Saturday, July 4, 2015

Preparing to Be a Help Meet: Power of Stinking Thinking -Part Two

Part Two of the un-named epic failure - in Debi's eyes - of a woman who dared obey her husband without enough joy in her heart. 

Her husband is the one who lacked spiritual clarity but wanted to go to Bible College in a different country while wrecking their finances and refusing to have children for at least 5 years.  (Anyone else wonder what Vaughn Olman would think of this marriage?)

Anyway, she continues wringing her hands...
All day at work my mind churned over and over with insecurities and doubts about his motives and his leadership.  Did Jude hate me now?  Did I displease God somehow?  Did I marry the wrong man? My brooding thoughts constantly blamed him for my unhappiness.  And so the sweetness vanished.

You married a man who seems willing to call audibles on all major life decisions.  I can't say that you married the wrong man because Jude seems to change his mind hourly on everything.  I don't know who you married - and probably you don't either.

He said that I would only have to work while he finished a one-year degree, but his schooling lasted longer.

Why did his schooling last longer?  Was he getting additional degrees?  Did he miscalculate how long his first degree would take?  Do any of these scenarios lead to a decent paying job - actually, well-paying job since the Pearls are mostly anti-women working after marriage and childbearing - or is this just a sad, prolonged adolescence?

 I kept hoping I would get pregnant so I could at least take a break from the demanding job at the ad agency.  Then the biggest blow came; a doctor told us that we were not able to have children.  My dream of motherhood was shattered.  Depression called my name daily.

This woman sounds miserable.  She hates her job - but can't leave because Jude can't get his act together.  She's wanted to be a mom and was told by her husband he wanted to wait 5 years before trying to have kids.  Then they find out that they're infertile.  That sucks.

Usually, adoption is an option - but these two are so out of sync with each other that I doubt they could get through a home study.

His management of our finances, which resulted in accumulating debt, really made me fall apart.  I was a nervous wreck and he avoided dealing with it.  Remember what I loved most about him when we met?  He was so spontaneous, so he balanced out my methodical personality.  Jude was still Jude.  He had not changed.

If Jude is so horrible at finances, why won't he hand them off to his wife?  He's already got her supporting the family.   

There's also a big difference between innate personality characteristics - like spontaneity - and acquiring life skills - like living within a budget.    Acting like Jude's irresponsible financial decisions are part of his personality and immutable does a huge disservice to Jude.

After awhile he just stopped talking to me.  He stayed away for hours.  When he was home he would sit and stare at me with confusion on his face, as if trying to piece together what had happened to bring us to this place.

I still think Jude is having an affair. 

Then one day, after six years of marriage, I came home and he was gone.  It wasn't like he just packed a bag; his clothes, his clutter, his stuff...everything that said "Jude" was just gone.  It had never dawned on me that he might actually leave me.

Wait, what? 

Was the unnamed wife abusive?  If she was, more power to Jude for making a clean escape.

If she wasn't - and I don't see much support for that - Jude's a douchebag.  In my world, a spouse who wants out of a marriage that is not abusive has an obligation to give the other spouse a chance to change.  The spouse who wants out is more than free to set timelines, boundaries, whatever, but you can't just bail.

I know because I've been there.

My husband and I went through a rough patch in our marriage.  I was miserable and he seemed clueless.  I gave him a six-month warning: If he didn't change certain patterns in his life that were badly unhealthy for him, I would get a legal separation at the end of that six month period.

That was the hardest thing I've ever done.  My husband was shocked - and hurting a lot more than he let on.  We worked through it slowly and are still working.  I worked at being less codependent (I wanted to solve all our problems myself - hint: it doesn't work at all) while he worked at taking better care of his health.  He's doing well - he underwent gastric sleeve surgery and is working hard having a more balanced life.  I've had a hard six months but our marriage is healthier.

As a side note: a complete move-out is hard to pull off without help and planning.  Jude has been planning this for quite a while.

We were Christians.  We were preparing to go into the ministry...right?  I mean, that's why he was going to Bible College, so surely he would come back, and I would forgive him and we would be lovers again and go on into ministry.  He had a reputation to uphold; this would disgrace the Savior.  Jude had vowed to love and protect me; divorce was not an option...ever...right?

I don't really know what Jude was doing - honestly.  He might have been attending Bible College and then had a whole breakdown.  Or he could have been messing around on the side while not attending Bible College at all - that would explain why he kept such a tight hold on the bills even when he sucked at paying them.

But he was gone.  I had slowly, but surely eroded his spirit with my contempt, condescension and disapproval.  But never would I have believed this would have lead to his leaving.  He loved me...I know he loved me.  We were perfect for each other.  Everyone said so.  Why would he leave?  We could work this out with a little counsel if he would just....

I'll assume she was acting with contempt, condescension and disapproval and that hurt Jude.  Jude was making unilateral decisions and ignoring his wife's pain and depression - and that hurt his wife. 

Marriage is a two-way street.  She may have been screwing up, but so was he.

Now I was terribly, terribly alone.  It was not like being single again; it was like being ripped into pieces.  Visions of camping out on his doorstep to bring him back whirled around in my mind; maybe that would make him love me again.  I prayed earnestly that he would come back, but he never did.

I wish she had.  I doubt that would have brought him back, but she'd have figured out if he was having an affair.  I find it sad that she doesn't even think that's a possibility - probably because he wants to be a minister.

So what is it like to lose the love of your life?  You are a tangled mess of needs that cannot express themselves properly - the need to deal with the loss of a relationship without a funeral or comforting friends or family; the need to feel a sense of purpose again; the need for a way to provide for yourself; the need to keep a lid on your hormones; the need for legal and financial advice; these are some of the many things you face.

These are true statements - but not necessarily true for this lady.

I'll assume she didn't have any family or friend support which is really sad.  She should, however, be more than able to support herself if she's working at a demanding job at an ad agency.

I assume the "hormones" remark is an allusion to being sexually frustrated - but there are plenty of ways to deal with that. 

She would need legal and financial advice - but a divorce after six years of marriage is easier than if she had passed the ten year mark. In this case, I recommend a really good P.I. because I think Jude is up to something on the side and studies have found that proof of an affair or ongoing breach of trust gains the injured party 10-20% better settlement.  (The authors pointed out the better settlement seems to be based on a sense of guilt or fear of exposure from the cheating party; it's not a direct legal strategy.)

While this situation sucks, it sucks less than be married to Jude.

 Add this to the shame of being a Christian with the black letter "D" on your resume.  So after three miserable months of being alone I went back to my parents' home a dismal failure.  The vision that kept coming up before me was of a Treasure Chest turned into a coffin with all my hopes and dreams inside. At age 31, my life was over.

And yet, she didn't die.  She's 31.  That's not very old, honestly.  If she got some therapy, she'd be much happier pretty quickly and likely be in a place to look for a new partner if she wanted to.
[Long story short: She refuses to sign the divorce papers for 9 years while he's waiting to marry someone he fell in love with.  Her life is changed by reading "No Greater Joy" magazine, surprise! ]

Folks, waiting nine years - even to punish your ex-husband - is not a win for you.  The unnamed woman is now 40 years old and still enmeshed with a loser.

Finally, I was willing to admit the man I was married to many years earlier was no longer my husband.  It was at last clear to me that I had to let him go if that was his wish.  I wonder what might have happened if I had, with a free heart, let him go years earlier? Would he have changed his mind in the process?  Would he have forgiven me?  It is too late to know.

*blinks repeatedly*

If you had divorced him nine years ago, you would have been divorced nine years earlier.

I can't figure out how signing the papers faster would have made him come running back.  That makes no freaking sense.  I don't know how the author thinks that signing the papers earlier would have caused him to come running back, either....

Over the years my bitterness had made him distrust my intentions.  When he heard my voice over the phone his answering tone was angry.

Um - can you blame him?   You've been refusing a divorce for 9 years.  I'd be pissed off, too.

I told him in a matter-of-fact-way, "I am truly sorry. I will sign the papers." As we talked it was like a window shade came up on his soul.  He sounded more and more friendly, like the man I had married.  Was God giving me a second chance to be the person I should have become towards this man?  I didn't know, but regardless of the outcome I would be thankful.  We talked five times that day.  It was my 40th birthday. It was one of the happiest days of my life.  In the end, he sent me "the papers".  I had to accept his decision with grace.  I finally, after all these years, obeyed my husband.

Jesus Christ.  She's still fawning over him like a dog.  Ugh.
[Long story short: She's lonely at first.  She meets some kids in the neighborhood and enjoys teaching them gardening and quilting.  She finds a graphic design job for a ministry that she likes.]

In other words,  once she left Jude - body and heart - she did great.   The only problem I see with this story is that she lost 9 years waiting for him to come back.



  1. I think you're right, it did sound like he was having an affair. What's pathetic is how she blames herself for every careless, stupid thing he did wrong and then clung to him for almost a decade.

    1. It's a depressing story - and re-reading it a few years later - I'm willing to bet a heap of cash he's having an affair.

      Poor lady.

    2. No kidding. I just read the whole story personally and they were clearly both badly prepared for marriage; she was needy and then badly depressed, he was reckless and had NO clue how to deal with a depressed and hurting wife. He was also irresponsible and she, by her testimony, had a holier-than-thou complex that she apparently wielded over him if she doubted his ideas. I hope he wasn't having an affair that whole time, but he did become a douche if he wasn't one already when he left her; his actions were that of a coward. And she, unfortunately, decided to react by trying to hold him hostage for nine years (her description of her thoughts when choosing not to let him go legally, that he'd just have to "live in sin" if he wanted to be with someone else, almost makes me wonder if she did suspect an affair had been going on; to keep that going for almost a decade means she was ONE pissed off woman). I so badly wish she'd severed the union faster for her own sake and gotten help; the one positive takeaway from her story was how she healed and found fulfillment without him or any other husband. I still hope she'll find a better man one day, who will cherish her and love her kindly. I'd like her to see what's like.