Meeting #2 happened.  This time I spoke up for myself.  I told my small group leader ahead of time that when I am in a room with my husband, my brain shuts down and I can’t speak about what exactly the problem is.  She told me I had to speak up. I told her I can’t, I’m conditioned not to.  She told me I was going to have to find a way around conditioning, because this was important, and I HAD to speak up.  And then she told me to write it down ahead of time so when my brain shut down, I could simply read it.  So I did.

It turned out to be 12 pages long.

So perhaps my years of blogging haven’t helped me in the editing department as much as I thought they had.

Or perhaps there really was 12 pages of stuff that needed to be called out.  I mean, 27 years of this.  And the more I typed, the more horrified I was that I’ve let it go this long without speaking up.

Okay, wait, no, I DID try.  I DID speak up.  Four years ago, the last time I tried to get help, my church was going through a pastor-stepping-down-due-to-infidelity thing, so you can imagine just how much help I received.  But I did try.

But having written it all down, it’s overwhelming. It’s one thing to deal with it all one thing at a time, over time, and quite another to come face to face with it on paper all at once.

I emailed it to my small group leader, who shared it with the pastor, so they came in knowing more about the situation.  They took it very seriously, and we talked through some of it.

And in the end I finally said that while it was good to have this all out in the open, I needed to protect myself and my kids, so I would be pursuing looking for an apartment for us if my husband didn’t move out.  He agreed to move into his brother’s condo, which has sat empty for 8 years following drama in his brother’s life that caused him to move back in with his mother.

The pastor said, “Let’s take this on a week to week basis, so next week we will meet again and reassess.”  I had no delusions that this mess could be resolved in a week, nor that he could reverse 58 years of living the way he does in a week. But I was so desperate for a break in the crisis, so thankful that anyone was listening to me and taking me seriously after so many years of “be warm and be filled prayers” and comments like, “Oh, but he’s such a nice guy.  Surely it’s not as bad as you’re saying.”  So I agreed to the week.

And the next day he left.  The week is half over now.  He is supposed to call if he needs to come over and pick anything up.  The very first time he came over, he didn’t call.  This has my close friends crying “Restraining order!! Change the locks!”  But the second time he needed something he did text me first and ask if it was okay.  And he left promptly. So the locks have stayed unchanged.

And my small group leader is pushing me to answer the question, “Are you completely done with this marriage?  Because if you are, we need to treat this differently.  Or are you actually willing to reconcile?”

I couldn’t answer.  I still can’t.

Because my heart is so tired and sore and run-over that I want to be just done.  I want to just say “Enough is enough, you had 27 years to work on this stuff, have a nice life but I won’t be part of it and I hope you find the healing you so desperately need.”

Narcissist-survivors would tell me this is the prudent route.  My oldest son tells me this.  Two of my best friends tell me this.

But God…

I start every day saying, “Not my will be done but yours, O Lord.”  So if God is doing something different than what I want, I’m okay with that.  I just need to know.

It’s definitely tweaking my theology. I have been told, and used to believe myself, that it is never the Lord’s will for divorce unless there has been infidelity.

Unfortunately my situation does not fit within the bounds of that formula.

I have been told, “God hates divorce.”  I looked that verse up.  It’s only one or two translations that render it that way.  The majority of them say nothing of the sort.  Instead they make it clear that God is angry with men who divorce their wives capriciously and leave them out in the cold with no means of support.  Because in the culture in which that verse was written, that was the reality of divorce.

So obviously that is not the case here.

In fact, there are no verses that speak about when it’s okay for a woman to divorce a man.  Apart from the infidelity thing.

And one could stretch that word “infidelity” to cover emotional abuse. But I don’t think that’s the strongest Biblical defense for a woman leaving an emotionally abusive marriage.

There is the Old Testament verse about a father being able to take back his daughter if he felt she wasn’t being properly cared for by her husband, calling breach of contract.  I think that could apply here.  Except my father passed away in 1998 and I’m a little old to need to be rescued by Daddy.  And again, in today’s culture, a woman is not at as much jeopardy if she is unmarried as she would have been in the culture in which that verse was written.

And on top of all of that, my husband is making some amount of effort.  He’s at our friend’s house right now, getting prayed over by them.  He has avoided going to their house during prayer meetings for a good ten years — we’ve taken that to mean he was uncomfortable with the power of God that is displayed during those meetings.  But he has willingly gone tonight, so he must be desperate.

But will he submit to that power?  Will he actually surrender to God?  I have no way of answering that.

And I have no way of knowing for certain if any of his “repentance” and “epiphanies” are honest.

So at the very least, I stand undecided.

And as long as I’m undecided, I need him not to be here.



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