This song accurately describes where I was in my marriage in January of 2011,
her spot on portrayal had to be shared.
I have grown too strong
To ever fall back in your arms
I learned to live half-alive
And now you want me one more time
Who do you think you are
Running round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts and tearing love apart
You're gonna catch a cold from the ice inside your soul
So don't come back for me, don't come back at all.
At that point in my marriage I was convinced there was nothing left for me to do. I had my face in the dirt for years prior and I knew in my heart there was nothing wrong with me. I could not fix this. The problem did not lie with me.
And this is where my Christianity kicked me in the ass. Because I needed "proof." I needed to be able to establish to all the haters, all the judgers and all the non-Christians that I wasn't leaving my marriage because of irreconcilable differences. Even to my friends. I needed to feel released. Maybe God kept me in my marriage for that next year, or maybe guilt and shame were my jailers.
During that year I told a lot of people, "I think it's over, I think I'm done." AND so often the Christians in my life would say, well did someone break their vows? And there it was the icy stake of judgement going right through my heart, being driven by those who presumed they knew me and my situation. The outsiders. Who thought they were on the inside track; they thought they were in the know.
And in my lack of wisdom I listened to them. I willingly let the shackles of judgement remain around my ankles. If I had accessed that part of my heart sooner, the part that knows of love, I would have broken those shackles and danced my way to freedom.
But for whatever reason, I stayed and I knew, something was wrong. And with their judgement returned my doubt in myself. With their misguided advice returned my belief that perhaps the problem did lie with me?
There was a war within my soul. The war of condemnation and freedom. The war of love and hate of self. We know who fights on those battle lines, and we know the war is not a "clean fight." It is ugly and vicious. You see, Satan knows the buttons to press. He knows the wounds from my childhood. He knows exactly which lies to tell to get me to believe him. He did in the Garden with Adam and Eve and He knew what to say to me as well.
The problem with Satan in the Garden is the same problem with him today. He takes God's words and changes them ever so slightly. He's "praying" you will not notice the difference. He's banking on it and staking his claim. His claim is placed with that icy stake of judgement.
It took months of soul searching, more months of my face in the dirt. Many many more months of trying to understand the convoluted reality in which I was living. Months of holding a standard in my marriage that was never upheld by my ex.
And then it came, the first words of freedom. Last August for maybe the second or third time in my life I heard the voice of God. "Tell him you are leaving."
Wait, did I just hear that? God, am I supposed to leave? And then nothing but a repeat of "Tell him you are leaving" So I did. I told him. I told him, "God told me to tell you that I'm leaving. I'm not sure when or where or how. But I'm leaving. I am waiting on the next word from Him and I will be gone."
And then in my finite wisdom I shared this with a few others. Other Christians who's support I thought I would need if/when I were actually to leave. And there it came again, that icy stake. And the advice that I will never ever forget. "Don't ever ask anything from him" "This will pass" "Don't expect him to do anything for you or the children, ever" "People have lived years of their marriages like this, I know them and things got better"
And more advice from another friend "I think you will find the consequences of this decision untenable"
Disregarding this I called an attorney and learned I would need $500 just to meet with her. And I gave up, went back to prayer and waiting. Jonathan and I agreed to putting a two month hold on me moving out. Unbeknownst to me he met with an attorney. I did not. I instead scheduled a weekend retreat in November. The two month mark after which we would reevaluate.
I went to the retreat and I came back understanding my side of the fence. I understood the wounds he inflicted on me on a daily basis. I understood how much he negated my existence as a woman. I understood why. I could explain. It was no get out of jail free card but I finally got it. I could put my finger on the problem or so I thought.
So, I shared my heart one more time with him, I gave him the chance to own up and be a man. To tell me what was really going on and to love me as he should. Or at least to apologize and admit his wrongdoing. He didn't take that opportunity, he choose another path and eventually God released me. After one too many nights of him not coming home. One too many months of bills not being paid while he was buying expensive beer and going out with the guys.
I had enough.
I felt released.
I was done.
And I told him so. No longer was the thought of daycare and apartments and single motherhood scary. No longer was the pain of being the one ending the marriage more than I could bare. No more excuses, no more expecting nothing, no more marriage. He tried to have sex with me that night, to follow me upstairs mere hours after he had slept with a prostitute. As if now all of the sudden our bed was somewhere he wanted to be. I refused and asked him if he'd lost his mind? He knew I was done.
The next morning I woke early to make my plan. To figure out where to move, where to go, how to live. And then it came, the revelation of the all out full scale insanity with which I was living. The revelation of the fact that I was not crazy, I was not insecure. He truly did see women as objects so there was no way he could have treated me any differently. I was something to be used, for sex, for food, for production of children, for making his employees cookies, for doing his laundry, for keeping his house and books and paying his bills. I was an appliance, easily used, easily broken and easily replaced.
And then I knew, my marriage had ended years ago. Not knowing that his vows had long since been broken was really the prison I was living in.
I still don't understood completely why he told me. I was gone, we both knew that but he did and the gratefulness of living in the light has absolved me of needing to know the answer to that question.