Sometimes when things are hard and it feels like everything is piling on, I start living in the past. Asking myself how I got here and wondering what life would be like if I had made different choices.
This happened on Sunday. I can't remember what happened Sunday that put me down that road of thinking. Maybe it was the fact that this time of year has been triggery for me because I'm living where we were engaged. And we were engaged this time of year five years ago. And I just attended a wedding reception for a friend, and her theme of her engagement and wedding has been "happily ever after." Not to be rude, but *gag me*. It's triggering to me because when I was younger, I loved princesses, fairy tales, and happily ever afters (still do). But sometimes I don't feel like I have a happily ever after...and that trigger is not the point of this post. Moving on.
On Sunday, I was reflecting on our initial friendship, dating, and engagement. He really pursued me. I had no interest in dating him for mostly superficial reasons, but he kept pursuing me. Eventually, I told him I would not date him and if that meant we couldn't even be friends, then he needed to move on. And it was when he was completely removed from my life that I realized I couldn't live without him. That was when I started thinking about dating him, and shortly after we started dating I knew I was supposed to marry him.
But here's the thing. Our friendship and dating experiences were a roller coaster. Major ups and downs. It was crazy. I remember how completely broken and alone I felt during the point where we cut each other out of our lives completely. I remember feeling so confused and asking God what the heck was going on. I remember being on my knees, sobbing, because I didn't understand why I felt such a powerful connection to Ben when I also didn't really want to date him. And then I remember saying, "Heavenly Father, I don't know what is happening here. But I do know you see all. I refuse to date Ben unless it is to marry him one day because the roller coaster is ridiculous. So if I'm supposed to marry him, help me to develop the romantic feelings I need and the strength to bring him back into my life."
I asked God to help me love Ben. And He did.
So as I thought about this on Sunday, I asked myself WHYYYYY I did that. Why didn't I just let him move on with his life without me? Why didn't I just be grateful that he finally left me alone and move on?
It's kind of confusing to me because when I think about all of this, sometimes I think, "I didn't really love him. So why the hell did I marry him?"
But then I start writing about it in my journal or here, and as I write, so many flashbacks hit me and I remember HOW MUCH I loved him. And even though our story is confusing and had so many ups and downs, I can reflect back on everything and see exactly how God prepared me.
I wanted to marry someone else. By the time I started dating Ben, the ex was supposed to come home from his mission in four months. FOUR. But I felt very strongly (and trust me when I say that I was so confused that I leaned on God for every single decision I made at the time) that I was supposed to date and then marry Ben. And I can't deny that.
I went to my local LDS PASG group Sunday night. After all the things I had been feeling (and have been feeling for months now, because let's be honest, I've been in a pit), being at group Sunday was exactly what I needed. Every single woman there said something in the discussion or their shares that I needed to hear.
I volunteered to share first, and I shared all my conflicting feelings about dating and marrying Ben and how I had been questioning everything. Two other women then shared very similar experiences, which was incredibly validating. Then, one woman talked about her dating and marriage experience. She said she didn't know why at the time, but she took the matter to God multiple times, asking His guidance on marrying her husband. She said, "It brings me great comfort now to know how many times God gave me guidance and approval to marry Husband. I didn't know why I kept asking for reassurance at the time, but I can look back now and know I didn't make a mistake. I didn't know about the addiction, but God did. My husband is the same as he was when I married him, I just didn't know all of who he was. But God did. And I know that things will be okay. Whether or not we divorce one day, things will be okay."
That really hit me. I felt so many parallels to my own life.
Life with an addict is HARD. So hard. Sometimes I think really violent thoughts towards him. Sometimes I wish I had never met him. BUT there has been so much good in our relationship. And I can't deny the good.
I think the thing that is the scariest for me is that after everything we have been through, what if we don't actually end up together for eternity because of his choices? I didn't marry him to end up not together. And I don't want to waste my time on this earth trying to make peace in our relationship and dedicate so much of my life to him here only to end up alone there.
I really do love him. Sometimes I block myself from feeling because feeling is too hard. But last night, in my prayer, God reminded me of everything. And as I've been writing this post, so many memories have hit me. I'm looking at all the pictures on the wall of our living room, and I see so much light and happiness in our past, and I see the hope for our future.
Sometimes I just get really mad at God and Ben for being in this situation. Anger is addictive and hard to move past. But I had an experience last night in prayer (that I will share in another post) and Sunday night in group that I think will help me to finally move past the anger I've been feeling for the past five months.
When I left group on Sunday, I had a renewed dedication to my marriage. I felt a sense of strength towards sticking to my Safety Plan so I and our Little Man are safe. But I also felt a sense of commitment to my marriage and specifically dating each other. We did the whole "starting over" thing last summer and it was great for us. Granted, he was doing really well in recovery and not acting out like he is now. But as I rethink my boundaries and discuss things with him, I'm hoping that SOON, he will reach a point in his recovery where he is sober. He does have to prove his recovery to me. And then we can rebuild.
I'm terrified he will never have sobriety. But I'm trying to have faith, not fear. I know what God wants me to do with my life right now. So I'm taking the reins and doing what needs to be done for MY recovery and healing right now, and I'll let him figure out his.
I CAN heal, even if he is still active in addiction. His acting out should not determine my happiness.
I CAN heal. So I'm going to.