God and Marriage

June 30, 2005

I’m going to be talking more about God on this blog than on my previous (or other) blog simply because it is a huge part of the “Redemption” part of my theme. I wanted it to be a bigger part because I feel the need to be grounded and centered that way. This does not mean I am a perfect Christian. Regular readers know better. It is because of my serious flaws that I am in need of redemption in the first place!

As someone in need of redemption, it would be foolish of me to judge others in need of redemption. And we all do in some fashion whether or not we acknowledge it. There’s the reality for you. so I’m okay with the heathens who want to hang around. You are all entitled to make your own choices.

Square1 again delivers the goods on the topic, so this is just my reply/two cents.

I believe that God takes an active part in our daily lives. I believe He cares deeply for us probably on a level that we can not comprehend. So if I’m going to follow that line of thinking, God somehow has some reason or purpose behind me being hooked up with Arwyn. Earlier this year I did make a definitive statement that my marriage was the hill I would die on. I would die before I would give it up.

God, in typical fashion, decided to put me to a bit of a test on that. And I have failed pretty miserably. The lesson here is that I’m a pretty selfish bastard when it comes down to it and there’s little that I wouldn’t do to save my own ass. Someone out there is wondering why a loving God would test me so. For the same reason a parent eventually lets go of the bicycle seat only to watch their youngin’ fall. A body has to fall once in a while, how else are you going to learn to get up and get back on again? How else is a condescending prick going to learn a bit of humility?

Not getting into specifics on this right now. But it has precipatated this bit of introspection you all are enjoying at the moment. Did God intend on Arwyn and I being together until one of us died? I don’t know God’s precise intentions. I do know that it would please Him greatly if we did but He would love us no less if we didn’t. Something that drives both Arwyn and I is the fear of abandonment. We both have that running through us at all times, in all settings. It is part of the air that we breathe. We feel the other has left us, disappointed us, abandoned us and betrayed each other on some level. There are hurts we have felt that were never fully rendered but they didn’t have to be. Our minds were capable of filling in the gaps and completing any unfinished punishment.

So it is into this mess that God has the opportunity to bring order. If He can restore balance and harmony here, He can do it anywhere. One of the few things working for us at this point is that Arwyn and I are both terribly tenacious in our stubborness. Neither wants to admit defeat and give in. There’s a part of me that hopes that this will sort of blow over with time. Maybe we can weather this out and arrive somewhere much better.

I read of a survey of around 1,000 couples where they discovered that many of them were extremely unhappy in their marriages. Five years later, they surveyed these couples again. They actually found that those who were the unhappiest that stayed married were more happy five years later than either the divorced folks or those who were happier earlier in their marriage. The conclusion reached by the researchers was that some discord, unhappiness and trouble was necessary to a healthy marriage! What’s more, was that those who persevered through the worst seemed to reap the biggest dividends.

None of that study had anything to do with God, except that God is not there to prptect us from every consequence, bump and scrape that we get ourselves in to. He is actually more interested in our character than our comfort. Marriage is the perfect manifestation of that dynamic because as long as we cling to our own comfort like a dog on to a bone, we are going to be handed more misery. At least that’s what I’m learning at the moment. So the answer seems to be to give up more of my own comfort, embrace the misery and get on with whatever Arwyn wants to dish out.

There’s something new. Easier said than done, because I need to give up whatever my terms are. Let her have it all if she wants. We’ll go to the poor house or jail or wherever we’re meant to be. This is where a faith in my own Heaven-ward destination offers me something in the way of comfort.

At this point, this rambling is me just noodling this out while writing. I do this more often than I care to admit and sometimes something just comes right out like that bit above. That’s why blogging does what it does for me. Consider that this came forth because I was reading Square1, who was reading Housewyfe, and then I posted stuff. Square1 posted more stuff in comments and so did Ed and Marie and some other folks, which all came together, here, to make this concoction you’re reading right now. God wastes nothing, even using a heathen like Ed to reveal whatever truth and reality might be lying around for me to dig up. It really is a group effort.

So now I have some positive things to think about and consider.
D.

Advertisements

Monogamy Sex

June 29, 2005

06/29/2005

Wednesday

I just finished reading Housewyfe Wendy’s offering on monogamy and sex. It really got my blood up. A LOT.

This could get bloody.

Actually, the comments got me as much as the post itself.

Let’s make something perfectly clear; Housewyfe is a fantasy. She might as well be a writer for Penthouse Forum. In fact, I’d rather read her than Penthouse. After reading her lovely blog for a few months, however, I had to quit. It was entirely too painful. She is a skilled and insightful writer who really does a wonderful job writing descriptively. But reading her, for me, was an exercise in frustration. True to what she offered in her latest entry, I would have no hope of keeping up with someone like her. She’s wonderfully erotic, sensual, loving, open and intimate. But there is a certain amount of pressure that goes along with that. Fortunately for her, Caveman is the perfect man for the job.

Her writing is skilled enough to evoke some fairly powerful emotions within me. And not a lot of them are good. The frustration outweighed any vicarious pleasure I might have gained. Any guy thinking he can put himself in the caveman’s shoes is really pipe-dreaming. C’mon back to reality, boys.

She did make an exceedingly insightful comment about earning her way in to or out of the marriage. That needs some more exploration by someone with more insight than I have at the moment. Square1 gave a fair treatment of it from the perspective of Jimmy Evans. He does have a pretty firm grasp on the Biblical perspective of fidelity. And for a Christian, the Bible should be the final word on the matter.

But I feel the need to be a bit more oppositional and incendiary at the moment. So I’m going out of bounds, Biblically speaking.

One commenter had the audacity to propose that us husbands might get more sex if we vaccuumed and did the dishes. That is unadultrated horsecrap. You think Housewyfe might get a richer schedule of sex if she’d just mow the lawn and change the oil in caveman’s truck once in awhile? For a LL woman, doing more chores translates into doing more chores. She uses the time freed up by a horny mate, not for sex, but for starting some other projects. Many of these projects are ones the husband will end up having to finish. If I do too many chores my wife will eventually put me off in order to change the cat litter. And we haven’t had a cat in over two years. The More Housework=More Sex is a myth.

If the division of labor is a problem, sex can be used as a chip to get more done around the house. But the opposite is NOT true.

Most women could eliminate almost all the daily chores from their lives and their horny husbands would be happy to do it. See “Real Women Don’t Do Housework” for an in-depth treatment of how to do it. Most women won’t do it, though. They resent the manipulation of reinforcement preferring the bitchiness of punishment and coercion.

Let’s move on to the monogamy bit. I agree with many of the writers’ personal stance on this matter. I don’t advocate cheating from a moral standpoint. However, if a woman is going to play the part of the ice queen, she needs to see the part she is playing, here. Juxtapose her punishing, cold and aversive ways with the warm enticements, kindness and pleasures offered by someone else…just exactly what do you expect him to do? He’s only human, afterall.

During Bill Clinton’s second term, I was as critical of him as anyone else. I thought he had disgraced the office, and was a beast. I still think he’s a terrible role model in light of his numerous bimbo explosions and the numerous rapes, murders and deaths surrounding his presidency. But I do have more compassion for the man, nowadays after having to live years with a woman who isn’t half as spiteful as Hillary. Every single day, that man would leave his angry, cold, calculating wife, and emerge the most powerful man on earth. Inside, he couldn’t help but be wounded by a woman who had never quite respected him.

Think about that. He spent so much of his life acquiring respect, power and admiration. He wanted people to like him. He wanted to be wanted. But the coldness of his wife was obvious and unrelenting. Each and every day, he went to work with a wounded heart. So along comes a spritely intern, flashing her thong and willing to play with cigars. What the hell was he supposed to do?

Vaccuum the rug? Wash the dishes?

Princess Diana was a woman who thought she had found her prince. She found depression, misery and lonliness. What the hell was *she* supposed to do? Wear sexier lingerie? Cook a few more enticing meals? Submit to her husband?

It’s so easy for us to judge others. But it is not as if either Hillary or Charles were willing to contend for their spouses against the forces of temptation that exist in the world. There is wickedness out there that does not sleep. These men and women are responsible for their decisions and the consequences should they decide to have an affair. But the indignant spouse plays his/her own role and stands to reap the bitter harvest of all the lonliness and lack of intimacy sown over the years.

If a spouse is doing everything they can do to contend for their spouse against this sort of temptation then they have a clear conscience. But a woman condemning a healthy, loving man to a state of semi-celibacy needs to examine her own self before playing the part of the one who is victimized.

In the Garden of Eden, Adam should have evicted the serpent at the outset. He allowed Eve to talk to the snake in the first place. When Eve offered him the fruit, she didn’t have to look around for Adam. She didn’t have to wait for him to come home and didn’t even have to call out to him. Adam was there the whole time. He heard what the snake said, and watched Eve pick the fruit and watched her take the first bite. He was right there. He could have stood up at any point and prevented the fall. But he didn’t. He didn’t contend for and protect his wife, and since that time, women have been refusing to contend for their husbands. Payback is hell. Even Job’s wife (the only one in Job’s family in the story who the devil didn’t bother to hurt or kill) was ready to give up on her husband “Why are you still holding on to your integrity? Why don’t you just curse God and die?”

I’m not saying that there are not women fighting alongside their husbands. But these helpmates are few and far between. I celibrate the ones that do.

As men, sex is one of our chief weaknesses. The world stands ready to attack and devour us every time we step out the door. It actually reaches inside our homes, thanks to T.V. and the internet. A sexless marriage is a wound that cripples.

And thanks to some decent blogs I read, I’ve learned that it isn’t just us guys who suffer. Women also suffer in sexless marriages. But I’m addressing the sort of guys who email Housewyfe as well as the women who want to go after and persecute guys who are cheating. There are no adult victims, here.

D.


Erections

June 29, 2005

06/28/2005

Tuesday

I’m thinking about erections. Hard-ons. Woodies. Blued steel.

Most of the time, these things are a pain in the ass. It’s the rare occasion that a nice stiffy becomes cause for celebration. I’m glad I can still have them, don’t get me wrong. But they happen throughout the day when I can’t necessarily do anything about them. I might be watching Arwyn playing with the boys, and just looking at her when one of these episodes intrude. Or just resting and daydreaming about something and all the sudden I have a hot one in my pants. It doesn’t even have to be a sexual thought, but once I’m aware of the arousal my mind leaps out of the gate.

Sometimes frustration is good. When I’m wearing the chastity cage, it’s okay because I see that as part of the deal. It’s what I sign on for when I snap the lock shut. Every hard-on is a reminder and a promise of the release to come. When I’m unlocked, I can make a date with myself fo the next morning or later in the night. It’s still with myself, though.

It’s not as if my wife has any appreciation for an erection. Perhaps this is the most off-putting bit about it. She’s not going to notice it and say “Honey, you look a bit tense. Let me help you loosen up. Let me relieve the pressure you.” Unless, of course she’s in a hurry to get me off so she can get some sleep. Then, Heaven forbid it isn’t hard enough. She is simply not a reliable source of relief.

An erection is a distraction, sometimes. Ever been in a position where there is serious emotional of physical tension? That adrenaline can summon forth hardness as fast as anything. Too bad my wife isn’t the type for make-up sex. Long drives. Sheesh! After a few hours on my ass, it’s as if Darth Sidious is just happy to be alive. I once dated a woman that understood that enough to indulge me. She was a super traveling companion. Not much on conversation, but she let be read over and play with her while driving whenever I wanted. And when it came time to stop for the night we would check in, unpack a few things and then get down to business. That has never happened with Arwyn. Ever. As a result, we don’t travel much. I traveled more in two years with the girl I let get away than I have done in 9 years with Arwyn. With the other girl, we would meander about the country, lazily looking for adventure. And then have hot sex at night and sometimes in the morning. With Arwyn, it is all business. I get from point A to point B by the shortest and most direct route. Driving begets tension which goes unrelieved and begets more tension. Unresolved, I become one unhappy bastard. It’s easier to stay home and relieve myself.

D.


The Cage

June 27, 2005

06/27/2005

Monday

It’s on my mind. I’m thinking about it which means I will probably end up doing it again in the near future.

I’m talking about The Cage, another of the cast of characters that has been recently been relegated to the back burner.

The beginning of this story actually takes place about 7 or so years ago. This is well before the days of blogging although there were a few out there. Back then, they were just web pages. I was a fairly prominent fish in the Usenet pond. On alt.support.marriage there were lots of other guys living with the unhappy reality that marriage equated with masturbation rather than passionate romps with their brides. Back then, men vastly outnumbered women on the internet, but it was changing. It was in this forum at this time that I came across Lady Misato.

Lady Misato had an entirely different take on male-female relationships, mainly that many more marriages would be happier if the women would dominate their men. I, and most other guys, promptly flamed her, but she was unaffected. She was not overly aggressive and generally kept a low profile only occasionally offering insight and advice. She would answer legitmate questions but not the flames and insults. She did exude a lot of confidence. Her site is actually quite famous and might be the most famous geocities site ever: “Real Women Don’t Do Housework.”

During this same time I also briefly made the acquaintence on another group of Laura Doyle of “Surrendered Wife” fame. I was definitely more agreeable to her point of view, than L. Misato’s. Women generally didn’t like either POV. They despised Ms. Doyle’s submissive ways and dismissed L. Misato for being overly manipulative. I personanlly think there is a place for both, although it would be a long time before I was willing to investigate being dominated.

I got away from usenet, and moved on to other things, like Ivillage’s Clashing Libidos board.

A couple of years ago, I was grepping through the usenet archives and wondered about Lady Misato. A search quickly led me to her site. It has not really changed in 7 years. In fact, I’m not sure the last time anything was added or updated. I had never really spent a lot of time there, but this time I did. I read through each section thoroughly and began to understand what she was trying to say. I was getting it. And getting hard. My outlook had changed over the years, and I was ready for a different direction.

What finally did me in, was when looking at various toys she had listed, there was the CB2000 (I see she has updated to the CB3000). I linked through and a new world opened up. The world of chastity.

I’d never heard of male chastity or even female domination before except it looked like some sort of fetish thing. I never lingered over the idea. Now I was fantasizing.

For some reason, the idea of having my cock locked in a cage with my wife holding the keys turned me on in a major way. I read Altarboy’s site, and there was (and still is) loads of information, reviews, advice and stories. The idea of being locked up kept me hard for days. I’m still not overly sure of what posessed me, but it was there. I had all sorts of fantasies of my wife teasing me and playing with me and getting turned on by the idea. That was it as much as anything. The idea of something that my wife could actually enjoy even if it involved in me NOT having sex was a huge part of the appeal. Maybe this would help her rediscover her sexuality.

She left town with the boys to visit her mother, and I ordered The Curve with overnight delivery. I could not wait to put it on. In fact, I probably got myself off several times before it came just thinking about it.

In the weeks leading up to the purchase, I had wondered about how I was going to tell Arwyn about this. I did write her a letter basically asking her to take charge of my sexuality. To become a caretaker of a sort for me and to help me to practice chastity in our marriage. This was before actually even buying the cage.

Once I had it, I spent time getting it fitted properly and getting used to it. I mowed the lawn with it, went to the store while wearing it and even went to church with it on. No one noticed. That was part of the thrill, the idea of having a secret. “If they only knew…”

Nights were a challenge. I soon realized that my penis (heretofore known as Darth Sidious) was up during much of the night. The cage makes full erections impossible and painful. So I’d get hard, get out of bed, walk or go pee, and then go back to sleep. A couple of hours later, I’d have to repeat the process until 5 a.m. or so, when the super hard-on hit and there simply was no going back to sleep. Which meant that if I was going to get adequate sleep, I need to go to bed earlier.

The cage did bring on some pretty significant changes mentally and emotionally, too. Even though Arwyn was gone and totally unaware, my thoughts became almost instantly fixed on her. I suppose reading and fantasizing primed me, I was still unprepared for the focus wearing a cock cage afforded me. I cleaned the house, mopped the floor, cleaned the bathrooms, vaccuumed the carpets and bought groceries…all before 9 a.m.! And I was happy to do it.

Folks reading Lady Misato do not realize that while it looks terribly manipulative, it is actually a message of affirmation and love. Love is essentially about pleasing the other person. A man’s most basic nature is about doing things that please his wife. The same should be true of women. Love should be about pleasing their husbands.

When Arwyn returned, I didn’t say anything for several days. I continued wearing the cage but she never noticed. Finally, at the end of the week, I reminded her of the letter I wrote to her, and showed her the cage. She was a bit startled to say the least. She had wondered about me going to bed earlier and waking up earlier. Now she knew.

It took her a few days to get used to it. I showed her afew articles I had printed off from Altarboy’s site and then handed her the keys. My thought was that she could wear one of the keys around her neck. She said that the necklace was uncomfortable and hid the keys.

The reality did not match the fantasy. Arwyn was trying to get used to it, but there was never any teasing. She never required me to do anything special for. I had some sort of fantasy about giving her oral sex, but she hated oral sex then and still does. She didn’t really want to talk about the cage and it seemed a bother to even think about it.

At first, she didn’t want to touch it at all. I had some fantasy about her handcuffing me and taking it off, playing with me and/or cleaning me and then putting the cage back on when she was finshed with me. The reality never prograssed beyond her getting the key and unlocking the lock. In the morning, if I put the cage back on, I would present myself to her and she would lock the lock. That was kind of erotic.

When wearing the cage, there was little or no discussion about it. In fact, Arwyn would totally forget about it. I’d ask for some “adult alone time” and she would forget I was locked up until she pulled my underwear off and then have to go looking for the key. Over time, as my mind became more and more fixed on her, I would approach her for more hugs, kisses and cuddles. This began to annoy her. Her lack of attention began to annoy me. She began complaining about the pressure of holding the keys. Then she wouldn’t unlock me, she simply left the keys out on the bathroom counter for me to unlock as I wanted. Or if I asked for some time for the two of us, she’d give me the keys to unlock myself.

At the beginning, we did have a contract with assorted rules for release and penalties for infractions like being annoying or whining or virtually anything else she wanted. It also spelled out conditions for release which were set at 4 days unless there were penalties and a 10 day maximum.

There were never any penalties. Ever. She did release me every 4 days and did give me handjobs on those occasions. That month marked the most handjobs of our marriage or ever. She even let me out after 3 days on an occasion or two. But if I didn’t choose to wear the cage, she didn’t say anything about that, either. And I might go a week before locking up again. The contract provided some amount of structure, but Arwyn never really took advantage of it. She simply was not into it. I suppose she could best be described as a reluctant keyholder.

I was much more affectionate and agreeable after being in the cage a few days and nights. I would do things for her because I wanted to. She could ask me to do anything and I’d do it. I would do more things without her having to ask. However, she was uncomfortable with this as keyholder, because it did put pressure on her to release me. Afterall, release was what I wanted and was willing to work for. For her part, she figured that’s all I wanted and I should be acting this way without having to wear the cage. And I seemed constantly jonesing for release.

I finally discovered the Timelock program that enabled the computer to hold the keys for a certain length of time. This seemed to work just a bit better, because Arwyn was then under no pressure to release me. At the same time, she could reap the benefits. In return, she was more open to my affections and was more affectionate towards me. There were a couple of embarassing moments when she was actually open to sex and I happened to be locked up. One of those times, I used the bolt cutters to cut the lock. We might have simply taken a rain check the other time. Of course my fantasy is that she would insist I pleasure her orally while locked up. Or manually. But that has never happened. And that is probably the single biggest disappointment about being in chastity. She never wanted any satisfaction from me, in the meantime. Rather than being an indispensible partner, I was more or less expendible, sexually speaking.

And so it is, that living with someone who has no desire for an orgasm or sexual pleasure has been so frustrating. Which is why I seriously considered finding another keyholder who might have at least some understanding or some interest in orgasm control even if they were getting off on the power exchange.

I still play on occasion, using the Timelock. I haven’t since having to redo the computer, since one key is locked in a lock box and that combination was lost with the hard drive. I just recently downloaded the Timelock program again. I do have the key that I froze in a block of ice. If I get it out, I’ll have to get another lock box for it in order to take advantage of the Timelock. I had given Arwyn a box that she hasn’t used in a year or so. I wonder if she’d let me use that.

In anycase, that is a short history of the cage. This entry can be used as a reference for any future posts I might make on the subject.

D.


Blog Reviews: Square1, Dewdrop & C-Marie

June 27, 2005

If there is no other material, a review is always easy, quick and makes folks feel pretty good. At least as long as the review is good. If it’s on my roll, it’s good. Otherwise it gets moved off fairly quickly.

Square1 and I have been reading each other for quite some time and we seem to travel in similar circles. This shouldn’t be too surprising since I used her blogroll when I was blogless and used those links to get mine going again. Hers is probably one of the best relationship blogs around, in that you do get a bit of everything. There is conflict, sentimentality, thoughtfulness and plenty of sex appreal to go around. All of it tastefully done. Square1 is a passionate writer, and this shows through in many of her postings. She is also an intelligent writer. When she is not thinking about the deeper things, she poses questions that force the reader to think. It’s all real and all genuine, which is why she attracts visitors by the busload. Another reason why she draws people in, is because she is exceedingly generous with her comments on other people’s blogs. Always generous, always kind and always thoughtful. She contributes to and compliments my theme not only as a co-traveler on the path to a better relationship but also as somewhat of a model. She puts her whole heart into forging a better relationship with her husband which is an inspiration to anyone going through a similar struggle. She’s a prolific writer, posting several times a week and several times a day on occasion.

If Square1 is a sort of companion blog, Dewdrop is the mirrored alternative universe. Her blog is the perfect compliment, because she is also struggling with parts of her relationship but from the exact opposite point of view. Whereas I would have my wife desire me more sexually and increase her libido, Dewdrop would want her husband to lower his libido and be pawing at her a lot less. Whereas I hoot and holler about how evil the LL spouses are, Dewdrop champions the LL cause and point of view. Her task is more difficult as she is one of the few LL blogs that I’ve ever encountered. she is always looking for new recruits, as it were. It would also be sort of cool to find and successfully capture a LL guy’s blog. I just want to find one who blogs about not wanting sex with the passion that Dewdrop does. I admire her pluck and courage in writing about this topic with such openness and honesty. I say nice things about her, because she is just that good, but also because I don’t want to frighten her away! Her type is definitely on the endangered list. Dewdrop journals about all sorts of other things besides her clashing libido relationship. In fact, that topic makes up less than 50% of her content. She’ll blog about her job, children, her daily activities, the weather and assorted other daily struggles as well as other observations. She writes in such a way that even fairly mundane things are sometimes made entertaining by her creative use of the english language and various epithets unique to those living in the U.K. She posts daily. If she missed a couple of days, I think I would start getting worried about her.

C-Marie is one of my newer reads. I always like catching a blog at the beginning stages as it is easier following a story from the beginning. Her story is a good one, in that she is living with a guy (JM) who really doesn’t seem terribly anxious to jump her bones despite the Marie’s efforts at enticing him away from the television. There seems to be an epidemic among a certain type of guy who will choose the television over having sex with the naked woman in front of him. I do not pretend to understand this guy, but I certainly do relate to C-Marie’s pain and lonliness and uncertainty. The guy has sent along his share of painful messeges. While having an apparent disinterest in her, he seems to have a keen interest in porn at times, and gratifying himself. This guy is *such* a candidate for being locked up, like no other I’ve seen! C-Marie posts 2-3 times per week. Sometimes less, and sometimes more, depending on what is happening in her story. When things get heavy, they seem to get VERY heavy as in an overabundance of drama. It might be her skill as a writer or it might just be that she has had to endure some pretty serious emotional jolts from this guy or both. In anycase, a body can not help but be drawn in. A few weeks might go by with very little going on, when all the sudden something happens that sends a reader’s heart into his/her throat, the sweat upon their brow and eyes dialating with panic and alarm. Hold on to your butts, this one is a wild ride!

D.


Raw

June 26, 2005

06/26/2005

Sunday

I’ve been Reading John Gottman’s Why Marriages Succeed or Fail. This not his latest book by any means but does cover some of the same territory of his earlier and later books. You can get an an overview of some of his research from his website and can see what I’ve written on my companion blog.

Gottman’s books are marked by a certain interactivity that involves gobs of self-tests designed to measure the health of the marriage. This is similar to what Dr. Phil does in his books and workbooks. After taking one of these quick tests answering “yes” or “no”, he says if you answered “yes” to so-many questions (usually about one-third of them) the marriage is in danger of being under whatever particular influence he is measuring in that test. I’m scoring about 80-90% on most of them, and a high score is not a good thing on these tests.

What I’m discovering is that Arwyn and I have evolved such a pattern of contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling in our relationship that it’s become difficult for either of us to say anything to the other without causing and feeling hurt. We are simply raw with defensiveness. Everything is percieved as a potential attack. We’ve assaulted each other so many times that even a good well-meaning gesture can be interpreted as either a fluke or a trojan horse designed to set up an ambush.

I am more than partly to blame for this. I have become a master passive-aggressive warmonger. An honor graduate of the William T. Sherman school of relationships. A good defense was a better offense. Never let your guard down. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. If the enemy strikes, strike back with overwhelming force. Break the enemy’s will to fight with swift retaliation multiplied by a factor of 10. Make war in such a way that the enemy will never want to go through it again. Make Georgia Howl. Fight to win. Blood makes the grass grow. Show no mercy. Mercy is for the weak. Wax on, wax off.

All this sounded okay at the time. It sounded like a reasonable strategy for conquest and domination. But a marriage isn’t like that, is it?

NOW you tell me!

Maybe I wasn’t quite as bad as that, but maybe I was. I do know for the first couple of years of our marriage I was not emotionally available at all. I wasn’t very interested in improving things or even in maintaining things.

Arwyn probably shut down as a defense to my assaults. Or a defense to my emotional absence. Either way, she had to deal with some pain and lonliness in some way. It was a choice between the lesser of two evils: confront me and fight or withdraw and defend. She chose the latter most of the time. There were times when I could draw her out, but I was entirely too good at fighting for her to make this a regular thing. So we both settled into a hostile/detached pattern that slowly ate away at our marriage.

Under the circumstances, I’m probably lucky to have gotten any sex at all! Thing is, is that I could turn into an even more vicious of a bastard if I was ignored long enough. Hence the pattern of duty sex. But of course, this has never been entirely satisfactory.

By the time I woke up to the fact that we were in trouble, we were already careening off in a cascade of negativity. We were hostile, detached and are still somewhat in a state of living parallel lives. Arwyn has said more than once that she has all but given up. If it weren’t for the kids, she would be GONE. I’ve had thoughts along the same lines, myself.

This is what our marriage looks like now, at this moment:

We are two people who care about each other on some level. But we also dislike each other in the same dimension. We know this is not in the best interest of the kids. We struggle with each interaction seeming like a minefield. Betrayal has run deep on both sides and threatens to rip the family apart at any moment. We have actually conditioned each other to expect pain and hurt. We are always on guard against it. It is like being in a combat zone or a wild jungle where there is a threat around every tree. Defense has become reflexive to the point where we shoot first and ask questions later. Arwyn has learned the art of combat exceedingly well under my guidance and harsh training.

Communication has become a dangerous thing. There is danger everywhere. There is lonliness.

I wrote about some of the positive things Arwen has been doing. Some of these are indeed small, positive steps. Some of them are simply part of the withdrawal strategy.

D

.


Improving Communication?

June 26, 2005

06/23/2005

Thursday

There’s been a fair amount of discussion amongst those the write relationship blogs about sharing these diaries with their mates. At the outset, this might seem like a good idea. One could improve communication by writing down thoughts and feeling throughout a day, when time is short and life gets too busy for face-to-face communication.

The best attempt at this I’ve seen, is Jay Loves Kitti. For the past year or so, readers have been treated to the rare opportunity to read both points of view. However, the results have not been pretty. Both partners write and express themselves exceedingly well, but the things they’ve posted to and about each other sometimes make me wince. They reveal some pretty raw emotions that can not help but provoke an emotional reaction from readers. Which is why a lot of us enjoy reading them so much.

But it’s different being a detached observer and being right in the middle of a story as a main character. I relate strong enough to Jay that I know when something Kitti writes is going to hurt. So much of what she writes is painful for me to read because if Arwyn were the writing type, these would be things she would be saying. Kitti writes about her lack of passion for Jay. She tells about how she’s not sure about their future. She writes about her annoyances with him that are near constants. She writes about being smothered and wanting more freedom and space even to the point of exploring relationships outside of the marriage.

Jay, for his part, has tried to put the best possible face on all of this. He absolutely does have passion for his wife. And I suspect that it is through her writing that he has learned more about her than she would be willing to reveal face-to-face. He wants to know her and be known (and loved) by her.

The rawness of her revelations have put a strain on the two of them. So the question is: would he have been better off not knowing? Maybe some things are better kept hidden. I can not answer for Jay, but for me it seems that the closer I try to get, the more pain I’m subjected to. Maybe this is what is behind Kitti and Arwyn’s retreat from emotional intimacy. Maybe they were quicker to discover this, and have long since abandoned the field of battle, leaving Jay and I to fend for own emotional lives.

I may never know what is truly behind Arwyn’s fear of intimacy. Much probably came out of having an alcoholic father and having her parents divorce as a teenager. She didn’t choose me out of passion but out of practical pragmatics. She was 34 when we married and obviously wanted children so the biological clock was banging and clanging away. I was apparently a safe and stable choice. A fine Christian, a hard worker with the potential to provide for a family.

I think the first step for me is to forgive her for being who she is. She can be no other. She is, for all practical purposes, the best teacher of life lessons for me even though most of these lessons are exceedingly painful. God picked her out for a reason. He called the universe into being, created the Earth and populated it in just a certain way that would bring forth the circumstances and choices she and I face today. Scary thought on some level, but comforting on another.