Tuesday: The morose has morphed into irritability. She’s avoiding eye contact with me, giving me one word answers. Sometimes she gives me one sound answers (because apparently even speaking words to me is too tough).
Me: “Honey, do you want to go to that Sausage Haus you were telling me about? We could go now or wait till our oldest gets home from school.”
True Marshawn Lynch fashion.
Me: “So for lunch or dinner”
She turns off the kids programming, and goes to the DVR to catch up on “Once Upon A Time.” I decide to stay downstairs and maybe watch the episode with her. I haven’t watched this season at all, it started with some terrible acting and I lost interest.
Me: “So is the Queen still good or has she returned to evil?”
Her: “No, she still good now. Emma is actually fighting the darkness with in herself…”
She catches me up on most of the story line in a very friendly manner. She’s dropped the irritation. She turns on the next episode and I decide to log in to my tablet. Her irritability has returned.
Her: [Accusatory] “Who are you talking to?”
Me: [As friendly as possible] “Nobody really, I’m just reading blogs.”
I was reading “Rational Doubt” but I decide not to tell her I’m reading an Atheist blog. She finishes that episode, and goes back into the DVR to watch “Revenge”. I’ve never watched that show. This is punishing behavior. She does this when we are fighting but not talking anymore. She goes to the TV and watches shows she knows I’m not interested. Sometimes I think she does it because she knows it annoys me. Other times I’m sure she does it to prompt me to leave the room and leave her alone.
Me: “Sooooo….. I’m going to take a shower now…?”
Why do showers feel so good when you feel so bad. I try to keep it short so that she has hot water after I’m done, but I find it hard to do anything other stand hunched over as the spray of water hits the back of my neck.
I’m thinking my celebration of my wife’s loving acceptance has been a bit premature. I don’t want to be hated. I don’t want to be resented. I didn’t do anything.
I finish up. Take forever to get dressed, and head down stairs.
Me: “Are you going to take a shower now?”
She doesn’t say a word and she refuses to look at me. She gets up, and heads upstairs. Our toddler is sleeping on the floor.
When she finally comes back down stairs, I attempt to catch her eyes. She looks and looks away. She does another take.
Her: [sheepishly] “What? What are you looking at?”
Me: “You, I want to look at you.”
Me: “Because…(tears)…because….I don’t want you to hate me. I don’t want you to resent me. I need you to like me. I NEED you. I’m so sorry. It’s not my fault. I didn’t do this on purpose, I didn’t decide to become an atheist. I don’t know how many times I got to say that, but I didn’t choose this. I don’t want this. I feel like, I wish I did something wrong. I wish I did something bad that deserved you being mad at me. But I haven’t done anything, and there is nothing wrong with me. But I’ve been alone for so long, I can’t bear to be alone anymore.”
Her: “I know you don’t want to hear this, but no John, I would not have married you. You aren’t the husband I need. You aren’t holding up to the promise you gave at our wedding. How are you supposed to lead me now? How are you supposed to be the spiritual head of our family? Our kids need you to be that. I can’t believe you’ve done this.”
Me: (sigh) “I understand you’re upset. And it’s not right for me to expect you not to feel the emotions you are feeling. No one should tell you how to feel. I too was angry for a long time. But…I…I can’t be here if you hate me. I think maybe I should leave. Let me call [local pastor friend] Kevin, and talk to him. I’ll see if he’ll hang out with me this afternoon. I’ll tell him what’s going on.”
Her: (crying) “That’s the thing John, you’ve got people to talk to. I’ve got no one to talk to. You can’t expect me to handle this without telling someone.”
This is a problem. The only people she could talk to are either Church members or family. The only other person she could talk to is in the process of leaving the faith also, so probably not sympathetic to my wife’s position.
Me: “No, you’re right. You can’t keep what you’re going through all bottled up. You shouldn’t have to go through emotionally what I’ve endured the last few months. But who are you going to talk to?”
Long pause as she thinks.
Her: “Reese, I think she is the only person I trust with this.”
Reese and her husband are members of the church. She comes from a liberal background and he was the subject of my blog post about God talking to you. Reese and my wife have been good friends since we started at this church. Lately Reese as started fostering her infant niece, and my wife has been there to help her with the ups and downs of the “system”. My wife was a foster child.
Me: “Ok, just ask her not to tell her husband.”
She leaves and then I have that conversation with my old roomie (Slowly coming out, Part 5)
To be continued…