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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Guest post: One step forward, three steps back

Today's guest post is from Kari at I left my heart at preschool. I intended on posting this last night, but I couldn't think of what to say in this intro. I want to tell you how sweet and kind Kari is, because it's true. That she is a good writer and friend. I want to tell you how adorable her girls are; how much prettier her blog is than mine and how I can't wait to drink some wine with her at BlogHer this summer.

Mostly though, I want to just let her words speak for her. I think that is possibly the best thing to do. Please, please support this lovely friend of mine, because I think she could use some kindness right now.

Thanks, Issa

When Issa asked me to write a guest post, I was more than happy to help her out. Because what she is going through, how she just isn’t inspired to write a lot lately, I get it. I’ve actually been feeling the same way myself lately. The main reason I’ve personally been ignoring my blog lately, is because there’s something that I’ve wanted to write about for a long time now, it’s just been too jumbled up in my mind to come out as a coherent post. Also because it’s not something I’m comfortable posting on my own blog. Too many family and co-workers read my blog, and I’m not ready to get too naked in front of them at this point. So I guess I’m also taking this guest post as an opportunity to get naked in Issa’s backyard instead…thanks Issa!

My marriage sucks.

We’ve never had what you’d call an easy relationship, but the past few years especially, I feel like for every step forward we take, we end up taking a few steps backwards shortly after. To start at the very beginning would make this post the length of a novel…my husband and I have been married for eleven years, and have known each other for eighteen years in total. So I’ll start a few years after we were married. We hit a turning point in our marriage, where we easily could have split up before starting a family together – but ended up staying together. Sometimes I wonder if I stayed partially out of guilt. For quite a while before that point, when things were going badly in our relationship, I withdrew – almost entirely. But I felt like I had invested so much of my life into this relationship, with a man that I loved dearly – that I owed us both a chance to focus completely on making it work. And we did. We went to counseling, we decided to move closer to our families and we started our lives over again, so to speak. When things were solid in our marriage, we decided to start a family together.

We struggled every now and then, but we were able to keep working through our issues. There was, however, a strange undercurrent in our relationship that kept pulling us back to seemingly the same problems. So about a year ago, we decided to go to counseling again. I got a lot out of our counseling sessions, and I thought we grew as a couple because of them. I continued going on my own for a while after our couple sessions were over, which made a huge difference for me personally. Then, not too long after counseling, we were arguing over something that I cannot even remember – when he told me that he was unhappy in our relationship solely because I am overweight. According to him, this was the one thing that everything else hinged on, and the one thing that has kept him from being happy ever since we were married – so for the past ten years.

I was broken. I’m not even going to go into whether or not I feel that I am overweight – or the history of my weight in the time of our marriage – because I think it’s irrelevant. I was broken by the fact that something external was his entire basis for happiness with me. I was torn between wondering if I would do more damage to my kids by leaving, or by staying with someone who puts that much weight in weight. Pun intended.

I spent months being angry, and putting on even more weight – probably as my “F you” to him – I had decided that this was his problem, not mine. Eventually, I made peace with it. I finally told him how hurt I was. He told me about his hurt. I listened. He listened. We both agreed that we were essentially staying together for the kids. We both agreed that it wasn’t good for them or for us, to be unhappy together in our marriage. We both agreed that we’re not ready to give up. We both agreed that we have no idea how to make it better.

I put a lot of thought into how to make things better. He was just about to leave for a week long business trip, when I told him about one idea that I had. We would both write down five things that were really important to us, and the other person would try their best to do those things. Neither of us actually took pen to paper, but knowing at least one thing that is apparently THE most important thing to him, I set out to lose weight. In attempting to understand him, I was also able to feel more loving and accepting towards him. I wrote him a long letter and put it in his suitcase. He called me the day after he landed and told me it was the best card I’d ever given him. Finally, I felt like we were taking some steps forward.

It’s been hard keeping up my personal motivation, because I feel like since then, he has not acknowledged anything that I’ve done to try to make things better for us. I also feel like he has not been putting in any effort from his side. Maybe he has, and I haven’t seen it, just as he hasn’t seen any of my efforts.

Tonight, we got into another fight about our different parenting styles. He seems just as angry and unhappy as the day he first told me about how unhappy he really was, if not more. He said something about how there’s no point talking about anything, because nothing will ever change. I said if we can’t continue to talk about parenting, then what is the point of being together. I feel like the kids are better off, if we just parent them completely separately. He said he thinks that is what we are doing right now.

Three steps back. I wonder how many steps backwards are left, before we fall off the cliff. I feel like we’re so close, I can’t see how we can come back to safety.

I keep thinking about a plaque that a friend gave me recently. It says, “Faith is daring the soul to go, where the eyes cannot see.” I do have Faith. I’ve never lost it. I dare my heart and my mind, to keep going, even though I cannot see what is in front of me.


Anonymous said...

If you can't get naked in a friend's yard, where can you get naked?

I wish I had the words that would solve this for you. I know the pain of feeling like you're going to lose your marriage and everything that means. All I can offer you are hugs and reassurances that I, and so many others, will be here for whatever you need, whenever you need it, no matter what happens.

Issas Crazy World said...

Am going to comment in my own comments section, because I am cool like that. Kari, you know I'm here for you no matter what. And I've already told you this, but I want to say it again: that you are an amazing beautiful woman, inside and out and I haven't even met you yet. If he is unhappy in your marriage, then that's about him, not you, no matter what he says. The question is, are you happy? If the answer is no, them maybe it's time to see if you can be again. Because everyone deserves to be happy in their marriage. Maybe not all the time, but if you just aren't, then it's time for things to change.

PsychMamma said...

I can hear the heartache in your words. What a hard, hard place you're in. Marriage is hard enough, but it's truly amazing how much adding kids makes it even harder. Differences in ideas of discipline and general parenting styles get so complicated to work through or around.

I also know, all too well, that weight is not so easy to lose/change either, and to feel that your entire worth/love rests upon that factor has to be incredibly difficult and hurtful.

For what it's worth, I've seen your pic at your blog and know that you have a glowing outer beauty, but, EVEN MORE, I've read enough of your words and heard enough of your heart to know that your inner beauty is extraordinary.

Just as Insta-Mom said, if there's anything I can do to help, please let me know. I'm just an email address away.

Jaden Paige said...

I debated on whether or not to comment on this, because I know it's hard for me to be unbiased about the weight thing. Honestly, it's not because of anything to do with my own weight- but my Mom was anorexic for much of her life, in and out of the hospital when I was younger.... So when I see or hear about men who say things like this to women, it really tears me apart. It scares me in a way that makes me want to shake those men silly and say-

"Don't you REALIZE what you are doing?! Do you KNOW how long that woman will hold onto that comment? Do you KNOW how much it will hurt, how hard she will try to CHANGE because of that one thing?! Do you even have any clue what it's like to be a woman in a society that expects nothing less than perfection of you- of your body, of your mind, of your selflessness?!"

But, I veer off here.

I don't have any real advice. I'm so sorry that I don't, but in reality, none of us are living in the marriage you are. Only you know whether it is worth saving- only you know what is left to be salvaged, and how you will handle whatever the outcome is. My best advice is that it takes two to turn things around- if he isn't making the effort, why should you? Is it even possible for you to be superwoman who saves everything on her own? Or do you think he will make an effort? Do you think if you sit down with him and discuss how you're feeling here- maybe even let him read this, or snippets of it- that he might look at himself and assess what he can do to help the situation?

*hugs* My best wishes for you and your family. We are all here if you need support.

Lu said...

I really don't know what to say here except, listen to your heart and gut on this one. Weight gain/loss is hard enough on the individual w/out someone else acting like your weight is affecting them.
The parenting style issue is tough. My first is almost 2 and the hubs and I have butt heads a few times, BUT you have to compromise somehow so the kids see you as a united front. Married or not.
I wish these things could be ealiy resolved and I hope the best for you. Listen to your heart.

MG @ MommyGeekology said...

This is so difficult.. and such a personal situation that I'm glad you were able to feel safe enough to share here on Issa's blog... I can only wish you the best of luck, tell you that I believe listening to your heart and your mind together on this one is the best for you, for your children, for your marriage... and to say that I hope that you can find happiness somewhere down the line - - sooner than later.

Saved by Grace said...

Wow, that took a lot of courage to post. I am still in awe of your efforts despite the lack of encouragement from him. Continue to believe what Issas said about you--you are beautiful and you are valuable because you were created in His image, regardless of what the world (or misguided, and just plain wrong, husbands) values. I know you will come out of this struggle all the stronger, whichever way it goes. I will continue to lift you up to the only One whose love is unfailing and unconditional.
love you..

Maura said...

I'm glad you were able to step into Issa's yard and get this off your chest. Just writing about things usually makes me feel so much better.

I'm sorry that you're in this situation and I hope you find the right way out of it for you.

anymommy said...

I don't have any answers for any of this pain, Kari, but I wanted to say that I also find you beautiful, inside and out.

I think, at some point, you have tried enough and you have to focus on making yourself happy, because you really can't 'make' another person happy if they choose to be otherwise. Where that point is for you, I just don't know. Hugs.

Kirsten said...

Well crap. Of course I don't have any words of advice. I always think "if only I could lose weight I would be a happier. I would be a better mom, wife, friend." But deep down, I know that's not the case. The weight is a symptom of other things, not the other way around.

I'm sure that is no help at all. You're amazing just as you are. And I'm not just saying that because you are my sister. Whatever happens, you know I will love and support you and your girls. I hope you both find your way to peace and happiness. Whatever I can do to help that along... I'm just a phone call away.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I'm so sorry that all this is happening to you. My first reaction when I read that your husband felt like it was your weight that was at the crux of the issue was, "BULLSHIT!" (at him, not you) Seriously, I worry that you'd go through a lot of trouble to lose weight FOR him and then it'd be some other issue. Listen, I can see if he was worried about your health and wanted to work with you to create a healthier household, but it sounds like he told you to go fix yourself and then went along his merry way.

So, lose weight for you, not for him, if you want. You can't "make" someone else happy. I don't know what the solution is, but I don't think a person can "fix" themselves for someone else. I hope you guys find a way to either move on together or apart and that you find true happiness soon. You deserve to be loved for who you are.