Putting Myself Aside and Building Her Up

Posted: May 27, 2011 in Love and Marriage
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Life is full of contradictions, but sometimes it’s in the apparent paradox that truth is found.  Whoever wants to save his life will lose it.  The more you give away, the more you’ll have.  If you hold too tightly, you’ll lose control.

Shortly before we separated, I showed my wife a classified ad for a job at Dillard’s.  She applied and was hired.  I was just trying to help her out, as we were both looking for Summer employment.  It turned out that they hired her full-time, and the job paid enough that she could afford to move out and make it without me.  I had unwittingly helped give her the means to leave me.

It wasn’t long after this that we talked about her feelings of inadequacy and how, during our marriage, she hadn’t ever had the opportunity to find out what she could or couldn’t do.  Now, one of the things that she wanted to accomplish through our separation was to prove to herself that she could do things on her own and take care of things without anyone else. 

Relationships are complicated undertakings, full of pitfalls that couples often don’t see coming.  As I stated earlier, I had never intended for her to feel this way, nor had I realized that she did.  I had always believed in her and had confidence in her, but she didn’t know this.  My reason for trying to take on all the responsibilities was so that she wouldn’t have to.   The unexpected result was that she felt worthless and like I didn’t trust her to be able to do anything. 

I had no intention of supplying her with resources to make a life without me when the job at Dillard’s came up, but once we reached the point where the separation was decided upon, I consciously decided to work with her in becoming independent.  It was one of those moments of disequilibrium, when your rational mind says, “This doesn’t make sense,” and your heart says, “This is what love would do.”  Her moving out was the last thing on earth that I wanted, but it was going to happen regardless.  My choices were to fight her, and probably never get her back, or love her unconditionally, and leave the door open for a possible reconciliation. 

I supported her as she got utilities in only her name for the new apartment, even though I hoped that I would be living there soon.  I didn’t argue when she took my name off the joint checking account at her bank.  I withdrew half of the emergency fund from my bank and gave it to her.  These things were painful, and the practical side of me kept wondering if all this was really necessary.  My heart told me that it was, so I kept listening to the things my wife was telling me about what she believed she needed, and I kept pushing down the urge to discount what she was going through.

Love is about hard choices sometimes.  It’s about putting yourself aside and giving up your rights for another.  The Bible says, “Love does not demand its own way.” (1 Corinthians 13:5)  I struggled with giving up control.  A part of me believed that I could demand of her that she just stop all this and that I could strong-arm her into submitting to my authority as her husband.  It was tempting to try, but deep down inside, I knew it wasn’t right, and it wasn’t really what I wanted.

Things hadn’t been right or healthy for a long time, and what I really wanted in the deepest part of me was for both of us to find that place where, with healthy hearts, we found each other again.  There was a song called “Start Again” by the group “Red” that was out at this time.  Every time I heard it, my heart would break, but it also gave me hope that it was possible. We had loved each other once with a beautiful love and I couldn’t give up on the hope that the roots were still there and that love could grow and bloom again.


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