Deciding I’m Worth More

Posted: June 5, 2011 in Love and Marriage
Tags: , , , , , , ,

As last July wore on, there was a strange dichotomy taking place in our relationship.  At the very same time, we were growing closer together and farther apart.  Looking back, it makes perfect sense.  I was winning her over.  She could see that I had changed.  She was seeing glimpses of the possibility of things working.  At the same time, she was scared.  She was afraid that it wouldn’t last.  She was afraid that things would go back to the way they were.  She was afraid that the choices she had made would keep us from being together.

The first sign that things were changing was the return of the laughter.  There were days and nights that we sat at a cafe or laid in bed and laughed and laughed together.  Comedian Yakov Smirnoff says, “Where there is love, there is laughter.”  When the laughter came back, the evidence of love being present, no matter how deeply buried, was unmistakable. 

Another sign was in our physical relationship.  We had gone through a stretch of time where my wife was mostly unresponsive to me.  Anything between us tended to be mechanical and without feeling. That all changed fairly suddenly, and even though we didn’t really talk about it much, she not only wanted my touch again, but we found ourselves acting like newlyweds despite the fact that we were still separated. 

What struck me as the strongest indicator that we had turned a corner came on the day we went to St. Louis with my daughter from Kansas.  We all had a blast that day, and anyone who saw us probably just assumed we were a very happy family.  We went to the zoo, took pictures, laughed a lot, and had a magical day.  While we were sitting at lunch, we were reminiscing about the past and I realized that my wife was telling stories of happy memories from our life together. 

For too long, when she talked about the past, she had only talked about the negative things that had happened.  Hearing her that day recalling the good times gave me a surge of hope that she was moving beyond the pain and toward a future with me still in it.  When we got back, she kissed me good-bye like it was the most natural thing in the world.  That day was, in fact, a turning point for her.  That was the day that she started to allow herself to believe that it was possible that our marriage could really be made beautiful again.

It was during this same time period that we experienced some of the bad times that I’ve mentioned in previous posts.  My wife called them fights.  To me, they were just painful conversations.  One evening, near the end of July, we were talking and I verbalized to her the idea that I had become a much healthier person and I saw myself differently than I used to.  I told her that I still wanted her back and that I would still continue to do the things that I had been, but that I would eventually need her to make a choice and a committment to me.  Things couldn’t go on like this forever. 

I wasn’t trying to give her a deadline or scare her into making a decision.  I was in no way being manipulative.  It was just that I realized I was worth more than being her errand boy and part-time lover.  I told her this, even though I was afraid to, in the gentlest way possible.  It had just become clear to me that I had value and that it wasn’t what was best to continue to let her call all the shots, while I simply went along with whatever she wanted at any given time.

I had learned to respect myself, and that led me to understand that if she was going to come back to me, I would have to be someone she could respect.  That meant being strong.  That meant being a leader that she could willingly follow.  It meant being whole and complete in my own self and not dependent on her or anyone else to make me happy.  I never imagined that instead of putting her on the defensive, it was exactly what she needed to hear. 

She asked me if I was still praying.  I told her that I was.  She said that I needed to pray like I never had before because she really wanted things to work between us.  She said she didn’t know how it was going to be possible, and that it would take a lot of prayer, but that she could see that I had really changed, and that the time we had been spending together made her want our marriage to work out.

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