The Gift of Forever

Dear Sweetheart,

I am so, so sorry to hear that you are in such pain. I feel you, and I feel the hurt you are going through.

I sense you feel so much mistrust that it's tough to know if even communicating at all will be a good idea. It must be tough to know what to expect. Maybe it feels impossible either way... like you might be damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

I'm sorry for not being reliable for you in the way that you have needed.

I'm sorry you felt like you couldn't be certain, or feel secure in that certainty.

I'm sorry you felt your service was thankless, that it was expected of you by someone so totally ungrateful.

I'm sorry you felt abused, and abused so very often.

I'm sorry to hear that you're still typing from your phone! :( That must be a real pain.

Although you did it without any typos! Nice! :)

My Love, when I read this message of yours, I remembered how I couldn't respond.

But, I am your husband, and one of my duties is to protect you. I can't protect you from your own pain, and I can't jump in and shield you from your own troubled thoughts. I can certainly be here for you though, and let you know how devoted I am to you. I love you no matter what, sweetheart. I really do. That's why I've done the work of transforming. It really is work. And, it's work I wish I could do with a partner -- most of all, with you. You're the partner I want in this life, so that's my dream. To transform together.

Sweetheart, the only constant in life is change. I know you already know that. People always change -- they change all the time when we don't want them to, and they also won't change when we dearly wish they would. Kids wish to be adults, while adults long to be a kid again. Change is forever, even in relationships. Nothing ever stays the same, and things that feel the same forever feel lifeless. In order to feel alive, we practically have to change. That's what I've noticed, now that I'm creating some changes in myself. I'm definitely more alive now.

The same will be true in any relationship where we both create change together. I feel like you know this already, somehow. We've created negativity together, and we've created changes for the worse together, before. Those times and those truths trouble me, although, they are also pretty human. Every human experiences pain and suffering. It's just part of life. I'm sorry for the pain I have caused you with my unkind words, and my lack of sympathy for your experiences and your feelings. I'm sorry I was not there for you in the way you needed me to be, and even said you needed over and over again. I'm sorry I let you down.

We've created tremendous love together. When we met with our first counselor, we both experienced change for the better, together. It took attention, it took even trying to understand someone through a thick accent, it took some humility and it took a lot of trust, for us both. When we felt the goodness enter our relationship, it transformed us. Just like I've been "transforming" lately. During that time, we changed for the better. During that time, we had so little doubt in the power of what we'd discovered that we joyously married each other. We had no regrets then, and I have no regrets now! I have loved you all along. You were worth it. You are worth it. I believe you will be worth it. I have much, much love for you!

Sweetheart, I want to share with you that this is the first time ever in my life where working out paid off, even a little. In the past it was useless, I just felt weak and sore. Now I am gaining strength in way that come as a very welcome surprise! Like holding up a big bag of trash with one arm, the instinct is there still, to use the other arm also. There's no need for that weak stuff! The one arm does just fine and doesn't feel bad. It's just holding a heavy trash bag, that's all. I'm steady and stronger now.

But, my dear lover, I so badly want to share with you that this doesn't happen for me unless I work out every day. Working out is the norm, rest is the exception... where rest was once the norm, and workouts were rare. So when we did our first counseling, I have such deep regret we didn't do all the exercises... as the norm. Remember that one with the colored circles? We were supposed to draw? And we both love drawing, right? What stopped us? Did we not feel worthy? Was it that, we didn't have any ritual for stopping the world and melting with each other, like that? Were we too distracted?

I remember back in our honeymoon, that was seriously the BEST week of my life. Though, I feel sad looking back that I had a pipe in my mouth half the time and all that. If we both choose to create our future together and do life again, I sure hope to have a great pair of hiking boots instead of really decent pipe tobacco. I hope to have a great travel setup to make the best of our best time. We did pretty well last time, even in the rain, and I loved each and every minute with you. Thank you, dearest heart, for sharing that peak experience in life with me. There is nobody I would ever want teepee time with, except you. You have been the love of my life, and you still are.

I bought a book on Amazon called "Marriage-ology" by Belinda Luscombe. I fantasize about us reading it together someday. This is the one and only book on marriage I have ever read that is actually hard to put down at night. I wonder if you would love it too. It's just so darn fun!

I discovered one of Oprah's Super Soul podcasts, where she's interviewing Eckhart Tolle about his book "A New Earth". I started in the section about the "pain body" to try and understand better how the heck I could have done what I'd done. And Eckhart helped me understand it. I got it. I bought that book too, the one the podcast is based on, and read that every night now. (It's hard to do "marriageology" without you!) When I was living far outside town, I listened to that Super Soul podcast every day, practically all day, especially during all the driving. My car was broken, wouldn't go much beyond 50 MPH, so I had extra time to absorb it. This material gave me peace I hadn't known before. It gave me the ability to experience life outside the trap of my own emotions. It just opened the door, and I stepped through.

Does this sound crazy? I hope so. Not many people go this route. It's really normal to stay stuck in blame and pain. There's nothing wrong with those things. In my own life, I couldn't survive with myself that way. And, like Eckhart Tolle, I started wondering, "who is this self I can't survive with? I've thought that self was me, but obviously it isn't. The anger definitely wasn't who I am, or choose to be. I must be possessed by something." Eckhart's works have made it possible for me to grow beyond it, even just to start practicing. It is so very refreshing.

Except, I wish I had a partner to do it with. I wish that my partner was you. I don't want anybody else. I just want you.

I mean, the head knowledge is there, and it means nothing. It's doing the new ways, as often as possible, without ceasing, that's transformative.

The most transformative of all has been an audio-book called "Training in Compassion". I was skeptical at first because it's a Zen teaching, written by a Zen priest named Normal Fischer, and I'm Christian. I had thought compassion as being, like taking pity on poor people or hurt ones... and I didn't even have much of that. What I have learned from it is astounding. It's the kind of truth, for me, that knowing it now I just can't go back. It's as life-changing for me as finding Christ has been. I wish I could say more. It would make this message too long. Learning this has helped me in so many ways. But, there's no use in going on and on. The only use is in living it, and studying it again and again and again. (I'm on my second time through now).

Sweetheart, I could not turn toward my own pain. I am so sorry for sucking so 100% at processing my own pain, and being so 100% unable to handle my own suffering. I was moods, I was anger, I was distraction, I used my dreams and goals to distract from the here and now. I used substances. I knew they were killing me. I could see it in pictures of myself. I did not know how else to live.

I now know how to live, and that knowledge is nothing. It is only something with action. Action becomes nothing when it stops. For the knowledge to be real, the actions have to go on forever, so they don't stop and become nothing. That's what I did when we had our first counselor, I got the knowledge and then stopped the action. So, it all died.

I can't stay fit like this if I stop working out. I can't have a good relationship with anyone else, if I don't fill that relationship with positivity again and again, forever. That's action, and action requires effort. I am so eternally sorry for diverting the effort and the time that you are worth, that you've always been worth, into other things and for being so tuned-out from your pain. I'm sorry for being tuned-out from my own pain. I couldn't hear your pain because I couldn't even hear or process my own.

I'm sorry, my love. I truly let you down. I was mighty imperfect. That's why I'm reading these books and even studying a literal course in compassion, to learn how to do better. My sons will benefit from it, and if you and I find our love again, we will all be the better for it.

That may be true as long as I keep it up. It's not so hard to keep up new habits on my own, because all I have to do is make sure they are fun and make me feel better, more alive. Then I can't stand to not do them, so they naturally become new habits without having to try or use willpower, they just happen.

Above all, I would love to have a relationship where that same thing is true -- where healthy, healing habits are the thing that make my partner and I feel the most inspired, and the most alive. I know I have to keep doing what I'm doing -- working out, staying sober, eating for health on a diet my body loves and thanks me for. I would do anything to do these things with you. I would love to keep doing these things with you, for our lifetimes, and never stop. That's really the only thing I want -- to grow past my past pattern of handling a crisis then becoming lazy again. I want more than anything to be a man who works on fitness for a lifetime, and works on his marriage for a lifetime. It's cheating to call it "work", because people with happy marriages and healthy bodies are anything but burdened by it. They love what they do, and they love how they do it! 

I wonder if you can remember how fast our lives turned around when we worked with our first counselor. It felt so fast, and though it felt almost unreal I was so, so grateful to have your love, your life, back in my life again. It was a miracle. A relief for us both.

It's a terrible idea to create that kind of hope and healing again, and just let it fall apart again like before. This time, I don't have a pipe killing my health. I have weights to lift. I don't have drinks to distract and dumb down my brain, diverting my energy anymore. I have health and a healthy physical outlet for my energy. I have sanity... and I have the wisdom now that that is a lifelong commitment. It's do-or-die, forever. There is no stopping. There is no end to the crisis, that before I thought I had "handled". The crisis is always. The effort of living well and healthily is always. I want that effort and that reality with you. You are worth it!

I am your husband, and I miss my precious wife. As your husband, I have promised you my heart for my lifetime. I have promised you my sexuality, my monogamy, and my willingness to do whatever it takes, bar none, to keep our union intact, and healthy, and even joyous, til death parts us. I'm sorry if I've failed you so much in the past that it's tough to believe these words.

I will never be healed. There isn't some magic event that happens that makes me perfected forever.

We will never be healed, that same way. There isn't some magic thing we could find or do, as a couple, that would just make our union perfect forever.

There's no magic way to pedal a bike that makes the bike go forever.

The relationship only grows as long as we both grow it.

The only magic I have to give you is the motivation I have to keep getting better every day. To keep working out every day. To keep honoring you and cherishing you, and learning with you, every day. And to support you if you do the same -- if you take on challenges of your own, that you love.

I don't want to get counseling, feel better for awhile, then relax back onto the butt of my old, dead ways. I want to get the counseling, and keep going with you, even after the counselor has said we don't need them anymore. I've bought 2 courses I'd love to do with you, and I hope we create the chance. One is called "Safe Communication". In the past I might have done 10% of the beginning and then stopped. My hope and vision now is to do a little bit each day, whenever we can, and keep going -- with a "we" that wants to, too.

Do you remember once, a long time ago, we both did a page out of the old Mort Fertel book together? We both wrote stuff, I think it was a Sunday morning and the kids were gone. I remember feeling so close to you, after that. I think it was amazing. Imagine if you had chosen to keep going through the whole book. Imagine if I had chosen to keep going, too. Imagine if we -- in that crazy "we-ness" that makes us together -- we, us, had kept going through that whole book. We'd be like relationship experts or something. We'd know how to hear one another, and we'd have so much less to apologize for. That's the life I want, just like my diet and exercise are now. That's the life I want with you, my sweet lover. It's the one I know we can create. What it takes is making it so rewarding that we can't stand not doing it, we can't stand going back to the old ways anymore. There is so much love beyond this present-day pain. I am your husband, and I am devoted to you. I can't promise our healing will be effortless, and I can't promise it will be quick... but I can promise that I will be there to help create it with you, with a full heart and more love for you than ever.

With encouragement,
Your Boo