1973 My minister made me repeat these words after him and said that this was God's holy ordinance in the sight of the church .... "to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth." I promised to OBEY!!!!! my husband. In CHURCH!!!! In front of all my friends and family!!!!! The minister did not have dh promise to OBEY me!!!!! In my heart I have been trying to OBEY the needs of my ADD inattentive husband!!!!! This was dh's ticket to Easy Town!!! And I was a vulnerable pregnant girl who took everything at face value. I believed a person is only as good as their word...so no squelching on a promise made.
The old me: I believed and was taught that hard work is the secret to financial success and security. I believed that commitment, honesty, faith and trust are the paths to love and security within a family. I believed striving to understand and help other people leads to a connected and fulfilling life for myself and those I love. I believed a life of service to God and my community is the path to being a good person who can hold their head up with pride.
The new me: I believe that if you live in a world with other people, that you need to be aware that everyone is not wired or taught the same as you and you must notice how others treat you ... you must work but not TOO hard (so you don't miss out on your own joys and life and love ... so that you don't give your life away to something or someone who misuses or discards you). I believe you must be honest (but not believe everyone else is honest....be alert to other's speech and activities and trust your own gut when something FEELS wrong - don't trust everyone unless they give you reason to). I have faith in Life and I trust that I will be able to live with grace through difficulties....this is not the same thing as having faith in the concept of marriage or in someone because they made you feel good or made promises to you or that they promised to love you forever. I strive to understand others and will not close my eyes to try to make life filled with lovely things just because I want them to be lovely (a world of magical thinking) I believe that some things are not lovely and must be dealt with my own strength of will and character. And to do that I must permit myself to use the tool of anger and determination sometimes.
I am ashamed of myself for taking so long to become a grown up. My strength comes from a willingness to accept myself the way I am and the world as it is and other people as they are. No one has total control of their own life....life is a challenging adventure. I have faith that I am OK as I am. My challenge is to get to know WHO I AM again so that I can live this life that I was given. Now I can get to work and let the real me express my own heart rather than silencing my heart while i put the responsibility of my happiness and success in the hands of others. Today a woman is not only permitted but encouraged be strong and beautiful. A happy heart is a heart which does not bow down to other's expectations or to be nothing more than a helpmate to someone else, (unless you are in a time-proven relationship where you are BOTH helping each other and listening to each other....that is the ideal we all look for that we call being a good couple. Some might call that love and trust.) One person cannot help and listen and love enough for the both of you to be considered a good couple.
I never thought I needed respect...I thought I needed to have faith and love and be giving. Now, at the end, I realize I need respect. Maybe what I am needing is balance. My life has become out of balance...my services and "love?" going out but not finding love and service (or accepting it) coming in. I also need to respect myself enough to have a life outside of my family. I am joining in various groups of interest....a poetry group, a self-defense group, a book discussion group, and an exercise group and becoming more involved putting more energy in the groups I am in- both professional and casual.
Thanks for being witness to my processing. I am at war with myself trying to stop being a miserable co-dependent enabler in the name of love and marriage. I seem to have my feet in two different worlds.