Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Treacherous River in Kern: Love and a Broken Marriage

Day 39: Making Progress without dynamite 

Loving a man is like swimming a river; you feel their waves, their currents, weather the storms-- together.

Recently I came upon a dam in my river.  Like most academics, my solution to this dam was to become an engineer and find a way to move the boulders.  I have spent my days plotting and fantasizing about how much dynamite is needed to explode the wall blocking the flow of the water.  But no matter how smart, strong, or powerful I become—or how much sh*t I set on fire-- my efforts are in vain.  The dam will only be moved one pebble at a time.

I have a lot of people in my life who love me and ask about the dam.  I hate reporting every day that it is still there.  The real answer is that a small pile of pebbles has accrued over the last few months.  The flow of water is still blocked but each pebble I am reminded that the direction of the water could one day change.

Each pebble represents a small change that is moving the new.  Here is a list of some of his pebbles:


Building a LoTR deck to compliment my stubbornness of only playing with base dwarf set.
Sleeving my LoTR deck.
Quit drinking soda.
Threw out every super hero shirt he has ever owned.
Started carpooling with me to work every day.
Matching socks.
Made doctors appointments (without nagging).
Started drinking hot tea (my favorite drink).
Opening my car door even when we are rushing in the morning to leave for work
Going to mass every week.
Threw out his computer.
Eating salad for lunch.
Gave up access to podcasts.
Letting me pick our games.
Contributing to our blog.
Threw out chanklas.
Comes to bed at the same time as me every night..
Sends me random selfies just because.
Packing kids lunches. 
Loaded dropbox program carousel on our phones so we could share family photos more easily.
Gets mad and tell me, instead of holding back.
Takes the scenic route, even though it takes longer.
Deleted Facebook account.
Told the truth before I caught him in the lie about games belonging to me.
Makes his student call me “Dr.” and not “the wife”
Cancelled an out of town trip because it was too much for kids.
Has not left the house while I am sleeping. 
Researching date food (Yay Korean Fusion & House of Tehran ftw)
RCIA meetings.
Loaded turn-based games on our phones so we can play, when we can’t be together.
Cleans his classroom so it will be tidy when I visit.
Learned “Our Father” prayer and says it out loud.
Playing turn-based iPad games when I know he wishes it was WarMachine.
Texts me first.
Wears old man dress shoes because he knows I love them.
Stopped at after-school program and just helped random kids with math.
Writes in our couples journal every night.
Talks to me about music.
Loads the dishwasher when cranky.
Looks at games for us, instead of games for himself.

Advice: See the pebbles.  When you are in pain it easy to only see the boulders, but my advice today is see the pebbles and hold on to hope.


  1. The loss of wearing chonklas (aka sandles) was way harder than not wearing super hero shirts.

  2. That last pebble is can be quite large. I will only buy a game if it has some kind of Co op. I almost never play any game without my wife, and when I do it is usually with my kids.

    There was a period of several months last year where we both ended up busy with life. Kids in sports, busy at work, Melissa's ebay store, and many other factors contributed. I played a little bit by myself while she would be doing something for ebay, or LFR. She would find something to do (reading gymboree/etc forums or just ebay stuff) when I was busy with extra work stuff or with the kids at sports. We started to do a little more solo because our schedules were not in sync anymore.

    Melissa used to bug me when I played a game solo when she was done with something, but she started to do it less, and just let me play. I also would bug here about what she was doing so we could start up a game together, but began to just wait for here bug me. Eventually neither of us really waited on the other much, which led us to do many things apart, when before we were inseparable. Being the lower EQ person in the relationship it did not register with me quite as fast.

    Melissa finally let me have it. I was ignoring her. I was was avoiding spending time with her. I was no longer as interested in her as I once was. I was on a clear path to real problems. According to her.

    I let her have it back. She never bothers the tell me when she is done when I am waiting on her. Why should I have to always have to be the one to get something started? Why am I not allowed to play a solo game while she is busy when she sits and reads forums while I am busy?

    We both had slowly let eachother be alone while getting annoyed that it was happening. Sometimes all you need is a good fight with your spouse to realize that you are both being idiots. Both of us MUCH prefer to game together, and after that night we are much better about bugging eachother. While it might be annoying to others, I always want my wife to tell me to quit my solo game to start something with her, and I will also ask here more often when she will be ready to go.

    Some say the family that prays together stays together, but I think it is equally important that the family that plays together stays together.

  3. I am so happy by this post/ comment that you shared. This is almost our story except bad stuff happened because we never had that big ole' fight. I agree the family that plays together indeed!

  4. You've listed here things that hubs has changed: where is your list? One of the first comments Rick said to me when I was going through my divorce was that I was responsible for the demise of my relationship too. By acquiescing to what he wanted, by not having a voice, by not sharing my emotions, I let it continue to follow that tried and true thought process "he cheated, it's all his fault, I did nothing wrong". But I had cheated us and our relationship by not speaking. Dr. Phil writes that before you start hurling stones, you need to look at yourself and your slate should be pretty clean before you start in. In your next blog you write about being a kick ass wife snd professional and him living in your shadow. Take time to consider what that feels like and that you had the freedom to get your Masters and doctorate, be more involved in yoga and CFA, and feel confident that the kids were well taken care of. I certainly didn't like looking in the mirror but learned so much from doing so. Did it save my marriage, not at all because in the reflection I could finally see that it was years before that it had started going downhill. Love you both. Keep working on it, keep knowing that it's wotth it.Life's lessons are difficult.