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God Save My Marriage

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if you are going gluten free to lose weight vs. going gluten free to stay free from a dozen terrible symptoms and chronic disease, the importance and motivation for it rises.



Very true. If you are Melissa, you are very motivated to stay away from gluten, because what happens if you don't is not pretty. It involves buckets. :roll: But if you don't get such dramatic symptoms, you can choose to eat it and/or not have to be quite so diligent about looking for it in everything you eat.


And MJ, why do you need an excuse to call me? :)

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I'm in the middle of a bump. It started the day after my last post. I don't "want" to do anything about it. I know I have to though.


Somebody, a few minutes ago, gave me some encouraging words via another medium. They included reading Hebrews 10: 22-24. I felt encouraged that with my confidence in God (as opposed to myself), I CAN do this!


I was on the edge of feeling disgruntled and sorry for myself. When I realized this, I reminded myself I don't have to do that anymore! As a matter of fact, writing this is helping to solidify the matter in my mind. So there, MaryJane!


I'm still going to keep my distance from Z for a little while longer, though...

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Thank you for that, 4evr!


Oh dear, I guess I won't update tonight after all. I wanted to, but it 's getting late, I'm just using my phone, and I might want to ramble.


I'll say this, Z and I are gradually coming out of that bump, I found out what had caused the problem, it was ridiculous, of course, in my mind, and, I intend to DO something about it right away if a similar thing ever happens again!!


I'm not overly warm and fuzzy with him yet. I don't have a switch for that.

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OK, let's see what comes out of this laptop computer today.


I don't feel like describing the bump of Dec. 2013. It's done and apologized for well enough. As I said above, because of it, I'm more aware of the necessity of dealing with “bumps” right away! We've had one minor test since Christmas and I feel we passed it with at least a decent score. :)


This is roughly what took place a week or two ago. Z temporarily slipped back into an old habit. He said he was going to make some kindling, then, "You could put it in the wood box." Those words set my teeth on edge, to quote scripture! They felt manipulative and like a veiled command! It would have been so much simpler and more straightforward to say, "Would you put the kindling in the wood box?" I’ve told him in the past, I don't even need the word "please"! I just need him to show me the honour of giving me a choice and of making a REQUEST of me! This is such a big deal to me because he used to order me around freely in all those former years of ours, and get angry at me at the same time!


About the kindling, I said, "Nobody has asked me yet." That was the best I could come up with on the spur of the moment and still sound reasonably cheerful, too. I don’t remember clearly how it went from there. He groaned ever so slightly, I think, and maybe said the word, “would” all by itself. I let it go at that and did the simple little job.

Half an hour or so later, Z said, with the emphasis on the first word, “WOULD you turn the light on?” I very cheerfully did so.


This sort of thing in the past could so very easily turn into a several day blackout situation between us. That such blackouts are not exactly happening anymore is a sign to me that our marriage is still improving.


Lately, Zed has even been initiating reading Scripture, which pleases me immensely.


Then, today, about half an hour after his shower, he said, “You did a great job of washing my back. Thank you!” I was so surprised – because of his words coming out of the blue like that! This kind of thing did not used to be his MO! And, because compliments don’t come easily to him.


I’ve noticed he is making efforts to compliment me more lately.

I’m writing these things to make it all clearer to my own self. 

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These little things are so very important! I am glad you are writing them down. I am glad you can see the improvement. And I am glad you are sticking to what is right for you!


Choice is a foundational matter of respect. If you (I mean Z) get(s) that one right you have made HUGE progress! 


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Yes! Thank you, 4evr. :)


Z was raised in an atmosphere of, get the work done and never mind foolishness like feelings or respect or anything along that line! They seemed to think life was too serious to waste time on fluff like that. That was my impression.


I reason that that atmosphere is also exactly why they (not all) have their backs up against each other. They (not all) can't trust ANYBODY to appreciate them -- not that they realize they NEED appreciation.


So, for Z to be quietly turning himself into a thoughtful person is big! Of course, the Holy Spirit is at work too. Praise The Lord!

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So, now I realize we have a definite pattern of, well, I don't want to call it abuse, sullenness, maybe. In the last four month period, which is as far back as I can remember at the moment, Zed has exhibited sullenness once a month. What this usually entails from my perspective is a word or two or more that cause me some emotional discomfort. Sometimes, we have gotten through the situation quickly, sometimes slow-w-w-ly.

Like this time.

March 20th, 9 days ago, was our 32nd wedding anniversary. Zed had briefly suggested a couple of weeks before that maybe we should go to Minot to celebrate it. I, naturally, liked that idea and kept it in the back of my mind ever since. Zed didn't mention it again, but I know him well enough to be pretty sure he hadn't forgotten about it. However, 4 and 5 days before the date, Zed got very sick with fever and chills for two days. Odd, he had no other symptoms. He was definitely sick, though. By the 19th, I mentioned Minot. Zed was not eager to go anymore. He didn't like the thought of tramping through the mall, which he said is the only thing there is to do there. I let it go. He didn't feel up to it. OK. He wasn't being mean or nasty.

I had forgotten to buy an anniversary card, myself, as I had intended. That night I created one with a sheet of paper, a few words, and some shiny stickers. :) The morning of the 20th, Zed found it on the table when he got up. He seemed very taken with it. He himself had written a little note on a piece of paper. I tried in my mind to make that do.

Later, Zed went to town and came back bearing a lovely bouquet of flowers! On the card, he wrote some very nice words and they pleased me greatly! So the day was getting better! Then Zed suggested we order pizza for supper. I thought that was a fine idea. By then, I didn't mind if he even expected me to drive to town to get it. (They don't deliver out in the country. I don't think they even deliver in town.) :) However, he offered to drive me to town. I accepted his offer. Normally, he wouldn't be interested in going to town TWICE in one day!

So, I figured we were having an pretty good anniversary.

Then, we sat on the couch to watch a Columbo movie. We both kind of enjoy those. This one really wasn't as good as they normally are. Anyway, we were sitting there with our feet up on the same footstool. I was getting a bit uneasy that Zed was expressing some dislike of the movie. He shifted his feet I think, then said, "The remote fell on the floor." I, naturally, looked down to see if I could see it. He hadn't moved a muscle. So, I felt like it was up to me to find and retrieve it. (My first mistake. Heh heh.) He said, "It's probably in front of the stool." Those words further indicated to me that he expected me to get the remote. I was feeling a little irritated by then, but I found it and picked it up in order to get this little episode over with. Then, Zed said something about turning the lamp on. I don't remember how he had put this "request" or if I said anything, but he may have felt me stiffen a little. Then he said, "Would you, could you, or whatever..." I thought, "OK he is at least thinking about ASKING me to do something for him (as opposed to telling me), so , I'll just get up and turn the light on and be done with it.

I settled in to enjoy the rest of the movie with him. In a few minutes he got up to go do something out in the kitchen. He didn't come back for much longer than usual. I figured, okay, something must be wrong alright. Finally, he came back to the living room looking the most dark and sullen as I've ever seen him. That picture remains in my mind. He was apparently going to keep on going through the room and go on up to bed. I jumped up, and said, cheerily, "Well, we'd better have a hug!" He stopped and gave me a cold hug.

And that was the end of our 32nd wedding anniversary.

The next day, he didn't talk to me, stayed away from me. I asked him once what was going on. He said I was pressuring him the night before, to do the marriage ministry stuff. What??!! I'd say he was pressuring himself. I told him I wasn't pressuring him at all to "do" any marriage ministry. I need him to be affectionate toward me for ME! He said he needed some space. I gave it to him. The next day, Saturday, I packed up some stuff and came back to The City again. He even helpfully carried a couple of my bags out to the car. He was beginning to feel kindly again.

S0, I've been here almost 7 days. I'm giving him lots of space. We've talked on the phone a couple of times about The Incident. He's trying to pick out what part of it was my fault. He said he didn't ask me to pick up the remote. Also, if I didn't want to pick it up I could have said so. And then, of course, it bothered him that he felt he had to ask me, properly, to turn the light on. Yes, I see now how it was all my fault. N.O.T.

There has been an apology of sorts made over the phone, but I am not rushing back home. This one has hit me particularly hard. I guess because things have seemed to be going pretty well, on the whole for several months. Also, like I said, the image in my mind of him looking so dark the other night, is -- forbidding.

On Sunday, I went up for prayer here at this City church. I told a lady briefly what my problem was. She prayed what I think was a PERFECT prayer. Then a man came along and added his words of wisdom. He said something like this, that I could spend most of my praying time praising and worshipping The Lord. I like that. I figure I can simply "use" the lady's prayer as confirmation of the one in my heart. This way I don't have to continually think up more of my own. I'm much happier worshipping God and thanking Him for, just everything.

So Sunday was good. Wednesday, I got on the ladies' call for the final 10 minutes of it. I told Kathy what was going on and she gave me some very nice encouragement too. She said that for these months that Zed had been doing well, he's been getting stronger, and that he will get himself back on track. I liked that thought. It helps!

Today, I went over to the women's shelter and had a talk with my nice young counselor there. She's so good and sweet! She also encouraged me with the reminder that Zed does want me and that he will do what he needs to do. Very similar to Kathy's words. Interesting!

This lady also gave me a paper on the cycle of abuse. She said they went to a workshop recently and she liked the changes "they" had made in describing the cycle. These are the four stages as described by this agency:
1. Build-up
2. Act Out
3. Rationalize/Justify
4. Pretend Normal -- This is the one that is new and SO true! -- "Once the rationalize/justify step is in place, both partners try to make the relationship continue in a normal way by pretending that everything is all right. However, the cycle of abuse will continue, if the problems in the relationship are not addressed."

Here are three powerful little points I picked up at church on Sunday, too. One: Rather than getting bogged down by looking at the whole cloud of problems that need to be solved in your life -- just take the NEXT STEP! Two: Change your perspective. (That doesn't mean so much now, because I don't remember the context.) Three: After the long haul comes the "suddenly". I think he said he got that from that preacher you all know in the east somewhere down there. Bill Johnson? Anyway, I like that.

I think I wrote too much. Anyway, I'm okay!



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I think you're amazing, MJ.  Keep being filled with good stuff, plenty of refreshment and joy. You're very good at reaching out to people when you're out on your own.  


I can relate to your experiences a lot.  One could wonder when reading this why you don't speak up when you first notice what's starting to happen.  We're supposed be able to tell our husbands what we're feeling when we feel it. But like me, you've sort of been wearing a "shock-collar" for your whole marriage.  You've been thoroughly trained for most of your life not to share what you're feeling.  Sad! So you don't say anything, but Z, being quite intuitive knows that you're feeling something, because in your description of events, even though you don't say a thing, he's picking up on cues that you don't know you're giving.  He (like my husband) reacts quickly to turn it around so that it appears to you that he's the one having the hurt feelings.   He's learned how to keep you from sharing your feelings...it works like a shock collar for you.  When he's thoroughly convinced that you're feeling something---(the remote incident) he was certain that you're having feelings that he didn't want to deal with, so he took on the body language of dark and cold and sullen, even though you were being cheery, he can read you.  You did mess up a little when you gave a hug and cheeriness when he was gave you cold and sullen.  good for good, bad for bad.  well...I understand. 



I would love to see you be able to share your feelings immediately.   I'm curious, are you able to share your feelings with him easily on the upper end of the cycle? 


I asked him once what was going on. He said I was pressuring him the night before, to do the marriage ministry stuff. What??!! I'd say he was pressuring himself. I told him I wasn't pressuring him at all to "do" any marriage ministry. I need him to be affectionate toward me for ME! He said he needed some space. I gave it to him. The next day, Saturday, I packed up some stuff and came back to The City again. He even helpfully carried a couple of my bags out to the car. He was beginning to feel kindly again. 


ARGH!! I'm so sorry about this part, MJ.  You handled it well and said the right thing.  I need him to be affectionate toward me for ME!  Normal to expectations, no matter what. 



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I like the shock-collar idea, Crystal. Yes, a person can get used to uncomfortable things like that -- until it actually does become unbearable... You asked if I can share my feelings easily on the upper end of the cycle. Yes and no. Usually I'm still cautious. Sometimes I throw caution to the wind and share!


Thanks for seeing more progress coming, 4ever! It was a good day at church today. Tonight I went up for prayer and the gist of what I received was that my "situation" must bow to Jesus. I like that!


We have made contact with a man Zed and I used to know, sort of. He and his wife used to come to our local area and minister in music. That was 30 years ago or so! He and his wife attend the church here in The City. He's one of the prayer counselors. Anyway, he was talking to me last Sunday and offered to meet Zed for coffee sometime if I thought he would be interested. I was thrilled that he would put himself out like that. I told Zed on the phone about this. Zed called him and they talked, and the man asked about getting together for coffee. Zed wasn't quite ready right away to say yes, but called him back in a couple of days to, I presume, set a time for it. He left him a voice mail. Zed called me this morning and asked if I would remind the man of his call, if I saw him. I spoke to the wife. She said her husband definitely will call. He's been busy.


I'm pleased that Zed is interested in doing this.

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P.S. to my last post: An explanation to Crystal, (not defensiveness) ;)  the reason I jumped up to get Zed to give me a hug was to keep him used to giving hugs whether he feels like it or not. I don't know whether it was necessary or not that night. Actually, I think I felt better than I would have if I hadn't "insisted" on it.

Well, Zed had another talk with the man mentioned above. He said he listened to him talk about things he (Zed) wasn't really interested in, but Zed listened anyway. Sigh. He said he doesn't think he'll meet the man for coffee, because he can tell he's just angling to convince him to go to church.

Zed had been phoning me almost every day since I've been here, which was for about a week and a half. He would talk about everyday things in a pleasant everyday tone of voice. I wasn't the least bit interested but I listened anyway. I just want our marriage fixed!  A couple of times he did bring up "us".  He still was blaming me (as kindly as possible) for being, whatever, (insisting on "helping" him with the remote or something) which caused him to react to me.
He's been very calm and neighbourly on the phone. I still could not see myself going home. Something under the surface doesn't feel right. Zed is so on edge about Christians, for one thing. Doesn't make sense. 
Finally, on March 31st, 2014, when he phoned, I asked Zed for a two month separation! 
He asked if he should phone every few days or so. I said I think we should not talk on the phone except for business or family reasons.  He accepted the idea calmly.  Just like that. 
At first, he thought this was the beginning of the end. I told him it is intended FOR the marriage, not against it. I said I thought we should take time to hear from God as to what each of us should do -- FOR the marriage. Of course, I was thinking it was mostly he who should be doing this. ;) I know I can certainly use some quality time with The Lord, too, of course!

Yesterday, Zed phoned to tell me of some income tax papers I needed to sign. He told me in a conversational tone of voice that he had asked the accountant whether we should do anything differently since we are separated for two months. Imagine! He said he also asked her what would need to be done differently if we were to become officially legally separated. (!) I don't remember what he said her reply was.

Well, I'm not going to worry about that. I know him. He tends to think the worst. And he certainly wouldn't want to be taken advantage of. He was raised that way. His mother, and father, to a degree, trained them all by example to not trust anybody outside the family. That would include me in Zed's mind, especially since it's obvious I am dissatisfied.

I decided to write him a letter so he would have the reasons and expectations before him in black and white. He doesn't have internet at home. I mailed the letter today, but want to put it here to see what you think. I let my two lady friends read it today and they approved. :)

Dear Zed,
Just some further words. I’m not away because of the last incident, although your reaction to me, then, was shocking.

I came away because, yes, you asked for space. But I’m staying away for these two months that we agreed on, because I think we need to find a way to make some real and permanent improvements in our relationship. I’m asking you to do some soul searching. I am doing that too.

I’m asking you to find out why it seems so hard for you to give in and show me love and affection as a way of life. This is the very thing that I desperately need as your wife, at all times. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you can love, because you have Jesus in you. I believe there is still something in your inner being, from your childhood (or somewhere), that is blocking the flow of God's love. As I see it, your mother has always treated you with some contempt, for example. This has hurt you deeply, I’m sure. I'm also sure you want to love and be loved. I want to love you, but I sense your resistance to me so much of the time. It’s heartbreaking.

In this two month period I hope we will see a breakthrough. You have told me about other breakthroughs you have had over the years in which you have seen me and our marriage in a better light. I’m hoping and praying for one that will have permanent results!

Will you do this with me, Zed? This soul searching before the face of God?

Thank you for thinking about this.



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Your "explanation" about the hug makes perfect sense, MJ.  It's quite all right and sometimes prudent to contradict me, always! 


Your letter reads perfect to me, and the plan is well thought out.  I'm so sorry that you are going through this, but I know you'll make the best of it.  Psalms 16:11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fulness of joy; At your right hand are pleasures forevermore.  Amen 

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