names have been omitted in this post
Parked in my driveway I sat behind the wheel in the driver's seat of my car… and waited… watching in the rear view mirror I saw the black four door sedan continue sitting, parked on the street in front of my house. With it's windows completely blackened out and not able to see whom was in it… my heart sank… I was pretty certain I knew what this was about… and thought back to the incident a few weeks before…
We had just had Christmas… it was only days past the twenty fifth of December…not yet the new year... when upon checking the mail I discovered a thick white envelope and seeing the return address was from the IRS my stomach turned like it was suddenly sour… instinctively I knew something wasn't right and with quick hands tore open the top of the envelope. Inside I was filled with dread as I began reading… numbers jumped at me… how much we owed… how unbeknownst to me he hadn't paid the taxes… in years… I saw double digit numbers adorned with zeros jump at me… in shock, all the penalties that were adding up day by day, hour by hour, minute by passing minute.
How would we ever pay this much money back?
Why did he let this happen?
How could he?!
What was he thinking?!
Why didn't he say something?
Would we lose our house?
I waited and the sedan wouldn't budge… finally I sighed with resignation, putting the clutch in reverse, slowly backing down the driveway and passing the black sedan… only to spot it, sure enough, with sharp eyes focused on it in my mirror, the sedan pulling away from the curb as soon as I passed... it tailing me down the street. Making the turn out of our community and onto the main thoroughfare, I headed toward the grocery store weaving my way through foggy morning traffic. Upon pulling into the grocery store parking lot and into a parking space, I watched as the sedan pulled in two spaces down facing me on the opposite row. The man in the sedan sat, waiting me out, with dark sunglasses on. It happened in a flash, me exiting the vehicle in my coat wearing the collar popped up and him springing out to photograph me as I quickly tried to turn my head and the wind whipped, partially hiding my face as I strode away from the car toward the store.
We sold our house and lost money on it… the anger, the hurt, the betrayal felt toward him in my marriage was there as well as embarassment. I crossed the yard for the last time and watched the moving truck pull away… headed toward the dismal rental we would call home for a few years. I had naively believed: "he screwed up… we just have to make it past this hurdle… this one hurdle… and then it will be okay again… we will be paying this off for a few years and get back on our feet… but he will learn his lesson"…
In a few short years with plenty of sacrifice we would get back on our feet financially… far better than before… but "lessons learned" and "no more hurdles" were just lies whispered in the wind.
THE LIES WE TELL OURSELVES
I had no idea how many more "screw ups" there would be to come over the years…
Marriage brings two imperfect people into a union… two imperfect people who undoubtedly also contribute challenges to the mix... of sharing a bathroom, paying off a mortgage, raising kids and meddling in-laws. There are the dirty clothes left on the floor, the whiskers in the sink that make you want to gag, the cookie crumbs on the counter alongside empty wrappers. If those were the worst challenges to cope with, to give grace and attempt to find solutions to… maybe it wouldn't be so "challenging".
But when a spouse continually shows you signs of what resembles teenage irresponsibility, downright criminal behavior joined with lies… when the "screw up's" just continue and never seem to stop… to just crop up again and again each time after the dust has just settled from the last incident…
You may begin to feel like you're riding a roller coaster of emotional havoc and unpredictability. It's bad enough to have your spouse feeding you lies and excuses on a silver spoon with a smile… but what's worse? The lies (excuses) you begin telling yourself. You may tell yourself…
He's really sorry, he has apologized. I have to believe that he's truly sorry... afterall, he's my husband.
(Only problem is... this keeps happening. If he's a sociopath he's likely not done using you/gaining narcissistic supply, which would be the only reason he would ever apologize, due to needing more time to fulfill his goals, because sociopath's don't ever say "I'm sorry").
He really screwed up, but he's also going to learn his lesson… this won't happen again...
Were just going through a tough time right now… but it will pass and get better.
(I mean, everyone has problems now and then, right?)
No, no, no…. this isn't about how he's typically late or how he can't stand a certain food you love, or gee, why can he not seem to remember where you keep the spatulas in the kitchen. This is about behavior that involves hiding information, withholding, lying, editing, or whatever you will call it… this is big stuff, this is behavior that puts your finances at risk, your family at risk, your future at risk, this is behavior that also leads to the same destructive path as cheating, to affairs, to a secret life behind closed doors you know nothing about… this is about an individual who lives with an indifferent chip on his shoulder toward others in society, who idolizes ego, status and image, who does what he wants, who does not care for his fellow man, who owes no one the truth and eventually has a chip on his shoulder toward you.. and who lives in a world that in his mind you will never be a party to because he doesn't share any more inner thoughts with you than his favorite cheese, his most admired mentor or his dvd collection. Getting in his mind and knowing what he's thinking is comparable to pulling nails from a stud only to find it's not possible. Figuring out why he continues to pull these inconceivable stunts and "screw ups" escapes you and leaves you scratching your head as they stack up one after another like wrecked cars on a dusty road.
As each incident piles up in your rearview mirror you think each time:
"This is ridiculous!… again? He screwed up AGAIN?!"
he's. that. good.
He manages to wiggle his way back into your heart and you see all the good things he is doing and it's so much easier to just paint a pretty picture, tell yourself a lie, swallow the ones he feeds you… a picture of lovely fantasy that he is more than willing to help construct… where everything is fuzzy, rosy wonderfulness and combined with his way of explaining it all away… as if it's perfectly normal for everyone to have these life altering incidents continually pop up in life like an ugly jack in the box… he snows you and you buy the ticket to another subscription… another chapter, another year, another five years and however many "incidents" and "screw ups" along the broken way... like a busted street hitting the potholes that he promised would be fixed… or maybe they are fixed, just enough…. just a few feet ahead… like a mirage it glimmers ahead all shiny and new… only much to your dismay for you to get a little further up the street to see the gaping potholes once again.
It's time to put on the brakes, remove our sunglasses and take a good look at the street were on.
Signs Of A Marriage In Need Of Help Despite The Lies We Tell Ourselves:
1. You both no longer share the same concerns. If you have an issue with something, let's say your finances, taxes, budget, etc and how their spent or handled... or perhaps your health has taken a recent nose dive and you're seeing doctor after doctor trying to get a diagnosis. If he's not concerned about the finances or for you and your well being... those are both big issues that need to be addressed. If he's acting like your valid concerns over the finances or your health are anything but valid but more like just your problem... then yeah, you have a huge problem. With him. As a couple, you should both be invested in issues that crop up as partners; together, ready to take on anything as a team and see the other spouses concerns as a concern for you both. If you feel alone in your marriage, it's time for a good hard look at the big picture. It's often so easy for us to get caught up in the day to day activities of life, especially as women multitasking.... caring for our children, homemaking, cooking, errands, work, that often conquering merely another week at most is preferable over seeing what lies ahead further down the road.
2. He's pulling away and his behavior is distant... unlike how he used to be. He could be emotionally and physically distancing himself because he's cheating... if he's mentally caught up in another relationship much of his energy will be dedicated to that and he may seem not as involved, as immersed in family life and connected to you. If he's suddenly seeing friends for lunch or going to the movies alone or traveling more for work... even working overtime these are red flags that something may not be right.
3. If you aren't both working toward a common goal; a healthy marriage and open communication. Then your marriage is on rocky terrain. It's time to get back to basics in communicating and problem solving. It might be a good idea to make a list of things you can talk to your spouse about… positive topics. Then make a list of topics you have difficulty sharing with him or that seem to be a continual source of friction. Mentally rate your marriage on a scale of one to ten… one being the lowest score and ten being the (best) highest score. Do you think your spouse would agree with you or would his score be lower or higher? Set some time aside for you to both discuss how you feel and share your lists... it may confirm that marital counseling is needed.
4. A lack of intimacy in the relationship. This is always a red flag and if one spouse is pulling away it could indicate a lack of trust in the other person on their part. If he's consistently not home when he says he will be, if he is continually pulling irresponsible stunts that jeopardize the family, if he's condescending toward his wife, abusive, even neglectful… it will show up in the bedroom. If he's checking out the single women in the waiting room of his pregnant wife's ob/gyn doctor's office or anywhere else… there's a problem and disrespect is just one of them. If a man is treating his wife right outside the bedroom it will be reflected behind the bedroom door.
5. If your spouse has become the enemy. If your spouse has become someone you now view as on the "other side"… as an individual to do battle with, to "deal with", endure, tolerate, etc… this is not what the picture of a marital relationship should be. If you believe you are no longer working as a team, a united partnership… then that deters communication and intimacy. It's time to reflect on what brought you to this place and what resentments have been allowed to set in. If incidents of irresponsibility continue to crop up by one spouse it's not the job of the other spouse to play parent and continue to "fix" it, come to the rescue or slap a bandaid on the situation... it's time to seek help from a trusted Pastor or therapist.
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