I have dealt with the once dreadful questions gracefully…. How are you doing? How is the baby? I have figured out a way to respond without having the need to dodge them. However, I was not prepared to be asked the question, “So, how is your marriage doing in spite of all this?”… just like how the previous 2 questions used to affect me, getting asked this question threw me into a crying fit in front of the person that asked. And as much as I have tried to figure out how I can dodge or answer this question with the purpose of hiding how I really felt, I figured a healthier way to approach it is to actually deal with the reality of how our marriage was really doing. It was not going well then.
But, just like I have found a way, and I may have to say, I have come around beautifully, dealing with how I am doing and how the baby is doing, things managed to come around also with the status of our marriage.
Just to be clear, right now, I am doing well, the baby is doing fine, and my marriage is okay. It really is. Yeah, we have our typical arguments and finding our way around our differences, which every marriage has. We are doing fine. It was doing fine right before Isabella came into our life and it is doing fine right now. However, I would have to admit though, that since having Isabella, we did have a big strain on our marriage. That time in between having Isabella until recently, was not only a dark and difficult time for me emotionally, it was also a dim period in our marraige
Since having Isabella, we fought more than we used to. We argued more than we used to. And the differences, it almost seemed as if there was no going around it. What made it tougher is how we both dealt with the reality of our situation. My spouse and I deal very differently with disappointment, frustration, despair, grief, and anger. And since we were both dealing with the intensity of the situation we were in, we needed emotional support… support that we cannot give one another because we were both dealing, trying to deal, with our situation
We yelled, we hid, we tuned out, we walked away, we escaped, we blamed, we became verbally abusive, and things were thrown if not destroyed around the house…. and the moments wherein we would want to be passive the other one wanted to be actively dealing, and when the other one is actively dealing, the other one chooses to be in a passive state. It was almost as if we would never see each other eye to eye ever again and I felt alone, isolated, and taken for granted.
We were in pain that we demand for the other person to understand. We were hurt that we wish for the other person to be more understanding. We felt weak and we want the other to take in the role of being the stronger one. But we were both dealing with our pain… we didn’t have time to take care of the other person in the marriage since we can barely take care of ourselves. We wanted to be the one to be nursed and understood and heard. We each wanted it to be about our bruised selves.What made it all the more challenging is that we cannot just take care of ourselves or the other person with what left over time we could spare, we had Isabella to take care of and boy did she need a lot of our time.
The first year went by really quick. We were busy with doctor visits, setting up services, and remembering medications. But, in between the appointments, the phone calls, the specialists’ visits and the prescription refills, we would try to cope. It was not easy. Isabella took up a lot of our time and yet we also needed that time to try and heal.
In the middle of taking care of Isabella, and the trying to not overcompensate with our son Eloi, and our healing, nobody took the time to take care of “us”… and our marriage suffered. Our self absorbed “but what about me” approach put a big strain in our relationship and somewhere there came more disappointments to deal with, which for the most part was the disappointment of not getting the emotional support we each needed from that one supposed person to really get it, the spouse. And with the disappointments piling up came the frustrations which then led to resentments.
Honestly I contemplated on running away, leave him to deal with all this. I thought about weighing the risks involved just to have that chance to begin again. I thought about it long and hard. But my heart belongs to my children…. Both of them, and more so to Isabella. I figured our marriage can take a back seat for now and I have got to figure out a way around my coping and the taking care of the children. My husband is an adult, he has got to figure out a way to take care of himself without having to have me do it for him, right?
Eventually I realized, that I do need him... we needed each other. I need him to be the stronger one or at least try to pretend to be. And I have to be that person, pretend to be that person when he needs me to be that person. I realized that taking care of “us” is not an individual job, it is both our job. We need to be together in the doing. We needed to be together in everything. After all, that was what marriage is about… 2 people becoming one. So, we started talking, which was more of trying to reach out to the other tuned-out person at the beginning, which then turned into arguing, which later turned into discussions… to commitments…and eventually evolved into both us working on everything together as one. Just like how it should’ve been since the beginning.
I came to experience first hand how things sometimes have a tendency to get worse before they actually get better, but with that came the wisdom that things are indeed bearable when two of you share the load. I know that we still have the rest of our lifetime to go through many rough patches and managing to patch things up. We have a long ways to go really, and we have a long stretch of time ahead of us to keep on wanting to work things out… After all that is what making a commitment to spend the rest of our lives together is all about.
I take you to be my spouse, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.
So if any of you out there is dealing with a rough phase in your marriage, this too shall pass. Keep your focus on each other and your family, and when things start to look like they are getting worse, work yourselves through it, because in the end the risks involved in the leaving does not, by a long shot outweigh the rewards of staying. My advice is that, in the face of all the negative forces that you will be encountering, counter it with love and more love each time… and of course, you also need to put in a lot of prayer… only God will help both of you get through this.
1 Corinthians 13:7 Love always perseveres. (NIV)
Love always perseveres and never looks back. Love never stops, never quits, never doubts, and never goes against the good. Love never loses sight of the goal of glorifying God with all we have and with all we do. Love perseveres over all obstacles because the stakes of winning are so high even thinking about quitting is not an option. Love perseveres because Christ perseveres, because God perseveres, and because the Holy Spirit perseveres. These three in one are love. Love perseveres because love is too exuberant to stop. Love has so much energy within it no one can prevent love's upward progress.