"I will take the Ring, though I do not know the way." —Frodo Baggins
As promised in an earlier post, we speak today of my time as a married man. And I can think of no better parallel to hold that time up against than little Frodo and his ring-related quest.
Like tiny Mr. Baggins, I too was wide-eyed and naïve in the nature of the quest I was about to undertake. I had heard glorious, sometimes harrowing, stories of others who had gone on such journeys, only the glorious bits really gaining a foothold in my thoughts. So the first chance I got to take one myself, off I went. And I was equally unprepared for the horrors of this dangerous place I was heading.
As in most good adventures, the phrase "it all started out so well" applied fully here. We found each other on Yahoo's personals page; she was seeking friends in my area as she and her family were moving up soon. The more we talked, however, the less like friendship it became so that, by the time they did move to town, by the end of our first date, we were basically living together. That was April and we were wed in October. The ceremony took place on a blustery fall day in a park on a hill with a sing-songy, pirate-looking judge presiding. The guests numbered perhaps 20.
And then off on the honeymoon. 1 night in a cabin on Lake Erie, and then several more in Niagara Falls staying in a hotel room that featured a heart-shaped hot tub. And then we returned home to our apartment, both having OK jobs, and began the actual trek into marriage. That first year some off-putting things began taking place with my bride. Mostly, she was prone to very strong outbursts of rage and sadness which her doctor was able to diagnose and get her on meds for. But those didn't work so different meds. Thus was the next nearly 9 years of my life as diagnoses after diagnoses and pill after pill failed to do more than take the edge off of an ever-increasingly punishing situation.
There were bi-monthly breakdowns where she would be so angry about being married, wanting to go back home and be with her mother. And, each time, I fought so hard to keep us together, usually with the same words I had used the last time. Mostly it was just riding out the storm until it passed. I could have been reading the dictionary most likely and gotten the same result. And this was all quite a surprise because, in our months prior to marriage, she had only very rarely exhibited anything like a temper. We were just a happy little couple and then, once married, something changed for her. Unfortunately, however, nothing had changed for me.
So we spent, like I said, about 9 years stuck in that pattern. She blasted away with both barrels of anger on me, me being too afraid to lose her to fight back or step out of line at all. Many the nights I lay in bed next to her just staying completely still, not moving a muscle, in hopes she would drift off to sleep before she got the chance to say something so damaging it would keep me up all night. So much of this went on, my neck actually developed a horrible crick from being held so tightly and so long in one place. That crick lasted many years.
And my wife, despite of or maybe because of, her emotional state, was determined that we have a baby. For several years I resisted but finally decided we would give it a try. When nothing happened after trying for a while, she found a fertility doctor that suggested bariatric surgery as a means of increasing her fertility.
Now, by this point, we had at least what seemed to be a working marriage despite the still-violent mood swings. We had bought a house, a nice car. She had stopped talking about wanting out. All seemed as well as it could be, which is what led me to the baby agreement.
The surgery took place, I was nurse to her during recovery, a time during which we seemed to get along better than we had in years. Baby names were a big topic of discussion. Her weight was coming off dramatically. And then, a few months later, the darkness was back, worse. And a week or so after that, I came home to a note on the table with her wedding ring on top. The note was long and rambling but, in purest form, it said she just didn't love me anymore.
In the years since, she and I have become friends. When my last serious girlfriend dumped me, she took me out to lunch and was a great sounding board. She is remarried and just last year had her first child, who she brought to meet me. So no hard feelings. Instead, I look at that time like a boot camp, getting some of my rough edges sanded off, learning how to be a better man for the right woman, building a patience and strength that helps me every day in other areas. The journey itself, much like Frodo, was a terrifying and painful one, sometimes every step feeling like a mile, but the end result has proven worth the trip. I would not be the man I am today without that pain.
And yes, as was the case with Mr. Baggins as well as his uncle Bilbo, that pain has left deep, unremovable scars in the deepest places of who I am. There is no denying it. But just like my paying the repairman $55 dollars the other day because I am too much an amateur to know my dryer had stopped working due to a $2.50 fuse, now that I know, I need never pay that cost again.
So sorry for the wordy blog this time around. Perhaps should have broken it in two but I really appreciate you taking the time to check it out. I have the best blog followers ever!!!
|Coming soon--My after marriage adventures.|
One Does Not Simply Walk into Matrimony
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