Trenches

Disclaimer: this was a hastily written post. Some of my readers have noted my unfair and unbalanced treatment of my wife. You’re right. These events happened, but I have omitted many of the nice positive things my wife did, sorry, I was just trying to vent a bit! Not that that excuses some of my wife’s poor behavior (but I had a share of poor behavior too). Just understand that bias as you read.

The canteen rattled as another shell impacted above. My renter, Ken, looked up and then back at his cards, I sighed with despair as he played a card on the makeshift table. We were huddled, head down in our foxhole, Christmas no-man’s land just above. When all the needed cleaning and cooking and serving had been completed, and I’d put the baby down for his nap, I decided enough was enough, I wasn’t going to keep spinning my wheels, I needed a break. I told my wife I was going downstairs to rest until the baby woke from his nap. She was pretty pissed. There was nothing to do at that moment even, just to sit and chat with relatives I’d been chatting with for the past two days without pause. She texted me a few times to tell me what a bastard I was and to not bother ever coming back. I know she is just extremely stressed. She’d broken down yesterday during the final preparations for dinner. She barricaded herself in the bedroom with a bottle of wine and said she wasn’t going to come out until her father apologized. At least it wasn’t me she was pissed at that time. So, I worked to make peace between her and her father while prepping the Christmas meal. I need to find that girl a good therapist once the war’s over.

Ken was a good kid. Christian, part of the youth group. Despite being three years her senior, he and my ex-lover, Sierra, were from the same graduating class at the university. I envied him in many ways, just starting his life, looking for a career, could sleep in and enjoy diversions to his heart’s content. I don’t think I was cut out to be a family man, but how do you know that until you are knee deep in it? Ken had already started to put down some roots, he had a local girlfriend who was thin and pretty and shared all his interests. My wife had ordered me to talk to Ken about his girlfriend washing her lacy panties in our machines when she was over. Of course, my wife’s first thought was they belonged to one of my girlfriends but realized how silly that was upon re-examination, particularly because it was a load of my renter’s clothes (gosh she is suspicious, but she had been ever since she had put the choke-hold on the sex department years ago). My wife’s primary concern was that it was unseemly for a nice Christian boy to see his girlfriend’s panties. I told her that it wasn’t 1950 anymore and I had seen her panties before we were married. I kept warning Ken about relationships, to make sure to wait to get married, even though his girlfriend seemed perfect, she was still his first. Being a youth group leader, I knew I shouldn’t encourage it, but I hoped they were having sex at least. I really didn’t agree with the idea of abstinence before marriage anymore, it had led to such a disaster in my own life and in so many others that I’d witnessed. If I hadn’t been so horny, I probably wouldn’t have made such a monumentally bad decision as to marry the girl I had been trying to muster up the courage to break up with. I can’t believe I was such a coward back then. But, that was one experience that taught me that cowardice wouldn’t save you, you’d only be running into a prison that is that much harder to escape.

After taking my beating at cards at the hands of Ken, I did feel refreshed and ready, “once more unto the breach.” When I returned, everyone was looking glum, and I thought my head was going to melt from my shoulders with the glare my wife was giving me. But, I asked her what the matter was and what I’d done wrong and she couldn’t give me any conclusive answer. Finally, I suggested we break out the egg nog and do some more presents, and she finally brightened up and her temper subsided.

Back to the old grind today. Hopefully, I can reboot my brain and get things functioning again over the next few days. This break between Christmas and New Year’s will be a welcome time for reflection and decisions.

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13 thoughts on “Trenches

  1. I would really like to be a fly on the wall of your house just to witness you and your wife’s ‘moments’ together. I am a believer of every story has 3 sides: his, hers, and the truth. She can’t be as bad as you describe or you would leave her, or at the very least, not love her. Is she truly that hateful?

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    1. This is an extreme situation. I’ve gotten in some hot water with my readers for not being more balanced from time to time. But sometimes, I don’t have hours to write down a fair and balanced narrative. I totally agree, there is always his, hers, and the truth sides. We all have our implicit bias and perspective that distorts the situation. My wife does not deal with stress well at all, it brings out the worst in her and she hardly recognizes it. To be fair, I didn’t mention over the last two posts that she worked really hard to make Christmas nice for our families, which is a rather thankless job. It was very upsetting that people were generally unappreciative and disrespectful. There were a few moments where we came together as a team to overcome some difficult situations. By and large, I’m just blowing off a little steam with my post. I do feel bad I’ve highlighted my wife’s bad traits without balancing them with her good ones, but I’m just too tired right now to really focus and write more. Maybe I’ll need to go back and correct the record at some point. Let’s put it this way: I’m not sore or mad at her at all, and I wouldn’t want anyone else to be. She may have mistreated me a bit over the last few days, but I understand her stress, and I’m definitely not an angel either (I did have a couple of ba humbug moments and told her I was pretty sick of how her family was acting). I don’t generally take people too seriously when they talk about their spouse because I know that the closer a relationship is, the more distorted one’s view often is. I hope people don’t take me too seriously either! Sure, take their emotions and experiences seriously, but understand that there is always another side of the story.

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      1. I believe that it can be this bad because I grew up with this kind of mom. Always stressed, always laying into my father and when we had company it was like WW3. To this day her and I struggle in our relationship and after 40 years of marriage they are separating. I just wished they had years ago as most of my first memories are of their fights. Perhaps this is that third sided perspective. xo

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      2. I am all for telling your side of the story (hell, that’s what most blogs are about!)… I have just been getting a sense that your wife is an absolute nightmare to be around. Having been given the context of holiday ‘merriment,’ I have a better understanding of why she was on edge in your post. Thanks for explaining.

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  2. What a great post! In the trenches during the holidays. You gave it a rather dramatic tone but that could also be just the setting for a great Christmas holiday movie. Stressed wife, husband needs a break, her family not giving a rats and generally driving her insane. Ha! Well I’m glad you survived.

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  3. I cannot understand how a leader of any community cannot distill good advice such as know your partner before marrying them and know them sexually. Your words are so contradictory in this post. You have real life experience you could be sharing with this young man, and yet you cannot…. for… reasons?? I am so confused.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your username checks out to be sure. I do have some appreciation for Catholicism in that it is more of an institution and a culture and allows more leeway for individual belief. Protestant/reform/restoration Christian groups often require conformation in individual belief. The wrong belief is grounds for damnation in many of these groups, including the one I’m a part of (they don’t say it like that). If you have the wrong belief, then at best you’ll need forgiveness from God and counseling to accept the right belief. If you teach it to others, you’re likely to be ostracized (ex communicated, withdrawn from).

      Don’t get me wrong, I believe these groups including my own are very sincere in their beliefs. I don’t think it is a desire to control and destroy people. This is an offshoot of a belief that the Bible is infallible and can be objectively understood. Major theological disagreements are allowable, but should be discussed until a common understanding is reached. Some minor theological disagreements can be ignored, but by and large unity of belief is paramount, in fact it is the group’s very identity. But, this means that I could be branded a heretic just for suggesting that sex before marriage should be ok. Our group definitely believes that ‘fornication’ is defined as sex with someone you aren’t married to and the violation of this is a sin in every case. If Ken holds that view, I’d doubt he’d go to some authority to report me, but he probably would think less of me for suggesting it and try to change my view. But, perhaps you’re right, I should offer my advice in this case since I do care about the guy and I don’t want him to repeat my mistake. This cheating thing has only been going on for a few months and it has drastically changed my views which makes me wonder which path to take religiously. I know my wife is very devout, so a betrayal of our once common religious beliefs would be almost as bad as me admitting to cheating on her. Besides, I have too many friends and family in this religious community that I don’t want to lose. I have a decision to make in this regard, and it isn’t an easy one from my perspective. And to be honest, while the group holds to many beliefs I personally disagree with, it also has some positives, many of the people are kindest, warmest, most friendly, and family like individuals I’ve ever met. They bend over backwards to help their brethren and people in the community, they are always there ready to work. They really do care about one another. It is really the strict interpretation of the Bible and the strong concern for others’ spiritual well-being that makes it difficult to step out of line (and if they are really right, I guess that would be a good thing, but I’m not convinced anymore).

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  4. I know a woman who realized she did not love her SO enough to marry him. When she tried to break it off he fell apart. Lss, they got married. In four years she was gone. Got married again and had a couple of kids. She told me she could not manufacture love even though he was/is a nice man. So, my question is…..do you love your wife? Have you ever loved her? Do you like trolling hookup sites because it is who you are, or because you and your wife don’t connect.
    I am one of those that believes we should experiment, hold off marriage until the man is at least 30, marry only when both want it and there is no cultural or religious push to do so. The most destructive thing young men and women are subtly subjected to is what I call the Cinderella Effect. Glass slippers, a heroic man, a needy woman are dangerous role models and we are either given that choice or public figures who “oops” make sex tapes that mysteriously show up on the net. Reality is you can live with anyone as long as one of you isn’t half nuts. Everyone gets on other people’s nerves. We’re humans. You need to get yourself some IC to see what is going on with you. Be real. Sierra was a hologram. You know you would never be able to live with her long term. I wonder if she and some friends got together to pretend to extort money from you. That appears to be her maturity level. The sex is fogging your brain. That is how the Trojan War started.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great comment, thanks. I do love my wife as far as I define love (not sure how you define it honestly, it is kind of a loaded word). I had romantic affection for her when we were dating and during our early marriage, and I lusted after her, and I have genuine care and concern for her well being. I definitely feel we have a different definition of trolling, lol. Trolling is intentionally obnoxious, malignant, toxic behavior that destroys and detracts from the intentions and purpose of a website or online community. I am not going on hookup sites to offend people or fuck with them, I’m genuinely looking for someone to hookup with (that is the purpose of the site after all!). Why am I looking for someone? In very short, to fill in for what I perceive my marriage lacks, namely sex and emotional intimacy (excitement is a nice perk too). I do believe my wife and I had genuine love (as defined above). But, it has largely fallen apart. We never should have married, we were too fundamentally different in many ways with different priorities and interests. I totally agree with your ideas to experiment and I also agree that you can live with most anyone but still get on their nerves (just how it works, you are right, we are human). The question still remains how to proceed with my wife, and my mind’s jury is still out on the subject.

      What is this IC? Guessing some form of counseling, perhaps you’re right. Sierra was an illusion, a hologram, I don’t deny it. But a useful one for self-discovery even if you don’t feel the price was worth it. Haha, I’m not going to start a war to try to get Sierra back. Don’t worry. She’s long gone and I’ve accepted it.

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  5. I use the term “trolling” like fishing with nets. You never know what you will catch.
    How old are your children? They need you but if you continue to cheat until you are caught or find someone permanent you are going to hurt them.
    So many men leave their wives when they hit middle age. If the wife is a sahm then she has no way to support herself or her children. The husband has moved on, resents alimony, and child support, and wrecks some lives. I hope you won’t be that selfish. If you know you are gone emotionally give your wife and kids the means to live decent lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh, trawling, now I understand. I’ve done commercial fishing before. Not quite the same thing as lying in wait under a bridge to shake-down passerby’s, but I digress 😛

      Sorry, I’ll just say the kid is young, no more specific than that. I wouldn’t classify myself as gone emotionally. I want to be an emotional support for my wife, and I’d like her to be the same for me. Unfortunately, the emotional involvement in this relationship is one sided. She feels I’m trying to offload my problems onto her if I communicate on an emotional level with her, but she daily expresses all of her emotions to me (which would be fine if I could have some reciprocation from her). Perhaps it will improve in time. No, if I ever thought I would become that bitter by remaining in the marriage as to refuse support, I would divorce her. I’m not going to stop supporting my wife and children in every way possible.

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  6. Your new wife will be just fine with you,paying child support until you can’t afford a vacation she wants. Then, all of a sudden your ex becomes a grasping horror who spends your hard earned money on a new sofa. Never mind that it is 20 years old. She is just selfish and in the way of your happiness. People who think they are kindness personified become mean as hell over new sex and money. I work in an area where people who thought their love would last a lifetime become unrecognizable. You know those kids who act out at school? The ones who shoplift and drink vodka at 13. Every time I ask the parent, “When was the divorce?” they always wonder how I knew.

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