Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Loving Through Part Two

Hi everyone I am back from my trip to the Bay area, and it was a great one. It was packed, and there were some unexpected events, but still a wonderful, memorable trip. What a great area if you have never been. And San Francisco topped it off so nicely. Crossing the Golden Gate bridge was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had. I am still a bit shaky and not feeling well from the week and traveling, but this post was suppose to be out yesterday, so I really wanted to finish it up today!

I don't know how to thank you all for your support, encouragement and love from my post last week. Honestly, I really don't know how to accept that kind of care, but I will, and I thank you all for taking the time to read about my experience. 

Speaking of experience, which leads me to Part 2 on LOVING THROUGH. I am still living that experience in a lot of ways. After we settled down from those awful cycles of the disturbing comments and OCD outbursts, came another issue. It was another OCD issue that is still not resolved today. What started happening 6 years ago hasn't stopped in a  lot of ways. What happened was that my husband would still have negative thoughts and because of that he retreated to himself. He started avoiding me because he was afraid to face me because of his thoughts. I spoke up about a few months in about a lot of computer use that he was doing,(Fall of 2006) and he simply didn't respond or respect that. I told him gently that I felt he was on the computer too much, for hours and hours in a row, and he didn't seem to care. What was a gentle request from me to my spouse turned into a chronic nagging and criticizing on my part because he didn't seem to stop. No matter how I asked or told him he was ignoring me or avoiding me, he didn't seem to care. One month turned into one year and then two and now 6. The first 3 years of it were absolute torture. I don't feel compelled to share all that happened in those years, because this post would become too long and it's just not the time. But in those years, I was alone, rejected, used, taken for granted, ignored, desperate,  desolate, lonely. My husband was retreating to internet use because of his OCD, and I was in the cross fire.
We were both so happy, but little did we know the issues that brewed deep within. 
I wish I had known more before I got married. I wish I healed more emotionally from my painful past.
There was a period of time where I didn't want any pictures with my husband, and understandably, because one time I caught him looking at my smile when we were posing for a picture and then he adjusted my hair to his liking. There is about a lag in photos of us together from about 2006-2010. I just recently started taking pictures with him again. It's not easy.

We separated for about 6 months, but he lived in our basement for that time, while I lived  my life upstairs. It was an awful situation, especially with a new teenager. Not fun or comfortable for anyone.
I had become so bitter and hurt that I wanted help so desperately. I knew there was nothing I could do to change HIM but there was A LOT I could do to change ME. I went to a church support group for Co-dependents and learned all I could about Co-dependency. I went to that support group weekly and I had a sponsor. I read two books, and went to counseling twice a week! I was determined to get healthier and come out of trying to fix or change my husband. I did that through hard work and determination. I was in counseling and support groups for over two years and I got really healthy!!! Learning I was a Co-dependent changed MY LIFE. I couldn't change my husbands life but I could change mine and in that I could change how I responded and acted toward him. For me it was as simple as bringing a request to your spouse, and then the spouse respectfully responding, but that is not what happened. Both people need to deal with their issues in their own way and when one doesn't, not much will change between the two of you. But a lot can change in the way we handle life and our spouses if we are the ones getting the help we need from our own personal issues. After counseling I learned a lot about boundaries and I became a lot more gentle. That still didn't change my husband. I also have stopped nagging and criticizing. That didn't change my husband. Sure I am not perfect so I get frustrated beyond frustrated still and will lose it and I hate how things are, but overall I handle it pretty well. Because for the most part, there is too much computer use, and there is no substance or real true heart connection with my husband. And I'm confident there never will be until he gets the help he needs.
What can be really challenging is when one spouse gets help and starts changing but the other doesn't. You can't really grow together anymore. What's also frustrating is when one spouse wants one thing and the other wants something completely different. That's excruciating to live with.

I even stopped praying for about 3 months about this because if you could hear my prayers and see my journals, you'd see a desperate plea for help and understanding on how to live with someone who shuts you out. You'd see a desperate cry from a woman who just wants a connection with her husband. You'd see a desperate believer just wanting to do what's good by God. You'd see a faithful servant who just desperately wants a loving, holy up lifting marriage. You'd see a dedicated wife who wants to know the heart of her husband and who wants to see his heart and move toward the future with him. You'd see a girl who just wants to be heard and loved and listened too. Someone who longs for the simplest of connections.
If being with my husband in these ways meant, no money, no trips, no home, no car, then I'd take it. 

The good life, a wonderful life to me is not found in those things. It is found in two people, having similar, yet unique goals, lifting one another up, and serving one another and listening, and hearing one another's hearts and sharing your hopes and dreams together. It's loving God separately and together and then discovering that together.

I am learning everyday that life and marriage can look nothing like you ever imagined or hoped. It has not been easy or fun. But what has been beautiful in it is finding how to live in the midst of that. It's been painful and hard, but what my heart and mind and soul has gained is unbelievable! I have learned that I can only rely on God and that is what He wants! We rely way too much on others and on things. God doesn't want that for our lives.

I have learned that no matter how many times I tell my husband that I wish he'd spend less time online and learn how to connect with me that it won't happen unless he makes it happen. There is nothing magical I can say or do. 

I have learned that it's nearly impossible to have a relationship with meaning if two people are not in it. You can not do relationship alone. Marriage or friendship. It takes two to tango, boy did they get that saying right.

I have learned that you have to choose to love even when others don't love you. That love is a CHOICE. Just like Jesus on the Cross was a choice. Our loving others has nothing to do about how they treat us or how we FEEL, but everything to do with A HARD CHOICE. I have learned it's easy to respond to my husband with bitterness and frustration and that is understandable, but it's not right. We so want to love others based on the way they treat us. But that's not the best choice for us or them. We need to love them from a love that is bigger than US. 

I have learned that my husbands Internet use and lack of connection is not a reflection of who I am, but a reflection of who he is allowing himself to be. It is nothing personal against me even though everything in my being at first taste of it 6 years ago made me feel that it absolutely was personal.

I have learned to be comforted in ways I would have never imagined I would be. Unexpected authors, friendships, blog friends, family, books, strangers, counseling, support groups. 

I have learned that there is nothing more powerful than a human connection. Human love. Because I  have lived so long without it in my marriage that I see that I can hardly breathe without it. It's vital to survive. People get so "lazy in love", DON'T! Give it all you got and if that isn't enough, get into therapy, read books about the matter, do everything it takes to love WELL. 
We are all desperate for love, we were made for LOVE. We were made for HUMAN CONNECTION.  And when that is tampered with it's extremely sad. It's hard to live in such brokenness. But fight for it! Things will not change unless you are fighting your way through and there is evidence of that. What is the evidence? Where have your done your work? When have you done your work and for how long? THOSE are important questions.

I have learned that yes, someone can have wonderful qualities, like my husband does, but unless there is a real connection, or a respect for time, and needs/wants of the other person, those qualities are difficult to focus on. But I certainly try!

I have learned that life is so unfair and rarely looks the way you think it will or the way you want it too.

I have learned that getting what you want or having what you want is not what it's about at all. 

I have learned that marriage is only what two people put into it.

I have learned countless lessons and am still learning. I am learning how to build a life around what my reality is, and that is a challenge. 

I will keep in prayer and keep writing, and see where else it takes me. I will keep my feet planted in God and in the Truth and see where this life leads. But for now, I keep learning to thrive in the situation I am in and keep trying to focus on others. Because it's when our focus is on ourselves that our lives get messed up. And I want to give God and others all of who I am, and that can't happen when the focus is on me.

Thank you all so very much for listening to my story here. It's not been an easy one to share, and I'd say it's borderline embarrassing. But it's part of MY story, it has to be told. It has to be shared. I hope I have a platform someday to share the whole story, and more of the gory details. It's been a challenge and a pleasure to share on my blog.

Be sure to check out Courtney and Morgan's posts too!

You can also find me here today!


Michelle said...

Oh Gina, you are so amazing. Please know I will be praying for your marriage!! What you said about not loving people based on how they treat you hit me SO hard! That's something I definitely need to work on. I'm so good at treating people the way I think the should be treated, or based on how they made me feel.

While my marriage hasn't gone through some of your struggles, I can completely relate to them when it comes to friends. I struggle *so* much with friendships. I had an extremely difficult with a group of friends in college, and I'm still healing from it, and it's changed the way I interact with others..for the worse unfortunately. I know what you mean about basing your self worth on the fact that you feel ignored and abandoned. I spent several years feeling unlovable and horrible about myself, but I've come around a lot in the last year and I've learned that God is ALL I need! Thank you for writing about this, Gina!

chambanachik said...

I can identify with a lot of this, and I agree- it's not easy. I'm once again grateful for your honesty!

Aimee W. said...

I thank you for opening my eyes to look further into my own self. I am also lookig at life from a different angle. I have always invested too much in people who frankly did not care and took it so personally. You have helped me to change through prayer and now your posts on marriage is also helping. Just a sentence can hit home. I loved todays in where you wrote about controlling your own responses. Thanks Gina~Keep writing

vintch said...

oh sweet friend, you are so brave, and i just love you all the more for it. thank you for this.

3 carltons and 2 kellies said...

Thanks so much for your honesty! I have been feeling a ton of similiar feelings, thoughts and struggles this past 5 years of my own marriage. Co-dependency is a word from my past that I may need to revisit!!!

Rebecca Palm* Gallimaufry Photography* said...

You really are incredibly brave and so honest. It isn't easy to speak the truth to so many people, but I hope you know how much we appreciate it and admire you for it. I really think the hardest thing is looking inside and being honest with yourself and you have done that. I will pray for you and your husband. I am so grateful for your blog. :-)

ash said...

i was so blessed by your honesty & humility in this post. i can relate to a lot of what you said--my husband's illness only increased his tendency to turn inward. but praise God that He is there in our times of loneliness & need. even though your road to walk right now is a hard one, you have chosen to remain by your husband's side. and that is such evidence of God's work in you. praying for you! <3

ruthy ann said...

wow..what a testimony of how God is using and shaping you...I'm sure there will be a platform for you to share your story and impact even more people to turn to and trust in God's plan.

Tamera Beardsley said...

Gina, you are one of the bravest women I put it all 'out there'. Don't even be 'borderline' embarrassed', your courageous display of humanity just makes you more lovable. So much of your post i could relate between the torrent of tears..thank you for sharing.

Sending you so much LOve my dear, dear friend!

Tamera Beardsley said...

Gina, you are one of the bravest women I put it all 'out there'. Don't even be 'borderline' embarrassed', your courageous display of humanity just makes you more lovable. So much of your post i could relate between the torrent of tears..thank you for sharing.

Sending you so much LOve my dear, dear friend!

Liv Lundelius said...

These are powerful and honest words, and I find them inspiring too.
Sending you much love.

Janis said... are brave, courageous, honest, beautiful, endearing, and so very lovely! It's so refreshing to hear others stories who bare their souls, because then we don't feel so alone in this fight for life and love! I wish I lived near you so we could grab a cup of coffee...and talk! And, your daughter is gorgeous! She looks like you!
Thank you for sharing your story!

Hannah said...

You are so courageous in opening your heart for the the blogging world to see. But you are so humble and real about it, I admire you for that! Thank you for pouring your heart out, because in turn you help to open other people's eyes to see themselves and their relationships. I sure am one of those. Thank you :)

Desiree said...

i got so teary eyed for you reading this. because my best friend is going through a similiar situation. except she isn't married and she's a new mommy. i felt compelled to share the post with her, because I know she could identify with you. thank you so very much for sharing your story as it touched me, and will touch her, and countless others. you have always been such an inspiration to me from the first time i read your blog, but you are even more so now. I hope that I have half of your strength if/when I ever get married. sending mucho mucho love your way.

hello, beautiful said...

Hi Gina
I've just read this post, and your other one, about your marriage. Reading just those two posts amazed me at how much we have in common. You are so very brave to share it openly with, effectively, strangers; being open to judgement. But I thank you for your courage and I pray that through it, and the uplifting comments, you are strengthened. Although this post was written over a year ago, it is my sincere hope that things have improved for you. I now understand a little more of the tremendous love you have for your daughter too.