War and Peace

For most of my marriage I gave sex to my H as a duty, as a commandment, as a prayer, as a hope in the future that if I gave what he needed and wanted, that eventually our family would complete the vision I had about marriage.  That H would come to appreciate and honor our marriage in love. What happened is this, that he was manipulative and his words were cutting and rash and sarcastic and facetious veiled in humor. Then when he got horny he would say I HAD to give him what he needed because men have urges that if a wife does not give him sex, it would be her fault if he got his needs met elsewhere.  He thought it was funny to say to me, " Absence makes the heart "wander"" just before he went out of town....meaning that I MUST give him sex to keep him satisfied and that it would be my fault if he was not true to our marriage out of town for a week. So I dutifully gave him what he wanted for the sake of the family.  During the act, it would be like he was faking, "acting", like a loving mate, over-solicitous and unlike his usual avoidant self. But before and after and daily, he was not committed to our family's well being and emotional health but rather committed to his own personal pleasure and potency.  His M.O. was to eke by, to "try to get away with" and to fly under the radar hoping no one saw him goofing off and laughing at the schmucks who worried about finances and commitments.  So, when I had sex with him, I felt alone.  It was icky.  In our marriage, I felt alone.  I was suspicious and I cried a lot for decades of marriage. I blamed myself and he blamed me. I always seemed to be crying and he always seemed to be giggling.

Growing up means to accept the good and the bad. Growing up means to not lie to yourself.  And I find this very hard to not lie to myself and to not hide from the truth around me.  So what does it look like to be a grown up in a holy union with someone who does not respect the union or me?  This is what I am working on.

Anyone have descriptions of a grown up successfully in a holy union with a defiant teenager?  Because, as I accept H is a entitled, manipulative teenager, I accept that I have been a weak, meek, obedient naive girl lacking in backbone, lacking in the voice and skills of a strong leader that my children (and I myself) could count on to make things safe and where common sense and strong family culture thrives. I am ashamed of my arrested development but am determined to grow up with all the urgency my advanced age burdens me with.  I was told by a very helpful counselor that MOST people never "grow up" and that I was ahead of the game already for trying, but I know I have a long way to go.  I am putting myself in the company of people who I admire, reading books, listening to audio about and by people I admire and searching out communities where grown-up conversations are the norm.  Removing myself from inane foolish trash talk or doomsday robotic recitations masquerading as religion in my head.

I am seeing that lying, cussing, erotism and cheating is seeping into acceptance in our country's culture and I don't want to contribute to the lowering of standards. I want to be strong enough to not obey the flow of this ethical erosion that I sense in my family and in the world.  So I am working on finding new strength that I did not display in the past.  I always thought fighting was bad.  Now I am realizing that to be strong, sometimes you must fight. .....this goes against my upbringing.  I am working on this war inside myself so I can stand strong somehow.