Thursday, April 19, 2007

Currently Experiencing a Down

Lately marriage - or, my marriage - has been difficult; fraught with discord, argument, anger, and resentment. Maybe there has been too much togetherness?

I was uplifted today when I came across this passage from a book I happened upon in a display while leaving the library:

"Like so many other things, people have also misunderstood the position love has in life; they have made it into play and pleasure because they thought that play and pleasure are more blissful than work; but there is nothing happier than work, and love, precisely because it is the supreme happiness can be nothing other than work.

It is also good to love: because love is difficult. For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation."

--- Ten Poems to Open Your Heart, by Roger Housden. The passage is taken from a letter written by the poet Rainer Maria Rilke to another writer. See page 81, located in the appropriately titled chapter, "The Ache of Marriage".

The thing is, I'm having a hard time with the work of love. I know people for which love does not seem to be that much work. I envy them! I do not like fighting with my husband, steeling myself for another round of his excessive anger. The ups and downs of his mighty anger wears me out. Not knowing what to do about it wears me out. Not saying the right things to placate him wears me out.

There is something else, the omnipresent cloud that colors my everyday: I do not like living here. I do not like the cold and the dryness and the constant sunshine, being isolated from my friends and everything that I enjoyed. Greenness. Rain. People I knew. The extremely excellent school OC attended. I miss home.

I make the best of most days, I get out and meet people. I do try to have a positive attitude most of the time. But I cannot deny the reality that I do not like it here.

I like our house, where it is because at least we are in town and close to things; I like teaching my daughter to read, finding good books to read myself, working at knitting, making new beaded jewelry.

Mostly, I feel lost. I don't know what I'm doing here. I feel as though I have been forgotten about by Life and God and the Universe, that I don't have a place, that I am disconnected. I don't know what to do about that. I suppose I'll have keep going. I don't have any better ideas. Concentrate on the good, and keep going! Whoop de doo.

I'll keep reading Datinggod. She's always good for a spiritual uplift. I don't know how she stays so positive.

I have a lot to learn.


Marti said...

Thank you for posting that. I often find myself exhausted by my marriage, my life, and my constant struggle to maintain a Positive And Cheerful Attitude (which I tend to force upon myself with an intensity bording on mania). I also often find myself bitterly jealous of those couples around me who appear to be so effortlessly in love. I cling to the idea that when those "effortless" couples are in the privacy of their own homes, they scream vile things at each other and make dramatic declarations about how watching the Sopranos without waiting for one's spouse is a sign of a Selfish and Hateful Nature...

jade said...

Wow. We get to be honest on blogs? I knew I was doing something wrong.

Your post blew me away. Who doesn't know how that feels? Ever read "Map of the World?" Best passage ever about marriage ...

"My passion for Howard had been replaced by something that was stronger than respect, or habit, or maybe even need.It wasn't a simple connection like affinity, because there had been periods when I felt as if I was living with a stranger, that I didn't know or particularly like the man sleeping beside me, the man who always got up so early.I recalled my affection for Howard, my admiration, the attraction I felt to him, and the way he could take me by surprise and amuse me. Those feelings were on the side of what I called love. On the other side there was rage, irritation, disappointment, boredom. Somewhere in the middle was endurance, stolid and essential as air. I wasn't certain the group of feelings wouldn't cancel each other out, or if any of them could possibly be powerful enough to carry me along by his side, shoulder to shoulder."

I wake up some days and wonder what the hell I'm doing here. It was not my choice to move to Redmond -- it was family and career and priorities that were not my own. Here I am 'making the best of it' -- not hating it, not loving it, but making do because I don't know what else to do. I'm far from the familiar, far from true close friends and missing the things that meant something just to me. That's the trouble with us gals -- we give up our lives so those close to us can have what they need and then we wonder stupidly why we're unhappy.

If you're going to make it here, in this place with your husband and child you need to find what makes you happy -- new friends, a job you enjoy, hobbies you're passionate about. Living in Redmond for your spouse and staying at home for your child will only work if it means equally as much to you.

I struggle with the same dilemma often so to say I understand would be a huge understatement. Keep your chin up, keep your sense of humor and keep on sharing.

Occidental Girl said...

Thank you both for your very thoughtful words.

I have read "Map of the World" but had forgotten that it contained that passage about marriage. That is a very good description, too. It's not all one thing, and it shifts. Does the Angry cancel out the Happy? Maybe, maybe not. I don't know. It comes and it goes. I think there's room for everything, but in order to take the Angry, you have to have WAY MORE of the Happy. OH does realize his anger is excessive, but I suspect he is incapable of controlling it while in the midst of it. He tells me all the time he doesn't understand why he gets that way, and wishes he didn't. It doesn't excuse it, but at least he's not all "there's nothing wrong" about it.

I feel better already, knowing I'm not alone! Too much of that emotion will drive you nutty.

Marti, I can't access your blog because your profile isn't enabled. I want to read you, too. Send me an email if you don't want it public. :)

Jade, will you be my friend? I can't believe you live in Redmond! The words you said are exactly what I think, too. I know why I'm unhappy, because I know what I gave up to be here and haven't found anything to take its place. I admit that I've not been very gracious about it. It pisses me off. I want to be gracious about it...

Thank you SO MUCH. I do feel better now, and it didn't involve any type of alcohol. That's amazing. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Marti said...

Hmmm, I guess it's a testament to my complete and utter lack of understanding of all things computer that I have no idea how to enable my profile. But thanks for asking about my blog, it's at:


jade said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

Hello, I am just now catching up on my blog reading...

I have only one piece of -- oh, not advice, maybe perspective. Remember that you're in transition, and while transitions might be long they are never forever! I think you just need to keep doing what is in front of you that needs doing, and after awhile your path will become clear. Anyway that's what one of my favorite writers says. Madeleine L'Engle, do you know her work? You would like her Crosswicks journals. They are overtly Christian but not obnoxious.

Best, Jen

Loralee Choate said...

I've learned that marriage can really SUCK sometimes. Everyone has something different in regards to challenges-yours is your husbands anger, mine is my husbands apathy, my friends is her husbands just varies from couple to couple.

There are good times and bad and a WHOLE lotta "Eh." times.

Sometimes it is just a day at a time.

Mrs. Chicken said...

I could have written this. I love my husband deeply, but the opposite side of that coin is just as intense. He also has a strong anger and no qualms about expressing it.

And I think you know how I feel about Chambana.

Chin up. We'll be OK.