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Silent Treatment – Month 1. We go our own way, retire to our shared bedroom at the end of each day, turn out the light and lay side by side, all without saying barely a word to each other.

I’m sad, emotionally exhausted and lonely. My husband is angry, detached, and full of self-righteous indignation.

Each for our own reasons, we have both stopped trying. While I wish my marriage was healthy, and my family thriving, I have only enough energy to wish, and nothing more.

The energy I do have is spent on parenting the children, taking care of the household needs, and working.

My husband has become absent both physically and emotionally. His energy is now being consumed by his hobby of cycling. He rides after work and on the weekends. He rides mountain bikes and road bikes. He rides in the mornings, afternoons and evenings. His rides up to 8 hours at a time. He unashamedly admits he would much rather be bike riding than to be at home.

He abandons us all and we are expected to accept it as “ok”.

I recently spent days in the hospital and several more at home recuperating after surgery. That time was spent ALONE. My husband chose to be occupied elsewhere. While I harbor resentment towards his lack of empathy and care taking of me, when that same attitude is directed towards my children, I can not tolerate it.

My oldest son had gone out of town and needed to be picked up from the airport. Here is the conversation that took place between my husband and I regarding the logistics.

Me: “M is wondering if you can pick him up from the airport. His flight gets in at 3:40pm.”

Husband: “I am going on a bike ride, but can get him afterwards. Have him text me. I could be there at 5:30pm.”

Me: “I will give him your message, although just between us, I’m sure if it was one of your friends asking, you would not have them waiting for you at the airport for 2 hours while you go on a bike ride.”

Husband: “I am trying to do what I can to remain healthy and will do my best to pick him up by 5:30pm.”

Me: “I understand. It’s just difficult when I am reminded how you often go out of your way to show generosity and kindness to others, but not necessarily to us, your family . . .”

Husband: no response

A recurring theme in our home – everyone else gets his best, and we get nothing.

I write because I have to. I have to put our reality in written words so I remember. Otherwise, the truth becomes distorted in my mind. After listening to my husband’s accusations of my insanity and over sensitivity, I begin to believe him.

Proverbs 18:13 The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear it if the spirit is crushed?

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I’ve been taught there are two ways through life – the way of nature and the way of grace.
You have to choose which one you’ll follow.
Grace doesn’t try to please itself.
Accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked.
Accepts insults and injuries.
Nature only wants to please itself.
Get others to please it too.
Likes to lord it over them.
To have its own way.
It finds reasons to be unhappy when all the world is shining around it.
Even when love is smiling through all things.
I’ve been taught that no one who loves the way of Grace ever comes to a bad end.
I will be true to You.
Whatever comes.
(taken from the movie, Tree of Life)

My husband has stopped speaking to me. He is angry. Feels disrespected that I would question him. Believes he is completely justified in ignoring me and giving me the “cold shoulder”. But who should really be indignant, here? . . . Me or him? . . . I guess it’s all a matter of perspective.

***

Tax time. I wasn’t completely clueless. I knew our refund was usually a big one, but that was about all I knew. In the past, I would usually drop by the local H&R Block office just to sign our tax forms after my husband had spent the hour with our tax preparer pouring over W-2’s, bank statements, and 1099’s. We usually filed early, so the refund could be used to pay the property taxes . . . and the remainder of the refund went directly into my husband’s bank account. My requests for a portion of the refund to be spent on helping pay school tuition or to lower credit card balances were either ignored or not deemed “do-able”.

This year, I decided to join my husband at the appointment. As the tax preparer began filling in the form with numbers from our W-2’s, a sick feeling swept over me.

The total amount of our income was more than I imagined.

Much more.

I was aware that we received a large refund check every spring, but never realized how much we earned throughout the year.

“How could this be,” I wondered. “Where was the money going?”

Our lifestyle, in no way, reflected an income of that amount. Working part time, my salary paid the monthly bills and the kid’s expenses. My husband paid the mortgage and the groceries.

It didn’t add up.

Our combined salaries minus our expenses left sooooo much money unaccounted for . . . so much of my husband’s money.

I questioned him. Was there a secret savings account? An addictive or spending compulsion? Did he even know where the money was going? He had no reasonable answer, became defensive . . . evasive, and has not spoken to me since.

He has added this incident to his list of the ways I have “wronged” him, and yet seems incapable of acknowledging any of the ways he has done wrong to others.

Whether due to his personality, ADD, or childhood scars, life for him is viewed as a victim. He needs someone to blame in order to justify his behavior; because to accept responsibility would also mean admitting he is wrong and unreasonable for reasons having to do with his own character.

He has a fragile ego . . . I get that, but demanding authority without taking responsibility is a warped way of fulfilling Christ’s command for his role as head of our family.

Ephesians 5:1-2 Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.

5:22-24 Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.

5:25-28 Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. (the Message)

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