For many years I have moved toward inner peace and happiness. Each day I wake with happy thoughts. I am enjoying my retirement which includes many activities I enjoy. The Universe time and time again seems to manifest my every desire…
Except for my 35 year marriage in which my wife and I have constantly grown apart. I am active, strong, and at a healthy weight. She is not active and has more than doubled her weight. When I want to walk with her, I wheel her in a wheelchair. Her disposition has gotten so negative that she actually cannot see anything that is very positive. She is not trying to make my life difficult. I think in her mind she would say she is nice to me, but my perception is that she treats me like a child. We live in this little world of being fairly nice to each other. My difficulty is that I would like to have adult conversations and an intimate relationship, but instead I have this parent in my life.
I have resorted to pretty much withdrawing emotionally (although I keep testing the waters) and being kind to her. I long ago decided to keep my wedding vows so that is off the table unless she becomes mean…(which only seems to happen when she is sick and requires care).
Sometimes I think this must be the best possible situation because it seems to be the only thing in my life that does not appear to me to be working great. Any ideas? Comments?
Dear Almost Fulfilled,
Thank you for your heartfelt question.
A potential trap in the type of situation you describe is that one person thinks their partner needs to change for them to be happy. We disempower ourselves by putting our happiness in other people’s hands. I am not hearing that you are caught in this way. You would prefer that your wife be different, but it sounds like you are basically happy inside, and, for the most part, your life seems quite satisfying. You are taking responsibility and are not blaming her for any unhappiness you might experience. This is clarity.
You have also reflected about your willingness to keep your wedding vows. Every life situation is an opportunity to bring our attention inside and investigate what is true for us. For you at this time, it is clear that you want to stay in the marriage and continue to be faithful to your wife. I imagine that you return to this question from time to time; each time is an opportunity to listen to your inner knowing.
I am struck by the level of kindness you display toward your wife. You say you have withdrawn emotionally from her, but your heart remains wide open. This is a paradox, like a zen koan, that you might reflect on.
Any life situation can be a doorway to knowing the deepest truth. I would invite you to get to know any remaining belief systems you may be holding and to meet all your feelings in the most loving embrace. Then the question arises: is it really true that you are living without something you want?
Let your radiant self shine…
I very much appreciated your care to be sure my question was clearly understood and that any changes, and even your response, was agreeable to me. This process of being sure you understood my question had a strange side effect. The “problem” started dissolving after you wrote for a clarification of my question. It appears the experience of another person caring enough to truly understand is, in itself, helpful.
As I write this I am searching for that “problem” – somehow it’s gone missing! Instead there is an overwhelming feeling of blessing my wife has brought into my life, not only the children and grandchildren and the good early years, but also the simple being there through all those years.
Thank you so very much.
Never Not Fulfilled