Thursday, May 1, 2014

Marriage and the Cross Part 2: When Love Gets Ugly



 I was going to post this 2 months ago when I had my first breakdown..but things got better and I left it alone. Mainly because I started praying and trusting in God's will and providence and seeing that this is an opportunity for sanctification...
...That this cross that I bear really brings me closer to Jesus
...and it was OKAY to be close to Jesus and His cross and His suffering during Lent.


So I kind of abandoned this post because I didn't want to whine and complain about how hard my life is, because really, my life ain't that hard compared to some of you super-amazing-homeschooling-NFP-practicing-fully-faithful-to-the-church-no-matter-how-much-sacrifice-it-requires-mommies... You mommies who sacrifice your whole life, who die to SELF and live for your little ones. Your lives are hard. Mine isn't really [At least not yet]. So I didn't want to whine about it.

But I had another difficult day yesterday. I almost had a breakdown. Not a full blown one but some tears did come streaming down my face...I had to hold them in until my husband left the house because I didn't want him seeing and questioning and stressing over it...since this really isn't his fault.

I'm still feeling very much down and depressed. And just exhausted. I think that breakdown came from a combination of multiple factors. Exhaustion for sure (I just took a brutal therapeutics exam for which I stayed up almost the entire night to study). Stress about said exam. Stress about all.the.things I still have to do before I'm officially done with school in three weeks. Emptiness in my heart because I just want to be DONE with school and become a mommy. And the LONELY nights. Those countless.sad.lonely.nights. Every freaking single night when I come from school/work...I am home alone. Yes,  I am an introvert to the nth power, but even an introvert needs social interaction...and most of all, LOVE.

So here is the post I wrote a few months ago and that has been sitting saved in my drafts folder.... I am feeling the need to share it now to relieve some of the emotional stress this situation is causing me.

My husband was officially supposed to start working day shifts beginning today, May 1, but we just found out this is getting delayed again..for at least another month, if not more.


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I ain't no hater.
But I absolutely hate, despise, loathe, abhor, can't stand (+every other synonym of hate out there)  when my husband goes MIA for months at a time. This doesn't sound like a big deal to many of you. You all have so much joy in your households, so much joyful noise, so much love coming from your kids. All I have every single evening is my lonely house, my cat, and my stacks of pharmacy school notes...And God, of course. Let's not forget Him, because if it wasn't for Him, I'd be an even bigger mess than I already am. Now that I think about it...our marriage is nearing its one year anniversary in a few months, and I can only say that my husband was truly with me for only 3 months of it (when he worked his day shifts November through January). All of the other months (especially the long, cold winter nights), we lived on opposite schedules. It's not easy when you have waited so many years to marry the love of your life, to finally get to live together and share a bed together...and you get hit with the harsh reality that is life - which does not always work out according to our plans and expectations.

Sitting here, lonely, for yet another night...is almost unbearable.
It hurts and it causes so much emptiness and suffering in my heart.
And lately... it has been causing me to be on the verge of tears almost every day. 

WE WERE CREATED FOR EACH OTHER.
Created to be spouses to one another.
And now that God has joined us into ONE.
It's very hard to be apart.
Very hard.

Why?

Well, I am a super introvert.
So, no, I cannot substitute hubby time with girlfriend dates and parties.
I can only substitute it with reading books/blogs and praying to God.
I avoid people.
I hate noise.
When things get too loud or too crowded or too filled with gossip or drama...I get really overwhelmed. I have to retreat to a quiet place...to be able to hear my own thoughts again.

The only person I don't avoid is my husband..the one who God actually created for me.
His words aren't noise. His company doesn't overwhelm me. He's not loud, he doesn't gossip, he doesn't judge (kinda like Jesus, you know?) He inspires me to be like him. That's why I like being around him...because I'm always learning how to be a better, more loving person.

I hope that at least it gets warm outside (we've had winter in Chicago for like 6 months now...no joke)...so that I could start going outside (major cabin fever here!) and go jogging and enjoy the beautiful weather and the beauty of the God-created nature...and get lost in my own thoughts...and be distracted from the harsh reality of loneliness by the beautiful weather and fresh air oxygenating my brain and tissues.

The fact that I'm so disturbed...lonely...lacking peace... simply means that I'm not spending enough time with God in prayer. I know this because as soon as I start talking with God (for longer than the usual 5 minutes)...He seems to calm me down almost right away and He opens my eyes to the things I am normally blind to without His light.

This lack of peace in my heart means that I'm not going to HIM for consolation like I should be. I know this because every time I do go to Him for consolation, I am, indeed, consoled.

 
It truly helps me to imagine myself as a little helpless child in the Father's embrace. A father doesn't let anything happen to His special child that He is embracing.


Or sometimes I image myself cuddled up in the palm of His big, fat, warm hand. And It makes me feel so safe. Like HE is in control. Like HE's got ME and MY WHOLE LIFE in the PALM OF HIS HAND and like NOTHING can touch me.



But so often I forget this.
I forget that He is in control.
That we have BIG God.
And a GOOD GOD...whose goodness really is beyond measure.

And I forget that this is just a trial.
That this too shall pass.
It will not last forever.

Hopefully just another month...although this next month will probably feel like forever. Perhaps if I can handle this well and pass God's trial, He might bless me with bigger and better things...because He will know that I'm capable of handling them without being fragile and weak and breaking down easily.

But I always seem to worry that we'll grow apart...that the passion will die out...that a cold distance will form between us. And what I forget is: LOVE IS not just about PASSION. Love is NOT a feeling! Love is an act..it is a CHOICE. We must CHOOSE to love the other person, on purpose, even when we don't feel any particular passion. Even if what we feel is anger or loneliness. We must continue to perform acts of love and kindness towards that person no matter what. That is what TRUE love is...what Agape love is.



Finally, I always forget that suffering is not always bad...at least not if you're a Christian. Suffering can be redemptive. Suffering can be offered up to God. Suffering makes us become closer to Jesus and His Holy Cross. And finally, Jesus loves the suffering soul tremendously. In fact, you might have heard this famous quote:
Marriage consists of 3 rings
- an engagement ring
- a wedding ring
- and suffering


According to the above quote, I would say Greg and I and very compatible. Lately, we have been doing a lot of "Compati" or "suffering with" each other.

The other weekend, we fought. We fought like little children...Worse! Like immature pre-teens fight with their mothers: using 100% ego/pride/sense-of-independence/I-don't-care-about-you-attitude and 0% logic/love/understanding.

As mentioned above, I had, for a long time now, been feeling so lonely and isolated.  I came home on Friday, and instead of trying to disseminate the feeling of loneliness, I helped propagate it.

I entered the house. Didn't say hi. Didn't give him a kiss. Completely ignored his existence and went right upstairs into the office and started studying..
Or pretending like I was studying. Pretending like I didn't care.
Because really...I couldn't focus on studying for even a split of a second.
I was  feeling sooo hurt...soo lonely....soo offended.
I was waiting for him to come upstairs and comfort me.
HOW DARE he not come chasing after me?
I sat there for a good 10-15 minutes..drowning in my own misery...trying to talk things out with God.. Hoping that by doing that...I would arrive at the right words and the right attitude and not mistreat my husband.

He finally came upstairs with a smirk on his face...which made me even more hurt/offended.
HOW DARE you laugh about all of this? D'you think it's funny how I feel?

And the the "YOU ALWAYS" and "YOU NEVERS" started...the whole list of them, i.e:
you never show me any love
you always laugh at me when I'm sad or hurt
you never take me seriously
you always blame everything on me 
you never.....
you always.....
bleh bleh bleh

He ended up storming outta the house [to go work his nightshift]...MAD.
And I couldn't believe that HE didn't even try to make things better before he left.

And there I was...
Left to my own misery and loneliness again.
Left all by myself for another fabulous lonely Friday night.


Things started getting better on Saturday night when I came home from my 10 hour Saturday shift. Then we got into a huuuuge fight.  We ended up not going to sleep until about 4am...because we just kept fighting. There were a few times when we were close to making up and I was close to forgiving him (mostly because I was sick of this crap and I just wanted to hug him because I had been missing him so much...the last thing I needed when we finally came TOGETHER on the weekend was a cold bitter ugly fight. And also because I knew that quick forgiveness was the right thing to do). But BAM, he said more and more offensive words. And I was just dying inside. I couldn't believe it. I ended up offending him by telling him he is unintelligent (in an uglier way). And we just kept going in circles...because he did not [want to] understand me. And I wasn't going to just give in...like I always do. I couldn't stop thinking about some of his sharp words that caught me off guard.  (He told me I have no friends and that I am selfish and too introverted...that I am a loner.....all the words that absolutely pierce the heart of a sensitive, introverted person like me. And I clenched my teeth, shut my eyes tightly as my throat squeezed.. and I started weeping into my pillow.) We ended up working things out before SUNRISE like we are supposed to. I try to follow the "do not let the sun set on your anger" rule and it usually works. [There is NO reason to be mad at each other for extended periods of time over stupid stuff that mostly involves personality flaws combined with the craziness of life].

Although that weekend was painful, it was a good experience for my soul. God turned this seemingly UGLY experience into a fruitful one. (He's notorious for turning even the worst of sin into holiness and the worst of sinners into Saints.) The next day after work, I found myself in a state of unceasing prayer...unceasing conversation with God for most of the day.
I was just trying to understand my husband.
Understand where he is coming from.
Why he is the way he is.
And realized that, just like me, just like everyone else, he is imperfect and has a lot of flaws.
Those flaws might be a whole lot different than mine (which is probably why I have a hard time understanding them). Things that seem so easy and obvious to me...are difficult and hard for him to see and understand.

And that's okay.

This is what marriage is.

It is not FEELING
It is not SUNSHINE, RAINBOWS, AND BUTTERFLIES

It is a CROSS.

A BLOODY SACRIFICE...
...of tripping and falling on the way to the TOP of the mountain
...of  blood, sweat, and tears
...of nails being driven into our hands and feet.

It is a journey...
... of passions and resurrections
...of dying to self for the sake of the spouse
...of  surrendering one self TOTALLY to the WILL OF GOD...no.matter.what.
...of abandoning one's spirit and one's whole life to the FATHER and saying "Father into your hands I commend my spirit" and realizing that through yet another DEATH and another RESURRECTION and another ABANDONING of SELF to GOD...we just became much closer to the true reflection of Christ. And then we can say: "it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me"(St. Paul)





In the end. I am deeply-madly-truly in love with my husband. And while marriage is not just a feeling....it is also not always all about the blood, sweat, and tears. There are so many beautiful moments in our marriage...sometimes I can't help but look up towards the heavens in disbelief and say: "Dear God, Thanks for this beautiful life that you have given me and forgive me if sometimes it seems as if I don't have enough."
Whatever difficulties me and my husband still have to face on our path, and I know they will probably be many (after all, we want to be Saints, right? The path to holiness is narrow and rough), the great, inexplicable bond of true self-sacrificial love that God established between us will always be our anchor. There is nothing I enjoy more than my husband's company and if I have to wait a few more months to obtain it, that is okay. His presence in my life is a gift and I should treat it as such. I'm a lucky gal to have such a wonderful, hard-working, faithful husband and a wonderful God who takes care of us in both the good times and the bad.

4 comments:

  1. Well, I am a super introvert.
    So, no, I cannot substitute hubby time with girlfriend dates and parties.
    I can only substitute it with reading books/blogs and praying to God.
    I avoid people.
    I hate noise.
    When things get too loud or too crowded or too filled with gossip or drama...I get really overwhelmed. I have to retreat to a quiet place...to be able to hear my own thoughts again."
    Hi girl ...you are me exactly! helloo there ;)

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    1. well hello soul sister!!!!!! ;-) glad I'm not the only one haha! As they say: Introverts unite!!! Individually. haha

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  2. My husband and I have been together since 2003 and married for 5 years. The HARDEST year we had was when we worked opposite hours and had a toddler. We didn't see each other. He was carrying the burden of being the parent at home at night, Terrible. Stressful. And oh so happy to have moved beyond that.

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    1. Well I'm glad I'm not the only one to have to go through that...And you had a toddler too! On the one hand, at least you don't get that lonely with a toddler around, but on the other hand, you ARE tackling everything as one parent. Sucks either way. But thanks for sharing :-)

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