Friday, April 29, 2005

Then, and now.

When we got engaged, I imaginged it would be, "You and me against the world". I pictured dh and I, hand in hand climbing the hills and navigating the valleys of life, with the firm ground of the faith underneath us, and the tranquility of known love to guide our days. I saw children, and a family undeterred by the frantic pace of modern life. I saw love I could count on, knowlege that someone was there, keeping an eye out for me, I was anticipating a security in love that is bound by a covenant, and someone for whom I would willingly sacrafice. Someone who I knew would die for me, and I for him. I never pictured me questioning his love for me, thought we worked that all out during our engagement. I thought our marriage and family would be the source and summit of his life, under the all-covering umbrella of God's primacy for both of us. I guess this is unrealistic, or at least unconstant. I didn't expect to have to scrape and beg for assurance of my place in his life. I didn't expect that he would feel called to great and noble deeds apart from raising a large family.

During the "Theology of the Body" retreat he went on, he learned that men look outward, and have the desire to slay dragons. Women tend to gather the family, nurture and give. Every so often she has to reposition the man's gaze back to the family when his dragon slaying takes him away too much. Thus, a tension is always there. This is my struggle. I am not so gentle about turning his gaze my way. As a matter of fact, by the time I realize that we in the "repositioning" mode again, I am so hurt and angry, I use tools like guilt and recrimination, instead of a steady, gentle pressure. It's a pattern we have repeated for our entire marriage, and as more and more children are added to our family, I get more and more resentful of his dragon slaying.

I don't really know where to go from here. I go back and forth from hope for the future to despair, that it will always be a love unfulfilled for me. I want to be his treasure (second to God, of course). I don't want to have to keep reminding him of my presence. I want him to make his dragon slaying decisions after considering me and the family, not the other way around. Is that crazy??


Blogger Julie D. said...

i wish I had some good advice except to say that, after 20 years of marriage, there are these peaks and valleys always. I have learned to let a lot of things go just because I realized that my husband just isn't wired in a way that will make him do or think the way i want him to. It isn't always easy but much of the time is is more restful not to worry about that stuff ... although then other things surface. That all sounds much drearier than my marriage is but it's never done ...

April 29, 2005  
Blogger Kitsune said...

I wish I had something constructive to say, but all I can offer is my prayers that things will be better.

April 29, 2005  
Blogger Kate said...

I'm going to ask my husband what he thinks of this, and then get back to you. We (idealistic newlyweds that we are) are often/always discussing our roles and expectations, and I know my husband has been thinking a lot about manhood and what it means to be a man lately, so maybe he'll have more insight to offer you than I do.

In the meantime, have you read Greg Popcek's book "For Better Forever"? It has a sort of map of the stages and ups and downs of married life, and a lot of constructive suggestions for keeping life in the marriage and moving onwards and upwards. I found it a very enlightening and inspiring read. I'd quote a bit for you, but I lent it to my sister in law a few months ago and haven't got it back yet.

April 29, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

~Mme M~P~N,
To begin, Yes you are crazy. (so to speak) You actually believe in Christocentricizing your own life and that of your marriage and family. Bravo! Crazy people do tend to make up the finest portion of the population.
Now to the issue at hand. As a man (and recently a husband and father) I'm sure that I read your post with a very different perspective than my wife, and probably most other women. I have some part of me wanting to tell you to 'back off and give the man some breathing room'. But that is merely the masculine defense mechanism. With a bit more thought I want to tell your husband to pay a great deal more attention to the 'signs of the time' that you're sending his way.
I would like to share some of my thoughts and observations on the subject. As a fellow man I am able to sympathize much more with where your husband is coming from but I have been gifted in my wife (and thereby her friends) with a prime source of information and insight into your fairer sex. First, it is my experience, both with myself and my other male friends, that we men are built by our creator to be creatures of action. (which is why overly passive men tend to give me the willies) Whereas women are oriented towards nurturing and receptivity. These complimentary facets of our respective natures were built in for good purpose, but being fallen creatures they often become misdirected. I believe that the great gift of men is that of affirmation, the ability to, as it were, validate a person's worth by words and actions, the counter vice is that men also have the power berate and dis validate people by they're words and actions. Women on the other hand have the immense gift of 'Allure', the power to entice to virtue or seduce to vice. These follow the pattern of the complimentary natures of men and women. Men push, women pull, each can exert an equal amount of force, but the means are in some ways polar opposites. What must be remembered is that with such immense power comes the duty to proper use, that is to not only NOT use this power for evil, but to exercise it for good. I might recommend to your husband that he make more use of his ability to affirm you, as his wife, as the mother and teacher of his children. And to you I would suggest that you “listen” to his actions so as to learn better how to entice him to center his focus. Don't feel like you've got to put pressure on him to get his attention, use your 'Allure'.
One of the issues that Kate and I have run up against since we first started dating is the 'Nagging/Not listening' scenario. I start to feel like she's nagging me (whether she is or not, it's one of my paranoias) so I tune her out when she's talking, so now she feels like I'm not realty listening to her so she feels like she has to nag after me to be heard, so I feel like she's nagging me... ...Arguing, tears, apologies, feeling like a total jerk. It is not as it should be. I don't know if this is your particular situation but you did elude to feeling like he was spending too much time 'out slaying dragons' and not enough with you and the family. He may feel like he has to fight the battle 'out there' to protect his family. He may be right. But this is something you might want to share with him; on recent reflexion on the old adage about the lesser of two evils, I realized that the way the devil tends to get to me is to tempt me to the lesser of two goods, this is the kind of giving in that its much easier to try and convince myself that 'hey I'm still doing a good thing, right?' but the question is; 'is this the best thing?' 'is this what God wants?' . If I'm feeling like its stressful at home, or Kate is really just not pleasant to be around my temptation isn't to find some mistress but it is to maybe go help out at the soup kitchen, or go for a walk to pray. (Although I do recommend prayer) These are good things but probably what God wants me to be doing is loving my wive by letting her rant on, (probably about that crazy Mary-Poppins-Not's blog or something of the sort) or changing Gui's diaper and rocking him so she can take a shower. Prioritizing towards my family isn't always easy, But it is my primary duty, after mine own soul to the Lord.

I wish you peace and joy and will be praying for you both.


April 30, 2005  
Blogger Unknown said...

Having come through a time when I thought nothing would be right, I offer you hope and prayers. And I think you've inspired me to write something. I wish I could give you a huge hug! I've been there. And I understand your comment on my post so much better.

I wholeheartedly agree with Julie that sometimes it better to lie low on the things that are hurting. Being generous, merciful and loving in a open, sacrifical way helped our friendship grow, let me see ways he does love me that I wouldn't otherwise notice, and helped deepen my love for him. Then I got to see miracles come from the hurts. Though again, we are still working on it.

Peace and my prayers!

April 30, 2005  
Blogger ~pen~ said...

wow liam. that was so cool.

renee, any way you could print that out or does hub not know you blog personal stuff? just wondering.

i know how hard it is in the *every day* i also thought it'd be daisies and mountaintop experiences, and while i have had a bit of those, the valley treks are like a long loneliness. but valleys are necessary to appreciate the mountains.

i think. if i say it over and again, it sounds even more corny.

i am praying for you, sister. Jesus is the author and perfector of our faith; cling to Him, sit at His feet, ask for direction and a Word in due season. He'll provide it, but it may not be exactly what you want to hear so be prepared (i know i am never ready!)

also: get thee to the book of James. sit with it and let it soak in. it helps me.

love ya.

May 01, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I Am" Nitro AKA St. Gabriel, Born and thrown into this rechad world A bastard son of a raped Mother, Sinned, Drugged, sinned, stole, and imprissoned. Born 03-16-76 this time around, Married 7-years of my 30. But for the past 3, "I Am' searching like you for answers to what the bleep do we know any way. this may not make any sence at all but keep one thing in mind " I am the blue dragon and the first and the last and the finder of lost children and the bringer of joy" 5 years ago my life changed when my wife left me and I left the corn state with a back pack and 100 dollars and a pair of thongs, to walk the earth in search of what i did not know. But as A xcarpenter of ten years and father to none but uncle to 10, just the smorning as awokin by the mother mary I have been enlighten... So I guess my advice to you is keep your family tight And as long as he is doing gods work faithfully "Let it be" We will rest after the fourth generation Peace love and procpierity be with you as it has with me love St.gabriel...

September 08, 2006  

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