August 25, 2010 -- Last night while I was struggling to fall asleep, I had an Epiphany, of sorts. To begin, I went to bed frustrated at my inability to communicate with my wife; specifically, about matters that are really important and bother me. It seems to me that we want different things; that's not unusual, there were always differences, it's just that now there seems to be no common or middle ground. Essentially, I've come to feel that she has a Billy Martin attitude -- do it my way or hit the highway.
To the realization. On a recent news report stated a statistic -- "That about fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce." I began to wonder why couples stayed married. It is easy to figure out why most divorces occur: unfaithfulness, money, job stress, . . .. The first thing that comes to mind about a continuing marriage is love. Love, I'm sure is one reason but I think it's only a small percentage. Before you get up-in-arms, remember that this is my view which is based on limited, yet years of subjective observation. It may or may not be correct. Being a romantic at heart, I wish love could conquer all and that love alone could keep a marriage together. Even when both are still in-love, there are forces that drive them apart. Love of course is helpful and a bonus.
So, I wondered why the fifty percent of the marriages that last until "death-do-they-part" stay together. Things that occurred to me were: need, fear of change, lack of resources, age, health, obligation, religion, or a combination of these. Plus, who-knows-what. I suspect that need is at the top. Need takes the form of money, sex, power, love, etc. I think professionals call a relationship based on need co-dependence.
As these thoughts crossed my mind, I looked at myself. In a few years it will be our "Golden" anniversary. While I was in the Navy getting close to my retirement there were days, I seriously thought about getting a divorce. We lived in California, still do, at the time there were books available that guide you through a self-litigated-divorce. I bought one. Why am I still married? It's not a simple answer.
I guess for the most part I haven't opted for divorce because of fear. I wonder about where I will live? What will it cost? Do I really have the resources? What about food and laundry? What would I take with me? How can I start over? Who will get the dogs? What are the legal issues? Would I have to go back to work? And would I be any happier, less lethargic? What would I gain and what would I lose? I think of other things, but I just don't remember while I'm writing this. For the record, like mine, all marriages have peaks and sink-holes with a lot of plains in between. So, for me, the sink-holes haven't been deep or big enough to overcome my fears. I'm writing this because I have no-one I can confide in or vent to. The lack of a confident just exacerbates my inner struggle.
Don't get me wrong. for the most part I live day-to-day occupying my time in pursuits that relax me, and on a few occasions, I find something rewarding. I'm not living in total misery. The major part of my days now, I spend working/playing on my computer and watching TV later on. Four days a week I jog for thirty minutes and another two days I do a half hour of weight training. I know these are good for my mental health, as well as my physical wellbeing. I read and do Sudoku puzzles. So, like my Avatar states, "I will acquiesce to things I disagree with that I can't change," even though they bother me. It is amazing how we can learn to live in surroundings that are horrible, and yet feel safe and comfortable. Tonight, I should be OK, but last night was a nightmare. It only took one thing to set me to thinking about all the issues I have here at home. This writing helps me to re-acquiesce.
The way I look at it is, if I take action to correct an issue, it will lead to a fight. If I ignore it, which I've become fairly good at doing, it will come up again and frustrate me, again. So, we peacefully co-exist. The one thing I can be sure of is that my wife and family will not read this. Unlike what professionals have been telling us for years is that wives are upset that their husbands do not open up enough. Yeah right. The few times I opened up to her, on issues not related to her, she did what they tell us not to do, that is trying to solve the problem for us. If I tried to open up to her about her it would lead to all-out war. It's just not worth it.
Again, back to why we (not me personally) stay married. As we age our options diminish, as well as our bodies. The pain of a failed long-term relationship makes it increasingly difficult to start and build new ones. It's not the same for widows and widowers or even the young that get divorced. Widows and widowers have no choice but to start over. Younger people heal faster and are still marketable, so to speak. What we are willing to accept as we age changes. The physical changes don't help much either. Our six packs become beer barrels.
August 25, 2010 -- I need to add this to my Dear God Letter. This morning, as we do nearly every day, we went to go for breakfast. We took our dogs, as usual. I had Achi when we got there. There was a line outside, which is not that unusual for a Saturday. Because Achi tends to be a bit upset with people he doesn't deal with regularly, I moved away from the line and hoped my wife would get in it -- she had our gentler and friendly pup, Poppy. When several people jump the line, I got angry because she didn't bother to get in line. She could see that I was upset and asked should she take the guys home and come back. I said let's just leave and we did. Now March 7, 2018, in retrospect, I should have said, "Sorry for getting upset. Please get in line, I'll stay over here until we get inside. I'm over here because Achi is acting up."
Another Epiphany: She always thinks she knows what I'm upset about -- she is rarely correct. And I never know what she's thinking because I, for the most part, don't jump to conclusions and I can't read minds.
Note: January 27, 2016 my wife passed. I've had lots of time to reflect. I've done so much wrong. When it came to my wife, I was lacking. She was a wonderful woman. I loved and still love her. I know now that I should have done more, so much more. Later I'll tell you why I failed. It will sound like excuses, but the reality it was stupidity.