Happiness is circumstantial. Joy is a decision.

But I loved him so much that I wanted to be what he wanted me to be. The first year of our marriage, I dutifully adhered to the agreement and made sure the dinner was cooked, the house was clean, and that our household was in good shape. This was grueling while trying to complete law school. Not only did I have to meet the demands of law school, but I had to commute to another city two hours each way with traffic. But I felt that it was the right thing to do in exchange for making my husband happy. He was in medical school and under the pressures and strains of a typical medical student. I fully understood that he would spend hours studying and would not always have time to do things with me. Because I loved simply to be in his presence, I was content for us to simply study together even though we may not be talking to each other we were together.

My ex-husband is a man of many contradictions and a man of many shadows. Like a haunted house, he would often shut himself off from the world, including me. I remember the desolation, despair, and rejection that I felt when he would shut himself off from me. I remember a day in the first year of our marriage when I simply wanted to be in his presence and he was so cold and distant that it pierced my very soul and the dream was shattered. I remember telling him that I was not going to put up with that behavior and how it made me feel. That was the day when I gave up on being a traditional wife. I decided for myself that if I were not going to get the loving and expressive husband in exchange, it wasn’t worth the deal.

So I slowly began to breach the agreement. Over the years the resistance grew to an outright mutiny. His desire for me to be what I felt was a replica of his mother was a constant thorn in my side and I rebelled openly and refused to do anything at all. That was wrong on my part. Rather than rebelling, I should have been more expressive and engaged him more rather than simply shutting down. Secretly down inside I really wanted to be that wife for him. Secretly, I felt inadequate and deficient because I could not meet his needs. Rather than addressing my own feelings, I allowed these feelings of inadequacy to seep into other areas of my life as I constantly questioned my worth, my abilities, and myself.

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