For twelve years I’ve been married, half my life. I couldn’t have known what I was doing when I first agreed to the idea. I thought he was my only chance. It hadn’t occurred to me at the time that other men might come along and sweep me off my feet. They haven’t. I’ve been true to my husband through the worst of it all.
The first few years I was his willing slave. Like a young child willing to do the most ridiculous tasks to please her heartless older siblings. My husband said jump, and so I’d jump and high as I could, over and over again. I became so tired, so lonely.
I was a marvellous wife, doing my best at everything. I served him well but I wasn’t sure that I was loved. I let painful thoughts enter my mind. If I died would anybody care? Was I valuable at all? I was told I must trust my husband. After all, he loved me. It was his job. So, I told myself that, and when I was feeling alone, I would talk to him, though I was never sure he was listening. I knew he must be, but his body language never communicated that. When he didn’t reply to me I’d read something that he had written to me long ago. I started writing notes to my husband. In them I’d let him know how I was feeling. I’d talk about my friendships and ask for advice. Maybe he thought I’d learn better if he didn’t tell me what to do. He let me discover things that he already knew.
For the first six years of our marriage I spent time with him every day. I convinced myself that he was interested in what I was saying to him and even more committed to me than I was to him. I wasn’t sure how that was possible because I vowed, in my young age to never leave him. No matter what. So committed was I that I dedicated the whole of our seventh year of marriage to getting to know him better. I wanted to know the things that made him happy. I wanted to know how I could serve him. I wanted to know the things he liked, but ultimately I didn’t want to just know information about him, I wanted to know him personally.
I cannot lie. That year was filled with many things. I spent much effort trying to please him, but also trying to please a friend of mine. Though it was a friendship with a boy, I don’t believe it hindered my relationship with my husband. He was well aware of the friendship, and often invited hang out with us. Ultimately the friendship wasn’t healthy. I wanted the boy to be more like who I thought my husband was. I had ideals and he did not live up. Eventually I asked the boy to leave my life. I didn’t need that friendship, I reckoned, because I had my husband as a friend. I clung to my relationship with my husband, hoping that it would fulfill me, but it didn’t. I pursued him. I wanted to get to know him better, but I got only more knowledge and nothing intimate. I thought he was supposed to be pursuing me.
I moved to a new city with the hope that there I’d be able to serve him better. I had hoped that there I might be able to spend more time with him. I was willing to move where ever he wanted. Nothing changed. My husband had told me to jump, and so I spent day after day jumping, but eventually I got tired.
When a man is never around it is easy for a woman to start wondering if he really loves her. I remember one special moment we spent together in the past few years, but there should have been many more. Or am I too demanding?
Sometimes people talk about my husband. They’ll mention a nice thing he’s done for them. It makes me angry. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad he is doing things for other people. I once thought that was all that mattered. I didn’t care if he spent time with me if he was helping out others. But I want him. I want him to do something for me, just once. I want him to take the time to be intimate with me, even if it is only for a few minutes. I want him.
As his wife I feel expected to tell stories about him that make him look good. But I either have to make them up, or rely on stories that others have told me. Sometimes I don’t even believe their stories myself.
One thing I must mention. In the past 12 years I have never gone hungry. There has always been money in the bank and food on my table. When I thought my husband was hinting that I should get a job, I did and I hate it, but I know I have more money than I have earned. It is possible that my husband likes to do things for me without me knowing and so all these years I have credited him for the food in my belly. But now, I am just not sure that it was him. I know many kind and generous people who continue to care for me, and it easily could have been any of them.
I’m still lonely. I thought I’d never be lonely if I married. I thought my husband would be around all the time, making sure I was okay. I was counting on him. I thought it would be wrong to rely on anybody else. Now I am not sure that I ever should have relied on him. I’m trying to make some new friends. Not just people I think he’d want me to be friends with, but people I want to be friends with. Not just people whom I can serve, but people who might serve me. Maybe it's selfish, but I don’t want to be lonely anymore.
I thought once I was married that I would be able to curl up in my husband’s arms and rest, but my to do list keeps growing. Whenever I have a moment to breathe, he is never around. I try to enjoy the time by myself, after all, I am an introvert, but I keep looking to be fulfilled. Maybe it was foolish to trust that he would satisfy me, but he promised me an abundant life together, joy and peace.
I’m miserable. It’s not my fault. I keep trying, and I keep waiting, hoping that today will be the day he shows up and does his part. I fall asleep alone.
This year my dad died. I begged my husband to show up and comfort me, but mourned his death alone. I hardly mourned it. Within a week of his death I was back to work, trying to serve my husband.
I know I shouldn’t blame my husband for my dad’s cancer. It wasn’t his fault, it is not like he caused it or anything, yet a lot of my anger is directed towards him. I hoped that he would have done something, anything. He never showed up. I can understand if he is busy with work or something, but I’m his wife! Isn’t that a reason for him to come by and hold me?
I’ve been wondering if I’ve been lied to. Maybe he isn’t the kind of guy he claims to be. I don’t know why I’ve been fooled for so long. I should have figured it out long ago. I keep giving him the benefit of the doubt. I keep hoping that he will come by. I keep wishing that this year will be different, better. Our relationship stays the same. I’m not even sure it can be called a relationship, but a relationship with him is all I’ve ever hoped for.
I promised myself to him. I’d feel bad giving up now. He might have good reason to be so distant, or maybe he is not as distant as I make him out to be. I always try to justify his actions to myself and to others. When he doesn’t come to an event with me, I tell others that he must have known it was for the better. I’m tired of making up excuses for him. I’m tired of giving him the benefit of the doubt.
I’m still young. I don’t think I can remain in this marriage for the rest of my life. Would I be wrong to call it unfair, or even abusive? I’ve trusted in his love, but I’ve never seen it. I suppose there were a few times, but 4 times in 12 years is not enough and now even those times seem blurry. Maybe I just gave him the benefit of the doubt before because I wanted to believe. I wanted to believe that he planted the flowers for me, but maybe it was just the wind that blew the seeds into my garden. Wanting to believe isn’t enough for me anymore.
I wonder what my life would be like if I divorced him. I know, it is wrong to even entertain such thoughts, but I can’t help but think. Would I be able to form meaningful relationship after suffering in my marriage for so long? Would I be able to heal? Could I ever trust again? There are some things I’d like to do. Things I don’t do now because I know he wouldn’t approve.
I’m tired of playing his game. I’m tired of living by his rules. And when I consider that he might be holding my back from real joy, from true love and from lasting peace, I don’t want to believe anything he ever did was good. If he really is an evil husband, then it would be good, even right, for me to leave him. I start looking for things to incriminate him, but whenever I find one my mind fights back. It is as if I’ve spent the last 12 years of my life brainwashing myself to believe I have a lovely husband for it is impossible for me to hold other thoughts in my mind. I’ve been living by his rules for so long that I need someone to tell me what to do. I want someone to tell me to leave him.
But I won’t. I won’t leave him. I am trapped. I am his. It is all I have known. I cannot imagine my life without him. Even though he has so infrequently been present, everything I do is for him. I base my life on who he is. I am his slave forever. Somebody, please, come save me.