STATIC DISCLAIMER: All the stuff in here is purely my opinions, and they tend to change depending on what mood I'm in. If you're going to get bitter if I say something about you that you don't like, then maybe don't read. I avoid using names as much as possible, and would request that people who know me do the same in their comments. Basically, I often vent my frustrations on here, so if you happen to be someone who frustrates me, expect to read a description of someone very much like you in here!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

An Explanation

I've considered carefully publishing this post. I want to tell people the truth, as I've always been honest and open, but at the same time I don't want to create bitterness or angst. There's been enough of that already, and I'm ready to move forward now. Part of that for me however, is sharing this story with all of you.

For those who don't know already, Rachel and I are no longer together. What follows is an explanation of why:

We've had some fairly big problems in our marriage. We've struggled with them for a long time, and they took their toll on both of us. We'd seen several marriage counsellors over a number of years, and still we struggled. That being said, my attitude was always that we'd keep at it until we sorted it through - that you work things out, no matter what. Rachel however found that she was unable to do that.

In late 2009, Rachel got involved with another man. The relationship continued, and despite numerous moments where she decided she should do the right thing and break it off, she was unable to bring herself to give it up. I tried very hard to win her affections back, and was as gracious and understanding as I could be through the whole thing. She has said she's sorry things unfolded the way they did, but ultimately she chose not to give up the relationship she formed with this man. Obviously, this wasn't a circumstance under which our marriage could continue.

As you might imagine, the past 12 or so months as this situation has unfolded have been incredibly difficult for me. But I have had to accept that what is, is; regardless of how I feel about it. As a result, Rachel and I have done the absolute best we can in maintaining amicability for the sake of the boys. We both love them immensely and want the best for them, and we're doing everything we can to soften the impact this situation will inevitably have on them.

A lot of water has gone under the bridge now and we're both in very different places. I'm taking the New Year as an opportunity to start over - to look at what it means to be a part-time carer / full-time dad, and to be suddenly single again at age 31. The boys now see quite a bit of Rachel's new partner, and I'm coming to terms with that... slowly. They are adjusting as well as children possibly could given their situation, and discussions about them with Rachel are amicable and functional, as the one common ground I know we still share is wanting the best for them even if we disagree on what that looks like from time to time. I'm trying hard to follow the path I believe God is leading me on, and I hope that He'll make it a bit clearer as time goes on. I still wrestle with why he's allowed this to happen, but I suppose ultimately I may just have to let it go.

If you're reading this, you're probably a friend or family member, and even if you aren't: Merry Christmas, and all the best for the New Year. Enjoy your family, your friends, and the time you have to share with them. Remember that eternity is the long bit, and that Jesus is the reason we can look forward to that. {/sappy bit}

These goings-on are the reason nothing has appeared on this blog in a long time. With this post out of the way, I'm hoping to post a bit more regularly. Also, I'm thinking of starting a new blog about my journey working out this new life I've got, in the hope that it might help others who find themselves in this place. I'll put details here if/when I do so you can read it if you want.

God bless,


1 comment:

Nathan Zamprogno said...

What you have written has taken real courage. It's the most natural thing in the world to not want to have your pain on display to the world. Yet, there is the competing, and equally understandable and compelling urge to be justified, to be able to say "well, if talk is out there, I'm entitled to seek to have my version clearly known".

Trust me, I've been through all these emotions myself. I know it's hard.

I've held my tongue for a while, but since you've blogged, here's my view.

It's a sad truth that in this society, there are many couples where one person has felt that the commitment they had made to their spouse was neither sacred, nor life-long. This is despite mouthing those words, as a binding vow, solemnly before God, before friends and family.

This is, of course, a tragedy. We would like to think that no one makes such a decision lightly. Perhaps there is intolerable abuse in a relationship. Perhaps a person cannot forgive their partner for an infidelity (which is entirely a decision that resides with the cheated spouse). Beyond this, in my view, there are no grounds for dissolving a marriage.

It is of course unfair that, while it takes two people pulling together to make a marriage work, it only takes one to make it fail. I shake my head at what are offered as reasons today for breaking families up. "I'm unfulfilled" is not a justification. Neither is "I am no longer attracted to my partner". These reasons seem flimsy to me, and when the rights of children to have a mother and a father, in the same house, working together as a family unit, are ignored to gratify these selfish and immature desires, my anger rises. I have seen it too many times in people whom I formerly respected, and I think people should say something.

Perhaps I am too hard. I am not suggesting people are not entitled to happiness. Nor am I suggesting we should ever judge in a cruel or ill-intentioned way. I am suggesting that when people place their own happiness ahead of others, and when the well-being of children is wrongly judged as not being affected by these decisions, then we should be discriminating in the best sense of that word and speak out, rather than merely sit by for fear of causing offence. I do not aim to offend, but I do think it is appropriate to bring pressure to bear, as a group of peers, to say "This is wrong. We love you, but we detest the betrayal this represents to your spouse and children." I do not aim this pungent remark at anyone particular, but rather it is a long overdue and collective cry now I have seen yet another family whose happiness I cherish, dashed.

You are right when you say that the reasons why God would allow things to unfold in such a way elude comprehension. Rather than wrestle endlessly with God, we are wise to "let go" and make the very best of what remains to us. We may even, with some justification, re-assess what we have believed about God's nature and agency in the world on the basis of such personal experiences. Uncomfortable but compelling truths may emerge. Let them. Grow from the experience.

I speak confidently as someone who has walked this vale of tears. The best encouragement I can offer you, friend, is that it gets better. It really does. Your boys need you. You are someone who is invested in your community, and you are valued in so many ways. Justin, change your thinking from "What did I do to deserve this?" to "I always deserved better than this, and maybe this is how I will get it. It'll just take a while to get there".

In solidarity,