Thursday, July 22, 2010

Taking Responsibility for Me

During my marriage, I was very unhappy and frustrated. The husband was emotionally distant, refused to discuss any issues and then they became huge problems.  The Mormon Church’s response was to suggest that it was my entire fault, since the man is superior to women and women are to submit to the man. 

So this is what I did. I submitted to him. For the first 10 years I kept our finances in order. I had money in savings and had all our credit cards paid off. When I begged and begged for his help around the house, the only thing he would take over was the finances. His idea was to put secret passwords on the checking account, shut me out completely, not consult me, not have a budget, exhaust our savings, over-extend our checking account and run up our credit cards. Many of or accounts were not paid on time.  When I confronted him with the terrible shape our finances were in, he blamed me by asking where all the money that had been in savings had gone (like it was my fault-what?).

 I was told by the Mormon Church to lower my expectations. He already wasn’t helping with any household chores except the yard work and taking out the garbage.  I had been asking him to call me once a day from work to make an emotional connection. I asked him to call me once a week. He wouldn’t even do that.

I was told by the Mormon Church that I needed to love him more, that I must not be loving him enough. So I would open my heart more. I suggested we travel together. We traveled as a couple, we traveled as a family, and we traveled with friends. I suggested date night. He participated in all this, but it did not bring us closer. I did not get credit for it, either.  Once, before one of these trips I told him I felt like we didn’t know each other. His response was to get to know him- not once did he suggest that he get to know me.

The Moron Church asked me to stay home. I did, for 15 years. Even though I had a college degree. Even though I wished to work. I did all that was asked of me. Yet, my marriage did not improve.
Why? This is the question the Mormon counselor never asked in counseling. I have been brave enough to ask. The answer: because I was not allowed to be my authentic self. I was asked to play a role that was not true to me. Because one role does not fit all; because I was unhappy and frustrated and this core problem was never addressed in the marriage Mormon counseling. Why? Because I was expected to fit one roll in the Mormon Church and a Mormon marriage and it didn’t fit me; because none of my issues were addressed in the marriage Mormon counseling.

Being submissive doesn’t work. Lowering expectations doesn’t work. Giving up your authentic self doesn’t work. Giving up your dreams and hopes doesn’t work. Loving someone who doesn’t love you in return doesn’t work (you can’t love them into loving you back). I lived in a marriage that was a lie. I was in denial. It doesn’t work. I must own that.

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