Another day, another few phone calls, another few voice mails. That’s how it goes when I try to contact my wife. I could be calling with the best news in the world, or with something truly urgent, and it would still just go to voice mail. She’s more likely to answer a text from me than she is to pick up the phone when I call. In fact, I can only remember 2 occasions in the past 2 months when she actually did answer the phone when I called. Every other time it has gone to voice mail. Every single time.
If this behavior sounds a bit childish, that’s because it is. It is the grown-up equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and pretending that you can’t hear the other person talking to you. It is a bit absurd when a grown woman does this, and it’s also a bit offensive, I guess, when she does it to her very own husband.
Look, I don’t really take it personally. I know she is just being obstinate, and that she just thinks that if she continues not to pick up the phone for long enough, I’ll quit calling. That won’t happen. It’s been two months now since I’ve had to resort to phone calls to try to reach out to her, because she has mostly vanished off the face of my planet. She wants “distance;” yeah, I get that. Being two blocks away just isn’t distant enough, so she has to add the layer of incommunicativeness and silence to the mix. I get that, too. I’m interfering with her plans and her story because, oh, I don’t know, we’re still married, and I believe things should stay that way. Or, if you’d like, I’m choosing to treat her like she’s my wife, and like she’s the ideal wife, even though her behavior clearly runs contrary to that.
I guess my question is, How long will this childishness continue? (Geez, I have a lot of questions these days!) I mean, how much evidence over how many months do you need from me to realize that I am going to stick up for my marriage, no matter what? All I ask is for a little consideration, and to meet me halfway. Actually, I’d even take a quarter of the way — I’d do the rest of the work. I’m basically doing 100% of it right now.
I know these things change, and that when reconciliations occur things tend to happen all of a sudden, at a very unexpected time and in very unexpected ways. From having heard and/or read the stories of others, something happens, or some series of events occurs, and then the tide just suddenly and quite dramatically changes direction. In all the cases I’ve heard of that involve adultery, the first thing that changes is that the affair ends. Maybe it ends because the wayward spouse tires of it and wants it to end. Maybe it ends because there is a fight with the adulterous partner. Maybe it ends because the adulterous partner brings it to an end without the wayward spouse’s consent. But the adultery is always the first thing that has to go.
And it will go. There’s no doubt about that. I know her affair is fundamentally no different from any other. I know that, at its heart it is a totally immature and completely superficial relationship. I know that they are both under a great deal of stress because of this ongoing perfidy. I know that the adulterer is suffering rashes and other things because of the stress this is causing him in his life. (Yes, I have heard this!) I know he is getting the cold shoulder on occasion from his spiritual mentor, and this is appropriate. (I’ve heard this, too!) I even know that his mentor’s wife aired her public disapproval of this situation many months ago. There are likely many other pressures that I don’t know about that are factoring in to the overall situation at this point.
So what’s a guy to do? From the standpoint of modern American society, my behavior would seem quite bizarre? Most people and no small number of so-called “experts” would likely tell me to just give up and move on. But they don’t know me, and they don’t know my wife. They don’t know that I take my vows very seriously, and don’t feel like they can be broken on a whim, or because I get tired or frustrated. They don’t know my wife as the obsessively goal-oriented person who simultaneously is painfully self-conscious, who metaphorically bangs her head on the wall until she either breaks through or passes out. (It’s almost invariably the latter.) I am not an excessively goal-oriented person myself, but I am very dedicated, and will fight for things in which I truly believe.
And I have never believed in anything as much as I believe in this marriage of mine. I believe in her, in me, and in us. That’s my mantra. Well, actually that and a bunch of others, but the practice of mantra recitation would be the topic for another post. For now, I’ll close with three practical mantras that some of my longer-term readers might recognize:This too shall pass. I shall prevail. Fake it till you make it.