We married young. It wasn’t like people didn’t tell us it was a bad idea. They did. We didn’t listen. If you know Garrett and me you are nodding your head knowingly right now. We are the kinds who have to figure it out for ourselves. This results, though, in typically good outcomes. Our “can’t nobody tell me nothing” approaches have honed our sense of selves and bolstered our belief in our own power as people. We are leaders because of this characteristic and it was one trait that first drew us to each other
We were just 20, or maybe 19… I can’t remember. Either way, we were in no position to be making life choices like we did. When you are raised in a conservative church like Garrett was and temporarily drinking its Kool-Aid, like I was, you come to believe that marriage IS the pinnacle of existence in community. We wanted to be good Christian kids. Good Christian kids get married. So we got married.
We also got married because we didn’t want to feel sinful about sexytime. But that is another story all together.
We got married on shaky foundation. Both of us had no idea the intense amount of personal traumas we needed to work through. Beyond that, we were still kids. We were as undifferentiated as differentiated could get. That is therapist speak for, we had not learned to fully live our own lives apart from our family of origin. So we signed our marriage certificate and started to piecemeal what we thought marriage was from two very different cultural backgrounds and world views. We mashed that together with how the conservative Christian church taught us we should live. I was rough, because non of it fit us. We didn’t know any better though. He didn’t like being a “spiritual leader” and I sure as hell wasn’t going to “meekly submit”. Have you met me?! That alone could break a couple.
So a couple of months ago I arrived at DONE. DONE is that place where you throw up your hands and start making plans to move on. Marriage gets tiring. Without all the extraneous circumstances just living with the same person day after day gets to be a lot. Kids and work, and being laid off. Almost losing your house… those things all factor in. It is hard to see that when you are trying to run away from pain. So when I declared I couldn’t do it anymore I felt a huge burden melt away. I think there is power in publicly acknowledging powerlessness. I also think, for the spouse of a sex addict, there is power in admitting you don’t HAVE to say… that you have every reason to leave and you can if you want.
When I said that I was done it was as though something switched in Garrett. He believed me. He understood I was serious and life couldn’t continue the direction it was going. So now, we are in counseling with a sex addiction specialist. I’ve put down a boundary of 6 months. 6 months I will stay and work recovery as long as I have a partner who will work it with me. 6 months I will push myself to be vulnerable and open. 6 months.
Everyone has their opinions on what we should do. People are telling us to just get divorced, there has been too much damage. People are telling us to stay together for the kids. People are saying to stop talking about it so publicly…. people are saying all kinds of things. Just like the beginning of our marriage, though, the end or the continuation will be what we decide. We will do it our way, like we always have. We’ve got to figure it out ourselves. And we are.