Sunday, March 18, 2007

My marriage Part 2

Well, I didn't realize I was sounding so negative in my prior post. I guess I need to clarify a couple of things. First of all, Bill would disagree that he didn't love me. In fact, he often does :). I will say, "no, you didn't." And he will say, "I did, too. It was just a hard adjustment."

Tell me about it. I went from a free and easy life with one child to three children and a husband. I'd only needed to work part time and I was more of a bachelor than Bill was. We ate macaroni and cheese. He canned his own tomatoes, did his ironing and kept a spotless house. He dated one other woman besides me. I had a little black book.

When I was happy, I was very happy. We both agree that when it's good between us, it's excellent. But when we aren't getting along (think Felix and Oscar), it's pretty bad. But despite the terrible times, we've always had a spark. Sex is not to be underestimated.

I will now go on with the story of my marriage. Looking back, I don't know how I survived four kids. I always had a couple of callings, worked in the PTA, bottled all the vegetables we ate, ground the flour that made the bread we ate, cooked, cleaned, and washed. I trucked kids to baseball, dance lessons, piano lessons, scout activities. I did birthday parties, Christmas, Easter, and on and on.

I remember when the kids would get sick and we couldn't seem to shake the flu, I would strip the beds and wash blankets, spreads, mattress covers, everything. Looking back, I worked my tail off. Oh, and I managed the finances, paying all the bills and doing the shopping.

Heck it's no wonder I was a nutjob.

Now when I have my four grandkids overnight, I have to rest for a week.

My heart just goes out to you young mothers. Honestly.

Bill, despite his devotion to the gospel, was less than supportive about family home evenings (which we had faithfully until James died and I lost all faith in these programs--and myself) and scripture reading and prayers. He is a task oriented person. He's definitely the one you want around if something needs doing.

However, as men go, he was probably better than a lot of men. He would rock the kids at night, cook, and he's always good for washing dishes.

The middle years of our marriage, looking back, were simply consumed with surviving parenthood and hoping our kids would survive as well. Being a blended family, we had unique challenges in his ex-wife and her influence against what we were trying to instill in the kids. Bill and James never got along. It was more my fault than either of them. Long story for another day.

Now, Sarah got married a year and a half ago. After the year of me going kind of crazy with menopause and adjusting to being alone in the house with my husband, we are coming to another place in our life.

He's getting to be my best friend. Don't tell him I said that in case I ever hate him and change my mind.

But really, life is so different without kids in the house. We have more money. It's quiet. We are forced to get to know each other and appreciate each other, perhaps for the first time in our lives.

Young people who marry have at least nine months together to get to know each other, to bond, and solidify their commitment. We didn't have that, so we're sort of backwards. It's sort of peaceful and pleasant now.

I can see his sterling qualities. And he's nicer to me. Thank God kids leave home.

As for my wish that I'd been one of God's smarter children and chosen to stay in heaven, I'm still convinced that's the way to go. Marriage is only one hardship of mortality. I really don't believe anybody told me mortality was mostly hard. I think I got sold on the body, becoming like Heavenly Father, "it'll only be a minute out of eternity" that sort of sales tactics. Somebody up there is a very good salesman. I should have read the fine print.


Barb said...

I can't even take care of myself as I am sure I have shared. It boggles my mind to think of everything you did. Even stripping the bedding and cleaning the sheets is a task so utterly beyond me. I feel my reproach.

My parents were married eleven months before my brother was born. After that, they have never had the empty nest thing. My sister still lived at home until she got married almost a year after my mission. I have been here since. I think that I help their marriage though I get on both of their last nerves with my ocd compulsions. I help their marriage in other ways.

My dad has been a very difficult man through the years. When I was a young child, he was an ideal dad. There was a point when he was so hard on my mom. I am not sure if this is when I am too little to remember, but it really took its toll. I think it had to do with him being very demanding on keeping a clean house and making her feel like she could never do anything right. He did offer at one time to get her a house cleaner and I am not sure if that is in the same timeline of when she struggled so much. Things for myself and siblings and mom were extremely difficult in my late teen years and early adult years. Although the bad times were fleeting even then and there were good times.

My mom told me yesterday that my dad was the only man she dated that she had feelings for. All but one of the men that she dated was nice with one exception. She said that my dad was considerate in a way that none of the others were. It was something special about him. He does have a very good side to him. I do believe that my parents love each other. I also feel they were well-suited for each other in many ways. My mom was a very patient mom growing up. She was so nice and sweet. She also has a lot of spunk. I think that spunk has helped her survive the bad times with my dad. When things are really bad, the lights can turn out for a time in her face. She doesn't stay down long though.

I have huge reservations about marriage given my experiences growing up. I may have shared how shortly after becoming LDS, I think I had a view that I would marry and it would be all fairy tale like. It scares me as I had things repressed that would have made marriage difficult. And I don't know if I would have been any good at sex as I have never had sex and I was very shy and modest. Plus, I don't entirely know what sex is. Plus, I don't know how to clean properly. I used to think I was okay, but ocd and other people telling me that I did not clean right has made me realize how very incompetent I am. I knew that I could not cook yet. I knew that I was not able to clean something in an organized way. Maybe I just need ritalin. Back to the point at hand, I think I would have just expected everything to be so perfect after marriage. I was so repressed and never really into the men that I dated. I just looked as them as a means to having the eternal marriage that we were commanded. Plus, that was how to get children, which I really wanted.

Now, I am far from repressed and much more attracted to men than I was when I was young. I think that I could handle marriage and the hard times if I there were a man patient enough to put up with my ocd. I really think in the right environment that my ocd would improve. Yet, I also realize it could go the opposite direction. Then, I am slightly bipoloar--I think--never been officially diagnosed. I have had depression that I guess was diagnosed. I think I have been manic at times, but it is more chatty talking and such. But I really think I am mature enough for marriage now. However, I wonder if it would not be too selfish for me to marry given my condition.

I think it is great that you have held on for 25 years. It is sometimes hard to hold on for a day. I can sense your deep unhappiness. I imagine a lot of the time you were so busy that you did not take stock of a lot of things. I had an aunt who had a husband that was a womanizer and cheated on her a lot. They divorced after they moved to a different state and all the children were grown. Her daughter seemed overwhelemed with being a mother to young children. My aunt was like--you don't think about it, you just do it. But at my current age, I think way to much about everything. I do not think I was nearly as analytical when I was younger. Maybe that is why it is encouraged to have children when you are young. That and energy levels.

Well, I am happy enough being single though if it were right to marry, I would go for that.

Your comments help me not to fantacize too much though about marriage. Even with my level of maturation, if I think about marriage, I like to imagine all the happy togetherness things that I never thought to much about when I was younger. I wasn't into the couple thing too much then. My sister and brother-in-law had classes together and worked at the same company before marriage. I felt like that was way too much time with someone. Now I feel quite differently.

As it stands, being online is my main social life. Thanks for being here!

Barb said...

It's not like my dad ever to my knowledge said my mom cleaned right. He would go irate with me when I would clean or do other work with him always telling me that I did things wrong. That is probably a reservation I have with having a husband thinking that they will belittle me and want me to be their slave. Now with my ocd, I hardly have to do anything. I'm feeling better mentally than ages, but it is hard to take that leap and try to tackle things.

It is not like my dad did not show respect to my mom in other ways. He felt she was a very good mother to us children. He also let her do Ceramics and other crafts and clubs to get out of the house. In addition, he felt she should get some higher education so she took some correspondence courses at the University when we children were small. She received in an A in some of the classes and I think that really boosted her self-esteem.

Sarebear said...

I tagged you, Annegb!

Interesting marriage posts.

Was so fun to meet you last fall, too. Glad we got a pic in front of those gorgeous sunflowers; the construction of the new Wal-Mart in Centerville destroyed them a week or two later.

Tigersue said...

You seem to have a pretty healthy attitude about marriage. It is about all the ups and downs and just hanging on day to day.

annegb said...

Barb, the right guy might make you change your mind about sex. That's not the hard part.

I have been deeply unhappy and I've had very happy moments as well. I was trying to show how marriage changes. I think there are ups and downs in the best of marriages.

There are a lot of women who think my husband is to die for. I have a list of who gets him first when I die.

Tell your dad he can pay for my housecleaner!

Victor Kline, in his book, How to Make Your Child a Winner, says something like "every man is a little bit insensitive and every woman is a little bit neurotic." Everybody has grounds for divorce.

Tigersue, you got it, that's what I was trying to say.

Barb said...

I did want to clarify that I would like to clean and cook(if only I could) for a good man who would be appreciative. I have such a fear of a man being critical of my lack of domestic ability. If this makes sense, I am actually very domestic in the sense that I enjoy domestic things. I am just not good at them. I can have fun doing anything including cleaning. Turn on the music and it is a regular party in my book. I just would hate to have a man go crazy if I didn't do everything to his liking.

Also, my experiences with cleaning were far more traumatatic than I have indicated. That gets rooted in a person. I also may have learning disabilities that make it hard for me to function and do things like a normal person. Then, there is ocd that made me lose what independence I had.

This is kind of a funny experience that I want to relate in a moment.

Barb said...
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Barb said...
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