Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Why I Love My Husband, Or, Comments.

"It is an honor for a man to cease from strife, but every fool will be meddling."
-Proverbs 20:3

Once again, I've been struggling against my urge to shut this site. I try to be very detached and spiritual about the whole business, to recognize that people's misperceptions of my life, my writing, and my relationship really have much less to do with ME than the lives and relationships of the folks leaving the comments. So often when we read, we project our own lives into what we are reading...we choose a character we identify with, and we read our experiences against his or her experiences. We try to imagine the decisions we would make if put in that person's position.

I am also struggling because I like the interactivity of comments...I like having an audience that talks back. However, as that audience has grown, the time it takes to moderate, read, and occasionally respond to comments has grown as well. I wonder if it's worth the time and energy. When I am about to begin a post, I spend a lot of time sorting through my feelings about how people are going to respond to what I'm going to say. Even if I don't censor myself, I fret a bit about whether or not someone will take a sentence or two out of context or misinterpret my meaning. If I turn off comments, I might be better able to focus on what is important...to focus on writing down my story, which has been incredibly healing for me.

So I don't know yet what I'm going to do. I think I will sometimes have comments on, and sometimes have them off depending on how distracting I find the likely responses. In this post, for instance, I am not going to allow comments. These are things that I need to say, and I don't think that feedback will be especially helpful for me or for my readers.

I have found that when I have the urge to respond to comments, I'm not generally doing anything that is very healthy...but there has been a theme running through a string of them that keeps nagging at me, so I thought I should respond. Several people have asked why I stay. I've addressed the "Why I Stay" topic many times, but not so many times lately...so for newer readers who are more inclined to leave a comment than to look through the archives for their answers, I thought I'd write it again. It also is good for me to remember these things, so here they are:

I love my husband for his creativity, and I love him for loving me for mine. It's something we share, a love of art and writing and creative expression. I respect his aesthetics, and he respects mine. That art business is what heightened the intensity of our relationship from the beginning, and it remains the hingepoint where we always come back together. Nothing is more fulfilling for me than the time we spend being creative together. We have a studio in our house with all our art collection on the walls, and my favorite thing to do in the whole world is to write up there with him while he paints or draws. We can share so much in those quiet times. I've never had that connection with anyone else, and it's something I cherish.

I love the way my husband touches me. I love his hands and his mouth and how they always find their way to my body. I love his skin and his hair and his face and his smell and everything about his physical self in the most raw, earthy way. I love his appreciation for my body, too...I love his attention to detail, his eyes that seek out imperfections as signs of uniqueness. I love the way he thinks I'm beautiful, the way I never feel ashamed.

I love our story, from the way we met through all the years of parting and reuniting and the constant recognition of a feeling that was real, that wouldn't go away, and that was the most beautiful thing I'd ever experienced.

I love my husband's compassion. Like a lot of people who had a rough childhood, he understands pain...he empathizes with me and with other people when they are suffering. He is nice to our dogs and cats. He likes babies. He rescues spiders and roaches and other bugs instead of squashing them, and I think that's really cool.

I love the way we fight. I love that I never doubt his love for me. I love the way he always acknowledges my perspective, even when I'm being kind of insane.

I love that I can tell him anything and he will never judge me. I've been more honest with this man than with anyone I've ever known, and he accepts me through and through. I'm more thoroughly myself with him than with anyone else.

I prefer my husband's company to anyone else's in the whole world, ever. He's funny and fun and smart, and he likes me, too. In past relationships, I always felt like spending time together was a struggle, but with my husband, it's natural. We enjoy each other. There aren't many times when I want to do something without him, and he always wants me with him as well.

He doesn't hang out at bars or run the streets at night. I never wonder where he is. He answers my calls. All of these are advantages over men I've been with before.

I love my husband's recovery, and how it brought me to my own. I love being on this journey together, and I love the healing that has taken place. When I'm in a good frame of mind, I'm grateful for my husband's addiction because it made me have to take a look at myself. I'm stronger because of it, and so is he. We'll be stronger together, too.

My husband has a nasty disease. He is treating it. If he had cancer, I wouldn't leave him if his recovery were difficult. While his addiction recovery is in the earliest stages, and while it's not perfect, and while it's painfully slow, he is in recovery. He's doing the best he can, and he's trying to become a better man. For me and for now, that's enough. We are young, and we haven't been married very long, and I have a lot of hope for us to make it to the other side of it.

For more on why folks stay with addicts, you might read my friend MPJ, who has eloquently pontificated on the subject here, here, and here.