I'll be the first to admit, though ruggedly handsome and hauntingly demure, I'm no Prince Charming.  She tells me I was romantic before, when we first met, and why can't I be like that again.  I cannot remember trying to be romantic.  I just wanted more time with her; so I wrote about, thought about it, sung about it. 

I must have been larger than life to her.  That was her attraction to me-I smelled of wild, worldly places, far away and dangerous adventure.  But the real me was buried under blankets of hurt and questions, and masks of tranquility over angry, brooding eyes.  And though I saw in her the person I always wanted to be but could never become, she was buried, too.  How naive to think that digging through those layers over the years would be an enjoyable process.  It is good, now, to look back at it all, seventeen years and counting.  But it has been a lot of work, sometimes war, sometimes hell.

As if seeing glimpses of the truth in the midst of this process has brought some sense of completeness, then we would have to deal with the hatred we felt toward our own respective realities.  Without God, personal, loving, patient in the picture, I would have given up on myself a long time ago, and not allowed anyone, not even her, to not give up on me, too.  I am so deeply thankful that God does not give up on us.

But sometimes, we quit on each other, even while our relationship remains intact on the outside.  We see the hard truth about each other:  the need to control and manipulate in her, and the tight-lipped limit-pushing selfishness in me, and the problem looks utterly insurmountable.  And we quietly, secretly quit on each other.  I know nothing I can say will bring about the response I desire to see-peace, so I stop talking.  She gets to where she sees she misjudged me, again, aka, I will not yield, and she retires her words, too.  It becomes a dreadfully silently violent truce.

Our objectives are clear each to our self, and sometimes they pull us in conflicting directions.  My objective is to make money to pay for our life.  Sometimes that means I can be at home more.  But in the interest of keeping life flowing at its clip, sometimes it means I must be gone.  That is my reality, and I deal with it because I have to.  That can be a struggle when her objective is to have me home for the boys' activities, or some family gathering, or just because she wants me home with her. In any situation, the struggle is two viciously independent individuals attempting to trump the other's will. 

But in the middle of all the heated discussions,cutting words, and sometimes weeks of frozen silence, I never allow myself to think I am not responsible for those feelings-mine and hers-because I am the man.  I promised to cherish her, honor her, protect her, and remain faithful to her until I draw my last breath.  And while I may feel, sometimes, as though I am drowning in a sea of discontent, I whisper His name, and I am content to feel that way as long as she is in it with me.  I die a little in each storm.  I die so we may thrive.  And as I die, she sees the me under all the layers and masks, that will not leave, will not quit on us.  I will never let her go.  I will cleave to her always, to us.

Those frustrating, discontented feelings will eventually subside.  In the meantime, I will continue with my objective, with a greater sense of her objective, and the grace God gives for the storm.  I begin thinking of her, who she is under all the layers, and I see that girl I thought of every spare minute, wrote to, sung about all those years ago.  And whoever was wrong, it will not matter.  It will never matter.  Because I have decided there is no me, no her.  There is only us, one flesh, united in purpose, as the Creator designed it. 

Genesis 2:24 (New Living Translation) This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.



A Friend said...

A perfect inner dialogue that illucidates the differences in men and women.

While a woman is trying to communicate her need for family participation and the desire for her husband to be more than just physically present the man sees manipulation and control.

While a man is working his tail off to provide for his family, the woman can't fully respect that for what it is because it's not the money she wants, it is the companionship of her best friend that she wants.

It has been said that a man desires respect and a woman desires to be loved.

I feel like a fool in my marriage at times because as a woman, physical touch-ie holding hands, hugs, a little attention now and then transforms me into a most willing and loving companion.

It's sad to me how a little crumb thrown my way changes a sour attitude so easily...but I have learned to embrace affection and be thankful because it has transforming power. It's amazing how one action can reap so many rewards because in turn my husband benefits as well. He no longer sees his love as the nagging, demanding wife because my cold shoulder is transformed into a soft, warm place to rest his weary head. He has his faithful, loving companion back.


Pastor Jerry said...

Great post, Aubrey. There can't be a cleaving with the leaving. Leaving the financial, spiritual and emotional dependence on our folks and also leaving behind the "baggage" we all come into our marriages with. It is a process, isn't it? That's why God uses the husband-wife relationship as a visual of the Christ - church relationship. The process of growing and maturing in our relationship with our spouse (and Christ) means dropping the baggage one bag at a time with the help of the Holy Spirit. Thank God we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. We have a Living Hope!!

Anonymous said...

Awwww...Aubrey. I remember those days when Beth got your letters, poems/songs...and the infatuation you both had. Bethee is a tough and committed cookie..with beautiful scars...so glad you two have made it this far. However you do it...I am in support of the two of you as one unit...in sync or out...keep doing what you're doing. Keep growing that kind, compassionate heart that each of you saw intuitively in one another...under all the crap. Beauty...love this post...love you both.

James said...

Aubrey, this is an incredible post. Thanks for your honesty. It's challenging and refreshing.

Rachel said...

Thank you - beautifully expressed. I'm still processing - so not much to say.

MOM said...

I must confess that I have not read all of your writings but today for some reason I can't stop sponging up the truth in each of your writings. I have seen you thru the years write about horrible things that scared me to death but by God's mercy, alot of prayer, you amaze your Mom with your wisdom today. Never stop. That's my AUB!

Wanda said...

I love it. So beautifully spoken. Your honesty is so refreshing. I have always known your writing ability would touch a lot of people. So glad to learn of this site. I have enjoyed everything on this post. Keep it up. We need this. By the way, have I told you lately that I am proud of you? Will I am and I Love U