Read the first three posts: 1, 2, 3.
Back when we were dating, I remember asking God to help me love Ben if I was supposed to. When you're dating, there are big decisions ahead. The big decisions could be things like wondering if it's time to break up or to more forward in the relationship.
For me, dating was all a confusing mess. I was dealing with a lot at the time, both in my dating life and my personal life. Ultimately, I had pure motivations. I wanted to follow God. I didn't know what God had in store for me, I had faith that God knew the plan. I had faith that He would guide me, and I had faith in following His plan. I knew if I did what He directed, I would live the life that could bring me the fullest joy and bring me back to Him.
Dating Ben was complicated. Here I had a man who I knew loved me, but for some reason I couldn't love him back. It took me a while. I've since learned that I had suppressed trauma and that led me to have a hard time forming serious, committed dating relationships. At the time, however, I just felt craziness and confusion spinning around in my head. So I prayed. I felt like it wasn't fair for Ben to love me so much. I felt like it wasn't fair for me to put him through everything I had (dating him, not dating him, dating him again. not dating him again). So I prayed, asking God what to do. I asked God to help me love him if that was what I was supposed to do. I knew if my plan included Ben, God would help me love him.
I find it ironic that I did that while we were dating. I had no obligation to love him. I just felt like we had been through too much, and I cared about him too much, to think that nothing would ever seriously happen between us. It's kind of weird. But, looking back, I see that I learned a valuable lesson about turning to and trusting God through that whole dating experience.
Let's talk about now.
When I manage to pull out of the depression and anger to really evaluate what is going on, I know that now is not the time to leave my marriage. I've seriously contemplated separation. We were separated in February and March--February with minimal contact, and March with more frequent contact. I've contemplated separation again, but right now I don't know if that's right. I think it would be more of an escape rather than a boundary. I feel like right now, we are supposed to be working together. Together, not separated.
Whether or not I ask for a separation, I'm not planning on leaving the marriage for good (at least not right now. I do know it's a possibility in the future). I'm choosing to stay. This is why:
1. I feel like God wants me to. And no matter what, I will try to have faith in that and follow God's plan for me.
2. I have hope. While things are certainly hard and trying, I have hope that Ben will be healed, I will be healed, and our marriage will be healed.
3. I am growing. If God wants me to stay, at the very least I can see that I am growing and developing strength and faith that will help me, and help me help others, throughout my life.
4. I love Ben. Sometimes I hate him, but deep down, I love him. I'm not ready nor willing to give up everything we've fought for. Right now, I won't accept no as an answer from him. He will be in recovery, and he will be healed. (We'll see how that goes. I, in reality, have no say over his being in recovery.)
My love for Ben and my love for God are driving me to stay. I really do have hope that Ben will be healed because I have hope in the Atonement, and I have hope in light's power over darkness. It helps that Ben has made a lot of progress in the past few years. Even though his progress can be fickle, I do know that if he weren't making progress, we would be living a whole different story.
As we uncover more and more how the addiction has harmed our marriage, sometimes my life feels empty and dark. But, I have hope because the only reason "we" are uncovering more and more about the addiction is because of the work Ben is doing. He is in recovery. He isn't perfect, but he is progressing.
Ben isn't always honest, but he is much more honest with himself and me than he used to be.
He is also getting better at communicating icky, emotional things that are uncomfortable to discuss.
He loves me too.
His empathy for me is ever-increasing as he realizes the impact the addiction has on me and on our marriage. And he tries to empathize and understand me.
He is getting better at shame-busting.
He does a lot for me, too. I don't want to get all sappy and talk about all the cute things he does. But, if he didn't have the addiction, I probably couldn't imagine a life any different or better. So, he's got that going for him. Now, if only we could get rid of the stupid addiction...
The moral of the story is I have hope. And I'm grateful for a husband who is trying. I keep telling him, as long as he tries, I will try. If he stops trying, and I know there is no hope to get the real Ben back, that is likely when I will stop trying as well. That is when we should be really worried for our marriage.
Right now, I'm staying. Even thought it all sucks. The light I feel from hope will conquer the darkness I feel from the crappiness of my situation. Lately, I've had more dark days than light. But I'm trying to turn that around. Light is supposed to win.
And I know things. I know God. I know Jesus Christ. I know with them, I will win, whatever winning is. I will win because of them. That's what I'm holding on to. Faith and hope.
I started writing this little saga on Monday. It was supposed to be a post about the irony of my life right now. But then I started getting into more detailed processing, which is why it has turned into four posts. I just want to say thank you for loving and supporting me as I've processed my hurt and anger right now. I was stuffing it inside instead of dealing with it. I'm glad I could finally attempt to deal with it. And Wendy, don't worry. I'm holding on to what I know. Thanks for keeping me in line :D