Empty, but no vacancy

Although I have not maintained new content here as of the past couple years, I have not lost my desire to write..only my motivation to do so.  It’s truly a shame to abandon something for which you’ve always held an affinity. Perhaps a little something to bring any readers who may still be around up to speed.

Over the last year and almost a half, I have been in the process of a divorce which was made final just more than a week ago.  For my entire adult life I had opposed divorce.  I believed in the vow of “I Do” but once and your chips fall where they may.  This, however, ceased to continue as a viable option. From my perspective anyway, I persisted in an emotionally and psychologically abusive marriage — you know, for the sake of “family” and the children.  Days for me because torturous.  Enduring a spouse who seemed bent on branding into my heart the fact that I was not loved — but more than that, I was loathed.

There came a point where I had a decision to make. You see, for most of my life I could not understand how a person could, in any serious way, contemplate taking their own life.  I could not fathom how any woman could allow herself to endure what onlookers would describe as battered women’s syndrome.  And although I was not physically abused, the verbal affliction I permitted myself to receive unreciprocated, I would never have knowingly allowed someone I cared for to absorb.  To this day, the psychological conditioning I was subjected to still occasionally manifests in small, but effecting ways.

For a short spell, I had actually contemplated darkening the sun for myself.  I went so far as to choose a location, a method, and plan for my sudden disappearance.  I had visited this spot often, eyes full and lungs empty.  My saving grace had always been my children.  I could feel the horror that they would feel.  The news of losing their father in such a morbid fashion..experiencing all their lives’ milestones without me there.  Their agony saved me and they don’t even know it.

Since leaving the home I had fallen in love.  I discovered someone who was willing to give their entire being to me.  Life-changing.  Here’s the thing: I believe in true love.  Not just hypothetically or as the novelist pens. But real Westley and Buttercup love.  The kind not even death can stop, to quote the Dread Pirate Roberts.  I believed I had that, I really did.  For some reasons, that love did not endure.  I suppose we can all offer speculations as to why the story ended where it did, and I’m sure we are all correct to one degree or another.

Not discarding the permanent impact that relationship has had on my heart, love — real lay-down-your-life love has thus far been evasive.  Granted, the time I’ve spent searching has been relatively brief.  The notion that she is out there, and that I will absolutely find her is something of which I’m certain.  I have to be, else..why endure?  Save for the Almighty God Himself, I have yet to discover a thing..a principle..or a feeling worth living for more virtuous than true love.  It’s all I want.  It’s all I’ve ever wanted.

Imagine being wrong about the existence of something so significant? You’d forever be chasing something that isn’t there.  What an immoral waste of time — an unconscionable mockery of human desire.

Perhaps the only thing more sobering than finding that Love, is the task of keeping it.  For just because it is the realest, most powerfully life altering experience, it is not immortal.  It can be jettisoned, or worse: killed.

And though I am eager to discover my Heart’s other half… I am petrified that I might find what I’m seeking and either lose it, or cause its ruin.  After all, what if there’s only one?

Comments

  1. If I may be so bold…

    First, I’m truly sorry your situation ended as it did. I’ve seen it happen so many times. But what I don’t think I’ve ever seen is any reason it should have happened in the first place.

    I married late, a bit over a month before my 36th birthday. By that time I’d seen several friends my age married and divorced. I did not want that for me. I, too, believed divorce was wrong and simply didn’t want to marry more than once. I wanted that same kind of Princess Bride dynamic with whomever I eventually might tie the knot.

    I had met a woman I fancied. She was a few years older, but quite the babe. We got on famously, but unfortunately for me, she wasn’t up for a real love relationship. In the meantime, I became quite smitten, somewhat obsessed (maybe very much so). While I thought we were growing tight, the truth was that it was in my imagination. The Doobie Brothers song “What a Fool Believes” was running at the time and one day, I actually listened to it. Turns out, Michael McDonald was watching me the whole time without my knowing it. At least I saw myself as that fool. From that point, I no longer felt anything for that woman. The rose colored glasses were removed from my eyes and I saw things clearly. It made me understand something about that fairy tale love…that romantic, swept away type of feeling.

    It ain’t what we think it is.

    What it is, or what it became for me, is a signal that we must open our eyes and really look and see the person who lights our fire. While we’re “in love”, we miss so much while believing we can’t miss a thing. And while we miss so much, it’s not only unfair to ourselves, but to the one with whom we’re spending so much time believing is integral to our existence.

    Well…somewhere within the next year or two, I took up with another woman I had known from work. She was recently divorced (I had actually attended her wedding where I used my favorite joke when congratulating them in the reception line: “So…I guess this means it’s over between us?”) To this day, she can’t understand what she ever saw in the guy. Apparently, she was wearing the same kind of glasses I had been wearing. I was struck by that. How could it be?

    It was almost seven years before we married. Neither of us was keen on the idea for the first couple years or so, since we were both “on the rebound”. But by the time we did, we were long passed any “in love” feelings and were committed to the notion that neither of us saw in the other any reason why we couldn’t remain married ’till death parts us. That was key, those seven years. The “in love” feeling rarely lasts, and once it fades enough, each sees the other for who the other really is. Each comes to realize whether or not a vow is a good idea.

    As to that “in love” feeling, it seems clear to me now the time that feeling is strongest is the worst time to do anything serious, be it marriage or even sex. While my wife and I had sex after our first date, I would not do it that way should I lose her and choose to find another. Sex complicates things and also gets in the way of getting to truly know the other. Between sex and being “in love”, a couple has two very serious obstructions to getting to truly know each other.

    Therein lies the trouble in my opinion. There’s a concept I believe is absolutely true, that when emotion rise, so does stupidity. Being “in love” is all emotion and no common sense. I love my wife very strongly. But I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m “in love”. I think it’s better this way and there’s no sign that I can see that she’s ready to take a hike anytime soon.

    The marriage vow contains a promise to love each other for the rest of our lives. Why would such a promise be necessary if one is “in love”? That’s because being “in love” is no basis for a marriage. It’s not the form of love that matters, that truly unites two people. By the time one is ready to marry and take that vow, one must be assured that one is ready to keep the promise, and that the fiance is ready as well…in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer, for better for worse. That last one is the killer. “For worse”. As you have learned, it can get really bad. You seem willing to endure it. She was not. I wonder if you were too much “in love” to have missed the signs that she was not truly the one.

    God bless and I hope you recover soon, if you haven’t yet. Let the game come to you.

  2. I’m sorry you’ve been through such an ordeal. I can tell you having experienced both physical and emotional/psychological abuse that the latter is far worse and far more insidious than the former. Bruises heal much quicker than emotional scars.

    I’m also sorry your love did not work out. I’m not a believer in there only being one perfect match but that there are many who might be that match. There are many possibilities so it may not be as difficult as you might imagine to find lasting love.

    • I also meant to add that I, too, had believed in ’til death do us part until I began to imagine how I might make that a reality by taking my own life. It took me another 5 years after that to come to terms with the fact that my marriage didn’t have to end with one of us dying.

  3. I’m so sorry to hear of your ordeal. I completely understand your feelings about divorce, but it only works if both people are working together on that, and clearly this was not the case. Abuse, both physical and psychological, has been the only thing I considered a valid reason for divorce (and abandonment, as stated in the Bible; abuse is, in my mind, a form of abandonment. The worst kind, perhaps).

    May you find peace and healing.

  4. My parents were both married twice after their divorce (when I was 12), and both had other affairs. I saw firsthand how that affected the children and resolved to be sure when I married it was for keeps. I became a believer before I thought about marriage, but it was important to me to make sure the woman I wanted to marry was on the same wavelength as I in everything. Not that we had to think alike, but that our worldviews had to be the same. It worked; we’ve been married 40.5 years after a two year courtship (a lot via mail/phones since I met her while on leave with 7 months military left to go, and after I was out she’d be gone back home on college breaks.)

    I always wonder why a woman would marry a man, like your situation, who she obviously had problems with from the beginning. Did she not think it was to be a forever thing!?!? And with such behavior, did she not ever think about what Christ would think of it?

    I’m sorry you had to go through with all that. I know too many people with similar situations, which never should have arisen if both sides had just taken their vows seriously.

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