Thursday, May 29, 2014

I Did Not Miss You

Recently, after I’d implemented my New Attitude, my wife was still upset about the last incident where I was yelling at the kids (it was over a situation where they were endangering themselves). She repeatedly asked me to leave the home to stay somewhere else. I refused. So after a couple of days of me handling the kids without yelling at them, without discussing the issue with me or telling me what she was going to do, while I was out working, she packed up some items, packed up the kids, and took them to the home of her married-with-kids sister. I came home and realized, after I didn’t get immediately presented with demands, that they weren’t there. There was no note left. I had to check my e-mail to find a message that had been sent only a few minutes before explaining her plans. I was relieved that, if her message were to be believed anyway, the kids were alive and safe and with other responsible, capable adults. The way she handled that, though, was unacceptable.

My father’s response (I think he was tipped off by my sister) was to call and tell me to change the locks. If it was just my wife, I would have. However, I have an obligation to my children.

Despite my attempts to communicate, my wife refused to respond to me for over two days. Evidently, she, her sister, and brother-in-law were unable to handle my son, so my wife dropped him off with my mother after a couple of days.

I still had to work and do the necessary chores around the house, but the few waking hours I had at home were GREAT! I could do what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted, without interruptions, without nagging, without snide sarcasm. I wasn’t asked to do things by my wife that she should be able to do for herself.

On the fifth day, I had my regularly scheduled individual therapy session. Ah, there was too much to cover in such a short amount of time. After returning home from that, as planned, my wife started a text discussion that lasted for over three hours. It was more one-sided “You need to change” nagging (I’ve never asked her to change anything about herself, although I could have) and immaturity on her part. She even sent me a link to a music video about breaking up or a sad time in a relationship. What are we, seventh graders? I, of course, tried multitasking because it was just too much nonsense, but she realized I was changing screens and she berated me for it. So I multitasked on a difference device.

I missed my kids. There was nothing good to miss about my wife. She hadn’t been making dinner, running errands, or doing much around the house at all. We hadn’t been spending time together at home, we hadn’t been hugging and kissing, we hadn’t been going on dates – and not for my lack of offering/trying. Sex? HA! Since she likes reserving my mercy dose of sex for a one weekly go on a weekend night, it is very easy for her to escape that “obligation” by picking something I did that needs to be punished, or saying I should get more rest, or telling me it would better to do the next night (9 out of 10 times, it ends up not happening that next night). I really don’t want a hostage anyway. As of this writing, it has been at least two and a half weeks since our last sexual encounter, with no end in sight, despite the fact that…

I convinced her to return on the sixth day, along with our daughter, and my mother brought my son back. The kids had missed me, judging from their actions. Since they all returned, I have been behaving myself despite several instances where other parents might have yelled at their kids.

We had a therapy session as a couple. There was so much I never got around to bringing up because my wife was already crying through so much of it. I had to bite my tongue a few times, especially in response to the therapist, who I generally like.

After the session, I managed to get my wife to accept a dinner date with me. It was good to see her actually eat something (a history of anorexia is yet another thing that kept hidden to me until after I was vested in the marital contract), and something that wasn’t junk sweets. The dinner was already keeping me out too late, but as it was winding down, she requested I help with some chores once we got home. Ugh. She operates as though she doesn’t know that I am the sole support of this family and that it is important for me to get enough rest before I go off to work. Yes, I could have told her “no”, but there would have been hell to pay for that, and I was trying to get her back into a positive attitude.

It’s not like she has any responsibilities other than being a wife and mother. I realize those are challenging and extremely important roles, and that is why I readily agreed to be the sole income earner (and now I’m looking to take on additional work even though I already work full-time). She doesn’t work. She doesn’t volunteer. She’s not part of an in-person team or club. She doesn’t have a productive hobby anymore, such as gardening or knitting or sewing. She’s not taking care of a parent. She’s not managing our finances and bills. Being a wife and mother is IT, and yet she’s doing pretty much nothing as a wife and not nearly enough as a mother.

I come home after a full day of work straight out of a Dilbert cartoon and literally, immediately, the kids rush to me with their requests because their mother wants to them sit around the house because it is easier on her. They want me to take them here or there, or do some physical activity with them. And I do, because that’s what a good father does, especially when their mother doesn’t. This will mean a late dinner for me and a too-late bedtime and no time for me to relax. Meanwhile, the woman who is legally entitled to half of every penny I’m earning sits in our bed or on the couch, watching television and playing mindless tablet games. I like spending time with the kids, as long as they aren’t auditioning for a new season of Supernanny. I can’t say I like it more than having a little time to myself on my own terms, but maybe I could if I had more of such time.

When I am working, I’m often getting texts from my wife complaining about how she can’t control the children, and how she’s fallen over and hit her head or bruised herself. She can have a tough enough time walking these days, but when you add in the sea of debris that our home’s floor can become soon after we’ve paid someone to clean the place, even the most physically coordinated person is going to trip sometime. Could I clean the place up myself? Yes, I could, if I gave up some more of the precious few hours of sleep I get, and if I didn’t want to stick to my principle that we’re supposed to have a division of labor.

So, to wrap this entry, I’ll say a couple of things I probably have said here before. Here I am, someone who would self-identify (and be identified by others) as a conservative, family-minded Evangelical Christian who is intellectually convinced that sex is for marriage, and yet: 1) I can’t fully regret the fornication in my past because if I hadn’t had those experiences to give me perspective now, I’d be in a much worse place psychologically and think I was completely unlovable by other normal human beings, or I’d be more likely to divorce to try to remarry so I could experience a healthy sex life, and 2) I can’t in good conscience recommend LEGAL marriage to my son or any other guy (with certain exceptions I’ll have to save for another entry). Ladies, you might find that second one offensive. Yes, I’m fully away my wife’s situation is not typical and there are some women out there who are consistently great wives and mothers, but the risk is too high, and the laws and courts enable women to ruin husbands. Even the best wife and mother can become destructive and hurtful with a hormonal problem or a brain injury. Dr. Laura has indicated that 40% of first marriages end in divorce. I just heard author Rabbi Shmuley Boteach say a third of marriages are sexless. In considering the remaining percentage of marriages that don’t end in divorce, aren’t sexless, yet are often unhappy or troubled, then the odds are NOT in favor of lasting, happy marriages in which the spouses are faithful.

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