Last night, my beloved and I had a marital tiff. I’m not going air my laundry here (although I did actually do some real laundry last night, so that was good. You can feel free to breathe the air around me now), and will only say that things are fine between us.
However, it did some to light that Jeff is concerned about how my previous marriage affects ours. We were talking about limits, and how I need him to tell me where his are, and not to be passive aggressive about his needs. He, in return, told me that he usually lets me do whatever I want to do because (a) he doesn’t have a problem with it, and I have better ideas to keep us occupied than he does, and (b) he is always mindful of the fact that FW did limit and control me, and that we’ve discussed how much it frustrates me.
Later last night, I was waiting for the end of my laundry to dry (have I mentioned lately that I can’t wait to have my own laundry machines, so that I don’t have to wait for the neighbors to quit hogging the dryers, and so that I can do laundry any damn time I please?), so sat down to have a little KOL time, and listen to some This American Life.
I was listening to the episode called The Missing Parents Bureau, and was intrigued by this story:
Case Two. Tell it to the Void. We hear a series of letters that originally appeared on the brief-lived, little-known, but well-loved webzine Open Letters. They’re written by a woman who signs her name as \”X\” and are addressed to the father of her adolescent son. X has no idea where to send the letters … but she keeps writing. Since the letters’ original publication on the Internet, X has decided to reveal her identity. Her name is Miriam Toews, and her book is called Swing Low, A Life. Her letters were read for us by Alexa Junge. (17 minutes)
Yes, it was interesting because, well, everything Ira does is interesting. And it tapped into my memories of not really knowing where my father was for 22 years, and whether my mother had any regret or feelings about that like this woman did. But what really grabbed me was this line:
You take up a lot of room for a guy who’s not here.
FW and I have been apart for more than three years. We had a terrible marriage. We had a fairly nasty divorce. And yet I am still learning from and trying not to repeat the mistakes that I made with him. I constantly have to remind myself that Jeff is NOT FW, will not treat me like FW, and even when he’s being a (very occasional) dick, it’s not for the same reasons. This man loves me and respects me and is committed to me, forever. He is not capable of doing the things to me that FW did.
I was fully aware of my own issues regarding my previous marriage, and they have resurfaced a bit as I am now married again. What I didn’t know was the Jeff was always conscious of that as well, and that HE is trying not to be the kind of husband that he thinks I had before.
I’ve heard that, in Christian crowds, one believes that the marriage is made up of three: you, him, and Jesus. I don’t want any deities in my bedroom, thankyouverymuch, but it never occurred to me that this trinity idea was absolutely correct – except that our third is my ex-husband.
I’m lucky in that Jeff has no prior long term relationships, and therefore comes to our marriage relatively baggage-free. We could have a crowd of folks in our bedroom, but instead it’s just the three of us.
When do I get to let this go? When will our marriage be just the two of us? How is it that someone I no longer know, don’t have communication with, and have been away from for years still takes up so much room in my life?