Until DDay, my husband and I were coasting along on auto-pilot. That is no way to grow a healthy relationship.
The whole "coasting" thing is what got me to investigate how two good hearted people had produced an unhealthy marriage. Neither my wife nor I are "mean by nature" or "deliberately seeking" things outside of our marriage.
I am at a point now where I don't see my wife as "heartless" or "toxic".....and that is relatively new to me. While my wife WAS that towards me and our M during the summer and early fall of 2012, that is NOT how she was within most of our marriage. And I struggled with how to rectify this difference.
I started the journey to find the answers to that riddle by the following statement.
"The biggest problem I can solve in my marriage is.....me."
I wanted to understand what happened to my wife, how a person could so "unintentionally" choose actions that so "directly and deeply" hurt me....that hurt and risked our family so completely.
So I looked at the above statement and found some traction on this path....found a rabbit worth chasing. This was an easy path to choose at the time....I was literally worn smooth out by trying to work as a team with my wife. I personally believe God was at work....if my wife had given in early on just to "not fight" and "pretend to be nice" I think my own FOO issues would have kept me from choosing this narrow path.
It was on this path that I am finding answers to the question "How do two people with good hearts have the ability to hurt each other within their marriage to each other?". By looking at my own "untintentional but destructive choices" I see a similar link to how intimacy and our M suffered because of MY actions.
I consider myself a man with a "good heart". And, yet, I choose actions that indirectly hurt my wife, had the potential to risk our family (maybe even DID hurt our family). This is when I had to ask "Why did blakesteele choose the way he did?". The short answer was lack of intention towards my wife and our M.
I believe neither my wife nor I INTENTIONALLY set out to have an unhealthy M or to hurt each other. We had our own perceptions of what a marriage was NOT supposed to be.
We did this not out of complete ignorance, either. Which contributed to us remaining blind for so long....we actually THOUGHT we had this M thing licked! (Just look how much better we are then our parents!!! (such an EASY target to surpass, but that was our gauge)).
We didn't know what a healthy M was to look like...what mature intimacy felt like. Our parents D when we were both about 12.....Dads absolutely not a part of our lives...Moms working hard to provide the needs of her children while simultaneously trying to tend to their OWN healing.
We took more away from our FOO on what NOT TO DO, then what TO DO.
As it turns out for us....we had a M built on that model.
Example: Due to my wifes alcoholic father she knew she didn't want to fight...ever! Fighting was BAD and will kill a M. No fighting = happy M. (NOT)
Due to my spendthrift father I knew I never wanted to be in debt! Debt stress was BAD and will kill a M. No debt stress = happy M (NOT)
THAT list is longer then these two simple examples.
The list that was lacking all together or pretty limited in scope was the list of what we DID WANT out of our M.
Our new MC calls that a "M by deficit planning".
So back to the quote that speaks to "my biggest problem".....I gave up finding faults with my wife and started to see how my unintentional actions hurt her and our M.
It is not very much fun....but it has been and continues to be rewarding work.
It is also helping me heal the pain from my wifes A. It has in that I can at least see NOW how an unintentional series of bad choices can have an unforseen affect on your spouse.
Yes, I know at some point my wife was fully aware and oh so willing to continue making bad choices....but that was not the start of this particular path. The actual summer of 2012 is its own special little part of hell for me.
But the month or so where the ground work (initial bad decisions specifically with how she choose to interact with her fAP) was being laid to enable full on adultery to be an option had opportunities for her to be "intentional towards her M"....that opportunity was before I felt the full affect of her bad choices, before SHE felt the full affect of bad choices.
That time period MIGHT not even be infidelity in nature....but it was strongly inappropriate.
Okay...back to me, as this is MY journey not my wifes.
My journey took me to my actions on what I did to hurt our M. One of those unintentional choices, my bad choices, was to use porn. I had for 30 years, had before my wife and I dated, had continued to once we were married. We used it together, we both used it separately....me more than her thouhgh.
To be clear I intentionally used porn. It was an active choice, just like my wifes decision to intentionally interact with her fAP. I just thought it was NOT hurting anyone. My wife didn't honestly think that first month of interacting with this OM was hurting anyone.
My "unintentionallity" comes in the form of I did not intend for porn to hurt me, my wife or our intimacy. I thought it harmless. I was careless and lacked boundaries....totally didn't think I was careless or that I needed boundaries.
Sound familiar? This was what my wife was telling herself in that first month of meeting her fAP. The whole "we are just friends" thought.
Now here we are....18 months past DD....almost 12 months post-porn use. here is what the reality of our unintentional marriage.
1. I am hurt....by my actions and by my wifes.
2. My wife is hurt....by her actions and by me.
3. We have very little clue to what true mature intimacy is....specifically, if we ever experienced it or if we have the capacity to attain it.
4. Our children are affected by our bad choices.
5. I have had my eyes opened to much within me that needs attention.
6. A good heart is necessary, but it alone will not result in a good, healthy M....we tried that....here we are.
7. I am confident the good-hearted woman I asked to marry me existed then and exists today.
8. The cost of all of these "healings" is TREMENDOUS!!! Financially and emotionally exhausting!!!!!!
My brain hurts sometimes. :)
God help us all.