Nothing terribly big, but it’s sort of like when tectonic plates move, the consequences can be earth shaking at a future time.  Or maybe not.


Arwyn is on the move, spiritually speaking.  She is getting more and more involved with her new church.  I have mixed feelings about this.



On one hand, it is good that she has an interest and friends and wants to be involved in something.  And theologically speaking, I probably have more in common with this nondenominational evangelical church than I do with the Methodist church.  She is starting to go to a sort of generic women’s recovery group, akin to my own concept of “Sinners Anonymous.”  If indeed she is suffering from some sort of depression, trauma or other psychopathology, this may help tease it out. 


On the other hand, I still have fairly deep ties and roots in the Methodist church.  I also resent Arwyn’s prodding for me to get involved with her church.  I’ve just listed some good reasons to do it, but I need to do it in my own time in my own way.  She wanted me to attend the men’s recovery group last night and I was having none of it.  I’m not in a position at the present time to start a new group/cause/commitment/activity because work takes a lot out of me.  And being the introverted person I am today, that sort of thing is not energizing to me at all!


But I did make a deal with her.  I told her I would look at her recovery and if it looked to me like she was making progress, I’d consider joining the men’s version of the group.  I didn’t say exactly what sort of progress I expected, but just about anything will do at this point.


I have a heap of resentment that has built up.  A huge mountain whose peaks extend above the clouds.  Everest is a small dung heap compared to the altitude my resentment has reached.  It will take a team and several tanks of oxygen to make the summit of the anger that I have stored all of these years.  It’s just now occurred to me the enormity of that obstacle.  For even if Arwyn’s suggested course appears to be the right and proper way to go, I’m going to dig my heels in and refuse just out of spite and principle.  I refuse to be pushed and pressured and coerced into anything.


As I mulled over her request, I felt the anger rise and spike.


“Please, I want you to do this for me.”


For YOU!!??  What the hell right do you have asking ME to do anything for YOU??  I have struggled to the point of exhaustion to do for you in hopes it might be reciprocated.  And you make yet one more demand upon ME?  Who do you think you are?  Show me you can do something for yourself, bitch, that does not tax me or vex me!


Of course these were silent rants while I was doing the dishes and she was watching TV or something. 


Getting rid of this resentment will be no small task.  Plus I’m sure my refusal to do what she wanted me to do earned some additional ill will from her perspective.  So resentment increased all around. 


This illustrates why making any requests or demands at this point is risky.  I don’t see a way of doing it without incurring more resentment.  I’ve reached my own capacity and limit where I’m becoming less willing to entertain any of her stupid little whims.


But there is hope that as she moves within a new spiritual group that this will translate into something more positive.  I’m tired of trying to move on my own.  I might be better served by simply being open to moving in response to whatever she tries and attempt to make it something more positive.



12 Responses to Movement

  1. So Gone says:

    Ok, maybe I’m nutso here – but maybe that was her way of reaching out to you about your marriage, and maybe some improvement on it…?

  2. Val says:

    “I refuse to be pushed and pressured and coerced into anything”… Golly gee, Digger, you sound just like my ex-husband! (w/heavy emphasis on the EX)
    I know you’re frustrated but it sounds as though Arwyn was reaching out for SOME sort of connection.

  3. diggerjones says:

    Well, I’m not disagreeing with the two of you in that she might have been reaching out in her own way. But I’m telling you, FYI, that neither of you would take kindly to the same tactics being used on you and this goes for Arwyn as well. So Val, if you were pushing, coercing and pressuring, then you were NAGGING! If you’re a naturally choleric person, then you’ll clash with those who are not flexible enough to bend your way. Arwyn and I can share this trait at times, so don’t feel too bad.

    Fact is, neither of us has a lot of currency to spend when it comes to getting the other to “do it for me.” I generally do a lot better when I have a chance to think about things in advance rather than on-the-spot.


  4. So Gone says:

    I’m not saying I agree with her tactics (just like I don’t agree with your/her tactics of avoidance of the real issues here), but I think that the overall message from her is more important. I think she was saying less of “do it for me” and more of “do it for us”. You cannot possibly be the only person in the relationship who sees an issue with the relationship.

    I’m sure it would’ve been better if it was less of a nag, and more of a suggestion for future reference, but you already had hard feelings about her new church and a lot of built up resentment about the church issue, and many other issues. I’m sure at this point, she could’ve said almost anything and you still would’ve had that small conversation in your head when you realized just how fucked up things are for you, resentment-wise.

  5. Cat says:

    I read this and all I could think was holy mother of God he is finally showing some honest emotion. Pissed I understand, resentment too. I don’t think anything honest or real can be achieved if you kept that hidden. Does Arwyn really expect you to just jump at any attempt she makes? It just doesn’t seem realistic or fair. And I am sure the mature will have a field day with my comment but would it have killed her to offer this after a little SEX! I am suspect it would have gone a long way to ease some of your resentment if she had.

    But of course none of the above will help in the long run. Maybe telling her why you are hesitant may be the best course of action. At the very least she might work a little harder to meet you half way.

  6. 2amsomewhere says:

    Digger wrote:

    Show me you can do something for yourself, bitch, that does not tax me or vex me!

    I have had variations of this feeling in my life, too, but I’ve never seen it put into words with such lucidity. The closest thing I ever came to this was one Christmas, my wife asked me what I wanted, and I said that I wanted her to do something to simplify my life for once.

    Empathy aside, let me offer up a few thoughts to give you a different perspective.

    You own up to the resentment you have toward your wife, but you are not ready to let go of it, saying that it will take “a lot” to disperse it. I know that feeling. You feel like you’ve given in and given up so much to your spouse that you feel like you don’t have anything else left to give.

    A wise man, Dr. David Schnarch, notes in his book Passionate Marriage that we might exclaim, “I’m entitled to my feelings,” but usually those feelings aren’t the ones we want to keep around.

    Whatever Arwyn’s intentions might have been, it was not wise for her to think that an emotional connection is repaired by placing additional demands on a spouse. This the behavior of someone with a poor level of self differentiation, and your adverse reaction to it shows that you’re not much better off.

    Think of poor differentiation as being akin Siamese twins joined at the hip. If there is a strong disagreement in agenda, neither side is going to be happy when the other tries to move in the preferred direction. This is something that the standard marital therapy bromide, known as better communication will not fix.

    Recovering from this kind of situation is scary because you’ve got to do something that seems reckless. You need to stop making “save the marriage” the goal. It will require you to take a hard look at what you’re willing to compromise (how permeable you are) and where you’re not (how solid you are). Then you need to make a stand based on those boundaries.

    Right now, if I had to guess, your boundaries shift on a tactical basis, so no real progress takes place.


  7. Desmond Jones says:

    I’m with So Gone and Val – Arwyn was reaching out to you. Trying to make some kind of connection, maybe, or trying to show some small initiative in the direction of moving your marriage in a more positive direction.

    And you blew her off.

    Which makes me wonder just what your commitment is here. For all you’ve said over the years about how you wish your marriage would move in some kind of more positive direction, and for all that you’ve said about how Arwyn seems uninterested, or hostile, or whatever – here she makes a move in your direction and you decide to sit on top of Mt. Digger’s Resentment.

    Enjoy the view from there, my friend.

    If you were really interested in having a better marriage, you’d be grasping at this tiny initiative of hers, willing to try anything if there’s some small chance it would help things get better. But, it starts to look to me like your titanic resentment is more important to you, and dearer to your heart, than your marriage. MHO – bad deal, that one.

    Think it through, Digger, and forget about nursing your resentment, or playing little P/A power games. Shit, that’s what got you here in the first place. Keep doing what you’ve always done, and you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten. Maybe ‘what you’ve always gotten’ is really what you want; but if that’s the case, then you’ve been blowing a lot of smoke around blog-space for a lot of years.

  8. Emily says:

    Dear Digger

    Actually, I think this is a hopeful sign that Arwyn cares about you and your relationship.

    Of course you are bitterly resentful and angry. In a way, you have a right to be. You are currently overloaded, unappreciatied, lonely and frustrated and so of course any additional demand seems really enraging. I often feel the same.

    But if you don’t mind my saying, this situation with you and Arwyn needs something to move. And something, ANYTHING, that leads Arwyn to ponder her own emotional life is GOOD. It may lead her to look at her marriage. It may lead her to consider her own responses to you. It may lead to some productive discussion between you instead of eternal avoidance of the issues.

    One of the reasons, I suspect, that Arwyn is so damn insensitive to your feelings (including your sexual feelings) is that she is not very in touch with her own.

    It’s unfortunate that you may have seemed to blow her off on this. In Arwyn’s position, I would probably have perceived your comment about watching my recovery as potentially another opportunity to judge me and my adequacy as a person and as a wife and enjoy your feelings of superiority over me. It would make me feel angry and defensive and even less inclined to meet you half way. But I doubt its irreparable.

    Here is my honest advice. Tell her you support her in going to this group. And do what is needed – minding the kids for instance.

    Then tell her you have considered further and are OPEN to the idea of going to the group, even if you have reservations. You will TRY it. And go once. Give it a shot. What’s the big deal here, really? A couple of hours that mgiht be a complete waste of time but will at least show Arwyn that you are capable of making a reciprocal gesture? And who knows, you might find the group helpful.

    What this situation really needs is a gesture from Arwyn of concern for the relationship. She’s given it to you. However, imperfectly, annoyingly and selfishly, she has just made an important gesture. If you don’t make one back, then you are a fool who is deciding to cling onto resentment instead of connecting with his wife.

    Just give this thing a chance, Digger, that’s all I’m saying. Don’t be so uncompromising. If you really do love your wife and want to give the marriage a chance, just grit your teeth and try. You’re not just doing it for her, you’re doing it for yourself and to serve your own purposes and wishes (ie a happier relationship with Arwyn).

    You said “I’m tired of trying to move on my own. I might be better served by simply being open to moving in response to whatever she tries and attempt to make it something more positive.” I couldn’t agree more. Do it.

  9. Mu Ling says:

    Gosh, people are being rather hard on you. Given that your wife requires that you sleep with your head by her feet, and that most of the time she seems to treat you like an annoying intruder in your own home, I don’t know, seems like a little resentment would only be human. And as I don’t share the religious frame of reference that you and most of your readers employ to make sense of your world, I can’t help but wonder, “Recovery from what, exactly?”

    But okay. If you can find it in your heart to try, just try, to respond to this suggestion, I too believe that you would be doing the right thing. The patient thing. The loving thing. You seem like such a good man, and I believe that doing the right thing is what you want to do.

  10. Satan says:

    I think Arwyn just wants you to go to her church. I didn’t see a big “let’s get back to the way we once were” gesture there. It might just be easier for the family to all be at the same church, and if she has such a vested interest in this one and you don’t really mind . . etc. etc.
    I understand that you’re an avoider, and it does help you steer clear of surface conflicts. But now it seems that so much of your relationship is taking place between your ears, not between each other.
    You have honest, emotional arguments with her . . in your head, while your doing the dishes and she’s in another room. It’s like you’ve managed to avoid yourself right out of your marriage.

  11. Satan says:

    PS – Happy Valentine’s Day.


  12. aag says:

    I totally understand the resentment thing. I had that. I still have it, to a certain degree. It’s like, how can they possibly expect ONE MORE thing from us when they’ve done little or nothing to make things right. Add to that the complete lack of hope that THIS TIME will be the time the changes actually stick…it’s no wonder there’s a ton of resentment.

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