This I Believe

Enrique - Colorado
Entered on June 10, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

As my wife and I seriously contemplate a Divorce, after an 11 year marriage which has had more time of conflict then quality, I find I believe in Love and in tolerance. This is my first marriage and my wife’s second.

The walls we’ve built seem so high that my wife says she does not remember if she ever loved me or why. Over the past years I have hurt her in ways that are hard to forgive, attacks at her most vulnerable flaws, the ones she has protected and pretended never existed. Martha has done the same to me, attacking openly and aggressively my weaknesses, the one I protect and hide and that when exposed inflict the greatest pain. The pain in our marriage has been considerable and often, anger follows one pressing the others hot-button, aggressive hurtful responses, all this followed by long stretches of emotional distance, physical separation and loneliness.

The real casualties of a marriage are the children. This is also the most obvious evidence that the marriage was special and meant to be. You cannot look at, interact with or be completely in love and dedicated to your children and wish the marriage never happened so that they never existed. Our children are adopted, but as is true for a biological birth, with out the specific conditions and timing of our marriage we would not be parents to the two most priceless and special miracles in this universe.

I do not believe that a marriage can or should survive because children are involved. A damaged marriage with constant stress and anger will do serious damage to the children. When the damage exceeds the benefit or becomes routine, one day they will believe our hurtful and dysfunctional state is a normal marriage. Our responsibility to our children is in providing for their safety, security, education and emotional /spiritual growth. The more self love, self-confidence and ability to communicate their internal feeling our children have the better they can adapt and not become casualties of a bitter divorce. This is a difficult challenge for a couple who has dysfunctional communication systems. We desire for our children a better lot in life than our own; this is certainly the case for me in regards to their person and to their future marriage.

I do believe that life is simple, we complicate it because we resist where the simple path is taking us. In the process of avoiding the truth we complicate our situation and lose focus magnifying our fears and doubts; as my wife has in not knowing if and why she ever loved me, and therefore why she married me. As I have done in trying to force change by anger or pressure because I internally feared what creating change by tolerant love would require of me. Change is unavoidable, we always move forward to a better place in harmony with each other or to a place of conflict and distance. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction; hurtful actions and poor choices bring hurtful responses and difficult choices.

When the Love is “greater then” our fear / hurt we can act with tolerance. When the Love is “less then” our fear / hurt we act only with self preservation with no real concern for or tolerance of our partner. Small details are magnified into unfathomable conflicts. Without the intentional tolerance to search openly for the “why of my partners actions” we simply judge harshly. This routine leads to constant conflict and an environment where love cannot be shared.

For me the purpose of marriage is the sharing of love. I do not mean the “state of love or act of love or making love. Love in marriage means the benefit of sharing with a partner whom is a moral and social compass, a friend to help share the good and the bad with, someone desiring to fill the small empty part of your soul and heal the internal damage we so deeply and aggressively protect. This intent to share love must be done consciously and freely. Finally Love in a marriage is the benefit of a partner to share fun with. I would imagine that in a perfect marriage (an ideal which does not likely exist) every act including a fight is to some degree fun.

I believe in regards to marriage that Love + Tolerance = Unity. Any formula excluding tolerance and sharing of love will not sustain a marriage.

I believe the simplicity that characterizes a “good” marriage is:

1. Remembering the why and intensity of that initial “Love”.

2. Courtesy, practice of touch thank you, sorry, intimacy and other routine niceties.

3. Tolerance, to more often than not, overlook the hurtful input we receive from our partner and attempt to reinforce their fears helping them deal with the real issue. This need be reciprocated.

4. Communication, not to settle for “My choice” or “your choice” but to find through dialog and growth as partners “our choice”.

5. Have fun in sharing time, thought and problems.

I believe marriage this takes two willing individuals. The teacher cannot teach with out the student, so a marriage also takes two willing souls, especially this day in age when both parties are able to survive and thrive independently.

This I believe … About marriage