Thursday, March 01, 2007

Ending and Beginning

This is a guest editorial from marshkn and is NOT an article from Stuntmom who, last time I checked, was happily married.

Last night, I tried to initiate a process to save a marriage -- the marriage between my husband and me. One could say that it was a little late, as the final mediation session to lay out the paperwork for the dissolution is on Monday, a process begun months ago. But that fast-approaching date of our final mediation was what spurred me to approach my husband to ask one more time if he wanted to try to work together to save the marriage. I wanted to be sure to let him know that I was ready and willing. I wanted to present a case for the value of trying together to make a marriage work and, I must admit, to keep our family together for the kids, now 3 and 4 years old. I wasn’t saying that I think it is worth staying in a bad marriage for years and years just for the kids. I don’t believe in that. But I do think I believe in working together to save a marriage once kids are in the picture. Our particular marriage dissolution involves no “other woman” and we are what you would call “amicable.” Yet we did not attend marriage counseling after my husband first expressed dissatisfaction with our marriage. We did go to one joint counseling session, but all that we established in that session was that my husband could not say that he wanted to try to work on saving the marriage. Hence, no more sessions.

We began last night’s discussion with my husband saying that his mind had really not changed with regard to our marriage dissolution. He was pretty much in the same place that he had been on the morning several months ago when he told me that he needed to see a personal therapist to figure out if he wanted to stay in our marriage. And last night, the more I talked, the more I had a feeling akin to pushing someone into a corner. Also, the more we talked, the more hard-hitting were the reasons he gave for wanting to leave. It was as though he didn’t want to tell me those things, didn’t want to hurt me, but felt that he had to do something to get out of that corner, and to try to make me understand that for him staying in our marriage was staying in that corner. He seemed to be saying that if he stayed there, he would feel pushed into “fight or flight” mode again and again, and that the most vital aspects of a married relationship with me feel like work to him. I can clearly see the walls that make the corner in which he stands – they are walls that I know I helped to build.

So, now I am harking back to words in a book I read recently, called “It’s Not You. It’s Him.” It’s actually a good read and does not aim to say that there is anything more inherently wrong with “him” than you. The book is essentially a reminder that if you want a relationship to work and “he” doesn’t, then what is preventing the relationship from working is a reason in him. You can’t change that, hence “it’s not you,” and it’s not even up to you. It might be a problem that he sees with you, but by feeling it as a problem, that’s his issue. Not yours. Let him go. There are definitely other people who will not feel that same problem in relating to you – after all, there are a hell of a lot of people out there! On a similar vein, I read somewhere else that instead of our common mindset of, “If only he/she would change, I would be okay” (i.e. I wouldn’t be angry, sad, etc.), we might want to try saying, “If I would be okay, he/she wouldn’t have to change.” And if I’m okay, I can have a better influence on the world around me. It’s not up to me to save this marriage. My kids are okay. My husband is okay. I’m okay…..
You’re okay. :)

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