Where do I draw the line? I think back to the past month of my life and wonder what it is I am fighting for. Lets just review very quickly what it is I am going through. I would do this only for the sake of my horrible memory. I want to make sure when the dust has settled that is my words alone that prop up the life altering decision I will be forced to make. My wife is leaving me. I am not sure why I can type that without the waterfall of emotions pouring on to this keyboard I click away at. If you would have told me a month ago that this was in the works of happening, I would have cried. I know I would have because even then I knew my Wife never truly understood what it meant to have a Christian husband. I blame myself for that more than anything. Ephesians 5:22-27 calls me to be head of the household and ensure the wellbeing of my family. That means spiritual as well as actual substance. I dropped that ball. I was on the plate swinging at every pitch that flew by never actually making the contact I so desperately needed. In that sense I let my Wife down. I let her down on levels that endanger her salvation and overall life with Jesus. What a horrible thing for someone to have resting on their shoulders. I feel like Barnabas, able to lift up the many heavy stones of everyone else’s life but unable to rescue my own.
I moved down to Biloxi MS for a job. Most wonder why I would give up my life of working from home and doing youth ministry all day long while my wife put on a uniform for our country. It was very easy; my Wife hated her job. Imagine how hard it is for a husband to watch his Wife come home and see her cry because of the day she just had. To top it off imagine she isn’t even doing the job she hates. Her current work is actually the pinnacle of all she will be able to do in the military. I remember the first time I suggested to her that maybe I could get a job and she could go to school. I will be honest, I wanted to get back into the grind of enterprise computers, but not a 9-5 type job. Part-time wherever my Wife got orders to would have been just peachy to me. Yet I knew the one time she was happy was with a book in hand. She loves college. She loves learning. I can’t explain why she loves it so but she really is awesome at it. I knew in my heart she needed the chance to do that and by me taking a job in Biloxi I knew I could give her that chance. So as she left for Iraq, I left for Biloxi. Now I want you guys to know that I didn’t choose Biloxi as the first place I wanted us to go. I actually tried for jobs across America in every stretch of the frontier to find it. I was turned down over and over again. Know that I didn’t want to move back to the town I graduated from. I actually really despise being back here because I feel there is more to this. But here I am working hard…why? So my wife can pursue her dreams. Imagine my broken heart when the decision we both talked about and decided on was thrown back at me…”I didn’t tell you to take the job” was what I received. It was thrown back at me as a selfish decision I made for the better of me. That was the first dagger thrust into my heart.
I think the next dagger would be when my wife told me she only called from Iraq out of feeling of obligation. It wasn’t that she actually wanted to talk to me or felt that yearn I did to run to the phone when each other called. No, this was a check box on her daily list of things to do. I always wondered where exactly I fell on that list. Was I above getting the General his coffee or below sharpening pencils? Either way I was hurt. I was hurt on a level that I knew would scar my deepest internal soul. I knew that I ran to that phone and carried it around the house JUST IN CASE she called. I didn’t want to miss it. I didn’t want to hear her voice on an answering machine knowing I could have been the one to hear it for real. “So by the way, I feel obligated to call you.” I can’t describe with the unlimited pages this computer can hold how much that hurt, but nothing like my next land mine.
She took sometime to talk to a priest and came back to relay what newfound information she had discovered. I had hoped that because the Priest was a levelheaded guy that she could find guidance through his acceptance of the Holy Spirit. “I figured out why we have intimacy issues, I love you like a friend but not as a lover.” This was a flashback to my junior high school years when the girl would tell me I was like a brother, but not a boyfriend. As if being a brother was higher on the list. I didn’t want to be her brother. When my wife told me this I think I almost dropped the phone. I didn’t know how to take it. This explained so much with our lack of intimacy or sensual time together but in the end was the biggest sword to pierce the flesh of my being. I wondered how I could have been so stupid as to dismiss the fact that my wife put me in the same category as her buds from work. I had spent the last year of my life thinking we were truly becoming one body, one spirit, one soul. Instead what we were becoming were good roommates. I tried everything to counteract this statement she threw at me. I tried to shower her with the undying love my heart posed for her. Each day I felt like I was fighting for us…fighting against the perils of life to save everything I held dear. I didn’t really realize that this was a one sided fight.
What changed my frame of mind was the last email I received this week. She wrote “Life is about living it up. I don’t want someone to tell me how to live or follow some rule book.” I read the Bible a lot and what jumped out at me from this was 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 where God spells out for us that we must fight for the nonbeliever in a marriage, but if they want to go we must let them. “But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.” My next phone call to her was just to say that. I told her that as a Christian man and a strong devout Catholic; I could morally and objectively let her go if that is what she wanted. I hate the fact that she assumes I am a cop. Pedro the Lion has a song called Of Minor Prophets And Their Prostitute Wives that really rings in my head. Part of the lyrics say:
_i treated you as if you were a princess
you treated me like a cop
i gave you boundaries to save you from certain death
dangling from the end of the rope_
She saw me as a cop…I would eternally be the bad guy of this marriage because of the boundaries God gave me to live my life. I can’t imagine how she complains to her friends. I just don’t think following up the story from your friend about her husband going to titty bars and sleeping around with “My Husband is such a bastard! He spent last night doing youth ministry!” rings well. I wonder if she wants me to be that guy. Maybe if I drank and watched some porn she would love me. Maybe then it wouldn’t be her loving my life a friend. But I told her, I will never compromise on my soul. To do these things would take away from the covenant I made with the Lord.
So here I stand. 2 years ago when I met my Wife, the thing that brought us together was our faith. I was a youth minister and she was a practicing Catholic. I thought my search was finally over. Little did I know that her fly by the seats of your pants lifestyle was at that moment in time bring her towards Church. In my naïve mind I thought that like me, once you accepted Christ into your heart there was no going back. Instead the wind changed directions and I am watching my Wife blow away like the autumn leaves blanketing the ground. I wonder if I can continue the journey, if the Lord can provide me enough strength to make it. I guess I will continue my prayer life and stay true to the words the Lord has laid out for me. The scope of this entry doesn’t fully cover everything. The jist of it stands…I spent a year of marriage not being the whole Christian man she deserved and she spent the year falling away from me. Here we are. I just wonder how long I will have “we” on emails and Christmas cards. How long will my check’s have that extra line?