Monday, March 28, 2011

Lessons from Friday Poser

Lesson 1. If you don't ask you don't get;

Lesson 2. You'll be surprised at how much you get when you ask. You'll be thrilled, thankful, and moved to tears, all at the same time at the generosity of fellow bloggers with their opinions and thoughts;

Lesson 3. You CAN get counsel from people you haven't actually met. People who meant well and are so sincere and forthcoming with their advice.

That's all good to know. Thank you.

Here's the summary of your thoughts and suggestions, in no particular order, and some further comments on them:

  1. The situation will be awkward, unless both feel or want the same: It will be awkward in this case - the suggestion to continue staying together is only from one party - the modern one.  The other party, being traditional, hates the idea, and has been giving ultimatum like either they go back to normal or split.
  2. Can try if there's a problem with finance. But may not last if third party appears: Money not a problem. Third party will surely appear. Both actually caused the problem to begin with.
  3. Sad way to live: I agree
  4. Sin? :  As they are still married they commit no sin even if they continue with sexual relation. But that's not going to happen in this case. No worry of sinful activities. In fact the husband is never closer to God, as he tries to find meaning in this, and ask for His forgiveness every passing day and night for the pain he might have caused the wife. The real danger is in either spouse being involved in another relationship before this is settled.
  5. Toxic. Yes. 
  6. Too much old memories and baggage:  more memories, really sweet ones, than baggage. They are preventing the 'easy way out' option. Thirty five years of love, of happy and sad moments together, of enduring friendship, cannot be just ended at the spur of an angry moment. It would be real sad if that had happened. 
  7. Cannot imagine living in the same house with a person who doesn't love you. Agreed. But what is the alternative?   
  8. Give each other space? Acres of it already. All the freedom to pursue individual interests. This was necessary as husband and wife were way beyond being from Mars and Venus. There are perhaps no other couple on this planet as different from one another as them. The amazing thing was their characters were in many ways complementary. They found strengths in each other's weaknesses. They had always focussed on one another's positive qualities. The husband's fear however was that an outside influence could have exploited those differences, the space and the freedom, to bring about the rift, this late in their marriage.
  9. Which brings us to the deeper issues and the putting of firewood into the marriage fire. When the fire has died, would putting more firewood make any difference?
  10. At the moment both husband and wife are barely afloat in a ocean of hate, waiting to either drown or being rescued.
What triggered this hiatus was a sudden change in the wife's lifestyle and activities which were not acceptable to the husband.  Something, somewhere, had gone horribly wrong.  She claimed it's all in the course of her work and social activities.

He had given her almost complete freedom to pursue her business and other interests. He's used to being left alone, being supportive of her emotional need to work and socialize. Until one day he discovered an incriminating evidence that she was talking (as in txt messaging) to somebody. He was shattered.  How could this happen to him?  How could she?

Hell hath no fury like a jealous husband.  Instead of being calm and collected, he lashed out at her with all his might, his anger management out of the window. She shrank with fright, and later took off, only to return to call it all off. Of course he regretted it all. A little restrain on his part could have made all the difference. But that's what uncontrolled anger does to you.

A broken man, the husband had no more will to live. He wished it was all a bad dream, and that it'll go away.

The wife maintained that she didn't do anything wrong. The husband was not convinced. Her behavior, and her attitude towards him weeks before that made him suspicious. And angry, as his imagination ran wild.  He is delaying action and is seeking counsel only because of the following considerations:
  1. How much is HE at fault for the wife to behave that way?
  2. How culpable is the wife in doing what she did?
The second question arose from the fact that there has been a third party involved - a black magic woman.

This is necessary to put things in the right perspectives, so that facts remain accurate and fairness maintained:
  1. It was not the intention to portray the wife in a bad light. She is not a bad person. She may not be a homely person, and often finds happiness outside the home. But she has a heart of gold, and generous to a fault.
  2. But she is human. May be in times of troubles she found a shoulder to cry on.  May be she's had enough of married life and wants to move on - be free again*.  And that's okay.  All the husband asked is for her to talk about these instead of doing anything behind his back.
  3. Neither is the husband an angel. He is not the most romantic person on earth, and keeps to himself most of the time. That's why he asked himself and God if it was he who had driven the wife to do what she did. That's why he raised the question of 'culpability'. 
  4. The presence of the third party added a mysterious possibility: did she do it on her own free will, or was she 'under the influence'?
The couple is at a crossroad: they either continue living together or part ways. The above facts and circumstances point to no easy answer.

*The husband remembers seeing the movie "Eat, Pray, Love" with the wife, who made no secret that that's what she really wanted to be or do - free, to start life all over again and explore the world, may be find new love. There may or may not be anything to that.


Akelamalu said...

Maybe he should have just talked to her first to make sure he was right in his suspicions? :(

Grandpa said...

Akelamalu: it was not suspicion, she had been having chats. Of course he should have talked it out with her, but instead he blew his top!

Joylene Butler said...

Counseling is out of the question? Sad indeed that bitterness and illogical behavior take over. I've seen this happen with friends and family. Alittle T'chi or yoga goes along ways. I guess you've noticed I can't fault either one of them. I would beg them to first seek spiritual or emotional counseling before they do anything rash.

Kittie Howard said...

Thanks for stopping by, Grandpa. Self-publishing is an exercise in enormous discipline. I'm thankful for my roots!

About today's post, from my branch on the tree:

Unless text messages contained adulterous actions/intent, I'm more than skeptical. From what I read, the immorality is in the husband's mind, turning what he thinks she did into something she did, an absolute. In the 1600s in New England, women were burned at the stake for this, murder under the guise of religion.

The husband should NOT have popped a cork. He's wrong. More than wrong, he insulted a wife of several decades by not giving her the benefit of the doubt. The husband should have talked to his wife, asked about the text messages, even more, the husband should have examined himself. What is it in the husband's life that he's so angry about that he's transferring this anger to the wife?

It seems to me lonliness is a factor here, not the disappearance of love. The husband pats himself on the back for 'allowing' (oh, dear God!) the wife to have a life of her own and socialize. (Er, I have a life of my own. I socialize with friends. Ditto for my husband. We can't be in each other's knickers 24/7, good grief!) And then the husband slams the wife with what he's 'allowed' her. Oh, NO! As I see it, a big part of the problem here is that the husband needs to take a hard look at what he's doing - he says he's left alone a lot - a wife is not a babysitter - it's not the wife's responsibility to structure a husband's day. The husband needs to get involved in activities so that he has a reason to wake up in the morning, other than to fume over what the wife's doing/thinks is doing. This entire situation is too much stereotypical 'wife' - 'husband' and not enough what two people want out of life. I read that the memories are sweet ones with little baggage. This couple needs a get-away weekend so they can return to the basics that got them together in the first place. They also need counseling.

I don't believe in black magic. I also don't believe one can believe in black magic and be close to God. Something's gotta give here.

shanaz@RS said...

Dear Granpa, reading your thoughts always inspire me to think more deeply regarding an issue. In this case, a really honest heart-to-heart talk between both parties is needed. Based from your story, the husband lashed in anger and jealousy because he was hurt by the actions of his wife. Yes, the wife is entitled to get upset from the sting of accusation, but if they can see through the misunderstanding and connect emotionally, I think they can weather through this rough patch.
However, if there's an underlying nagging problem that has not been dealt with, now's the time to put it all out on the table and let's hope that after all the discussion, both are on the same page. Hope that helps :)

secret agent woman said...

Would both be agreeable to couple's counseling, so that someone can help them really listen to each other and see if there is anything left to negotiate?

Grandpa said...

Joylene: that's the way things are when both sides stood their grounds and thought that they were right in their actions. Beyond the bitterness both actually became more spiritual and charitable - a small positive outcome, if we want to look at it that way. Thanks for your other suggestions too.

Grandpa said...

Kittie: your branch is an angry one! Thank you for taking the time to put your thoughts together. Some clarification may help:

1. Unfortunately the text messages were adulterous. The intimacy expressed were surprising considering they had just found one another. Frequent outings and late nights tended to corroborate that something indeed was going on. Nevertheless no other evidence beyond that.

2. Husband admitted his mistake was not talking about it. But only a person who has been wronged and betrayed would understand the pain and anger that led him to 'pop'. Another husband could have even hurt her physically. But he didn't touch her.

3. Husband rises with the sun, prays, and get on with things he's passionate about every single day. Not a bored moment. He enjoys himself with or without the wife.
The understanding and arrangement they had led to many years of happy married life, gifted with children and grandchildren.

4. Husband and wife take vacation and travel together often. There are few countries in the world where they haven't been.

5. The husband doesn't believe in black magic. The wife does. She's a follower of Feng Shui and sees fortune tellers often. She doesn't make any personal or business decision without consulting them. The reference to black magic in the post refers to a woman who is actually black, advertised her services as such, and had recently befriended the wife, against the husband's advice.

I would perhaps also mention that both husband and wife are very well-off financially, and would be easy targets for wolves in sheep's clothing.

Grandpa said...

Shanaz: the husband regretted not talking it out after he found out. He did try discussing the issue again after things calmed down, but the wife refused to talk about it, insisting instead in continuing with her activities and ways.

They will certainly look at your suggestions. Thank you.

Grandpa said...

secret agent woman: wife thinks she's made her mind up not to carry on, but asked if she could still live in the house (temporarily I suppose). She spends her time, apart from business appointments, with the black magic woman and her circle of friends, travelling abroad together sometimes. She has shunned all old friends and some family members.

Wan Sharif said...

If two of them want reconcilation, then a meeting away from the existing locations might be useful.
A meeting to discuss the way forward is necessary.. may be children can help reduce the friction or distrust .. to enable better climate for the meeting.
A short separation is good but since separation has already been the order of the day.. could not figure out a better way out..
Maybe an honest meeting between the 4 eyes.. to discuss the way forward is in order.. Non?!

Grandpa said...

Wan: the children were actually very upset with the mother, but of course they wish the parents would stay together. Hopefully time will make both parties more receptive to meetings and counselling. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

hi Grandpa

very interesting post u have here, been here but 1st time commenting.

the wife is definitely under the influence of "black magic woman" what other people say won't matter to her. Its not the magic at work, its the soft approach, sweet words only gullible & vulnerable people believe easily.

My uncle was one who fell for one "black magic woman" We do not know if sex was involved but he was squeezed dry & still is, last time I heard, his EPF $, monthly pension went to her, he even resorted to borrowing $. His wife was so stressed (all this happened after she was diagnosed with breast cancer) that their sons gave up on him. My uncle & wife (both 70's) are still married, living under one roof in a disgrunted way. We find it hard to accept as they were the ideal couple.

People change, if the wife wants to be free, let her go. Some people as they grow older, feel trapped & wants to venture out of the comfort zone, be carefree.

Yes, I think Eat,Pray,Love do have an influence in some way :D

Ohiofarmgirl said...

hi Grandpa!

I brought some coffee (french pressed) and some breakfast sweets (coffee cake, of course). I thought I'd come by and sit with you while you are thinking about all of this. But I've worn my work clothes so if you'd like to go and work around the farm I'd be happy to help.

Your pal,

Grandpa said...

Anon 4.59: That's the hubby's greatest fear. He just couldn't think of anything else that could have caused the wife to suddenly turned weird. They spent almost two weeks on a holiday island just before that - just the two of them, and they had a great time. Of course in our part of the world stories abound about charms and black magic, etc. Jealousy could also be the reason - somebody just wanted to wreck a happy marriage.

Ohiofarmgirl: my routine now is up at six in the morning and walk around the farm picking durians that had dropped earlier. I collect an average of twenty per day, each weighing 2-3kg. I get the same exercise as people going to the gym, or to the park for their walk.

That coffee sounds really good after my job is done, and I could really use extra pair of hands...thanks for the offer pal.

Bimbimbie said...

Hi Grandpa - looking in to say hello to you. I hope the couple can find a solution that is acceptable to both. Sadly this sort of thing is happening more frequently to long wed couples and is distressing to family and friends who wouldn't have believed it possible.

My father told me a black humoured joke some years ago about a couple in their late 90's applying for a divorce. Why did you wait so long they were asked.

Didn't want to upset the children. Now they are all gone, we can!

Grandpa said...

Bimbimbie: Hi Annie, great to see you! It's been a while...hope you are keeping well.

I'm tired just thinking about this weird situation. So I moved on to the next post! Your humorous slant provides a reprieve. Thank you. take care Annie.

Lady Jennie said...

I think the one closer to God has to start the process.

In Eph 5:22-33, the wife has the hefty job of submission ... until you read what the husband has to do. Present her without stain, wrinkle or blemish? Love her as himself? Die for her like Christ died for the church?

In 1 Peter 3:1-7 you see that women have trouble with submission (I use this word in the Biblical sense, which does not mean what it means in today's world) because of fear. Fear that their husbands won't meet their needs. If the husband can love the wife and be considerate with her, it will help her to overcome her fear and to love back.

But not doing this hinders the husband's prayers.

These are just some thoughts.

Grandpa said...

And what holy thoughts they are, Lady Jennie. Thank you so much.

She deserved to be loved, of course. As the wife, the mother of his children, and as someone who had sacrificed so much.

The husband tries hard to ward off the ghosts that constantly haunt him as he tries to do this. He prays for God to give him the strength to carry on, and to keep the wife out of harm's way.

Aishah said...

I am late to the party. When I referred to sin, I meant, the potential of the wife to hurt the husband is enormous in such a relationship. That is the sin I am scared of that could happen. The inability for the wife to remain as a wife to the husband.

Grandpa said...

Aishah, I understand what you are saying. As it is the husband is already very hurt and is in so much pain. He doesn't want to lead separate lives, but it is not easy to part with a wife of more than thirty years. But I don't think he has much choice now, he has to do what is right, regardless of his and her feelings. It is just unfortunate.

Thank you so much for your thoughts on this.