.) for doing lesson planning while you were in labor with ...

101.) for not letting you stay at home with the kids.

111.) for not laughing with you.

120.) for not being excited with you about your pregnancies.

 

These are not necessarily the most meaningful. Actually each of the 121 is deeply meaningful.

 

Thank-you dear husband!! I haven't made any of this easy for you. I have high expectations! You are becoming a REAL man! A real live strong shouldered, not whimpy HE MAN!! :D

 

Sometimes we talk about how, you know, some men think they might lose their identity to begin loving their wife. Instead my husband says that it feels like he's back home now after being far far away. He feels alive now. Comparable to having been in a coma or a stupor for a couple decades. Likewise, I feel like he has been gone away----this is the very guy I met back in 1984 that I wanted to marry. He'd been gone for a very long time and it's been great to have him back!

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Crystal,

 

I just popped in on your thread today and I wanted to tell you that I am rejoicing with you over this huge step that your husband initiated!!

 

You said that you feel like you haven't made it easy for your husband... but the truth is that growing into a man just ain't easy. By you consistently making your needs known you are providing a perfect environment for your husband to grow. Don't apologize for that. That is being a gift to him!

 

If your husband had this "lightbulb moment" watching the DVD's (in regards to how important this list would be to your heart), wait until he gets it LIVE at the intensive. It is going to be awesome!

 

Rejoicing wit you,

Pebbles

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I rejoice as well.

 

When I was reading your post, I thought, "uh-oh!". It sounded like so many of our conversations as well... distant, vague answers, or spinning things. But I am glad that he was "strange" due to the letter/list that he had put together. That must have taken quite a bit of time!

 

I did not realize that you guys are almost 2 years into this. But it will be a new start after the Intensive. It will be tough for you, as it is hard to not think, I have been telling him this for 2 years! (Or for your entire marriage!)

 

But new understanding will bless both of you while you are there. It is an amazing weekend. I would like to go again!! :wink: When are you guys going?

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Pebbles said:

If your husband had this "lightbulb moment" watching the DVD's (in regards to how important this list would be to your heart), wait until he gets it LIVE at the intensive. It is going to be awesome!

 

Really?? Thank-you for this encouragement!

 

Eeyore said:

But new understanding will bless both of you while you are there. It is an amazing weekend. I would like to go again!! When are you guys going?

 

Must be true, then! Thanks.

 

Our Intensive date is Sept 30. I hope Joel and Kathy remember we're coming, we made our reservations a LONG time ago!!

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::clap I had no idea you two hadn't been to an intensive yet! And you're making progress without it! The intensive will answer questions for you, and you learn alot from the other couples as well. I think everybody takes away something different, but I think it is worth more than gold.

 

I am so very happy to hear Brass is moving forward, finally. I pray you both gain momentum and go forward in leaps and bounds!

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