I hated my husband.
Last fall, things were rough. I couldn’t look at him without anger and hatred. I was physically repulsed by him. No matter what he did or said, I found fault.
I couldn’t figure out what had changed, how we had gotten to this point, or how to fix it.
Something must be wrong with me, I thought. There was no other explanation.
As we readied for our tenth anniversary trip to New York City, I remember wondering if we should even go. I couldn’t hide the annoyance I felt around him and even going to a city I love without kids for five days didn’t sound enjoyable. I wondered if it was too late to cancel and how much money we’d lose.
September was the worst. I remember Chris saying, “I know you hate me…” and I didn’t try to correct him or refute him. I just let it hang in the air.
This happened at least twice that I remember.
Chris knew things were bad. I knew things were bad.
I prayed and prayed to have more patience, to see my husband through God’s eyes–with compassion and love and mercy–but I was coming up short.
Something was wrong with me.
We went to New York and had a good time. We came back and I went right back to hating my husband.
In November, I had my annual OBGYN appointment and after the exam, the nurse practitioner asked how I was feeling. I took one shaky breath and said, I need help. I’m moments away from divorcing my husband and killing my kids. I don’t even know what’s wrong, but I don’t feel right.
I hadn’t planned to mention this. It hadn’t crossed my mind, but the minute she asked me how I was, I lost all composure. I sobbed the words out. I said them fast and desperately, not sure what I was asking for but pleading for help.
She looked at me with compassion, assured me this was more common than I thought, and prescribed me some anxiety medicine. A low dose, short-term solution for my out-of-control emotions, uneasiness, and anger.
I knew something was wrong, and I couldn’t make it better on my own.
I started buspirone in early November, during the chaos of a last-minute decision to get our house ready to sell. We had one month to finish a million things and list by December 1st. We were busy and stressed, but it took the focus off how things didn’t feel right.
December our house sold quickly, we celebrated the holidays, packed a house, and tried to find a minute to breathe.
January turned into February and then March arrived. We were feeling a little bit settled into the new house, new routines, new school. I had stopped hating my husband and mostly tolerated him.
What had felt overwhelming and crushing in the fall felt more manageable now. We were still fighting weird fights we’d never fought before and he was less patient with our children, but I know being married to me isn’t easy. I am demanding, critical, and expect a lot. After ten years, I assumed I’d worn Chris out. He seemed unhappy and distant with a really short fuse, but I blamed myself, my flaws, my high standards. I am a handful.
One Friday I’d been getting text updates from my sister and her husband, as they were finally at the hospital in labor with my newest niece or nephew. I got word late afternoon it was go time and so I readied the girls to head to the hospital and we eagerly awaited Chris’ arrival home from work so we could head out.
Once in the car, I realized I hadn’t fed my kids dinner, and they were starving. I was anxious to go meet the new baby whose sex we didn’t know; everyone was sure it was a boy, but I was adamant it was a little girl. I needed to get there ASAP to confirm my suspicion. We stopped at a Wendy’s before getting on the interstate and the drive-thru was lined up around the parking lot. I jumped out to run in and Chris waited in the car with the girls.
Inside was just as slow. After suffering through a family of seven ordering four of everything off the menu, it was my turn. I ordered food for the girls, a sandwich for Chris, and a Diet Coke for myself.
And then I waited.
It was horrible. The people behind the counter were frying one French fry at a time, waiting for water to freeze, showing a chicken how to make nuggets.
Actually, I don’t know what they were doing, but it was ridiculous. I had been in the restaurant about ten minutes waiting for our food and all I wanted to do was go see that new little baby.
Suddenly the door to the restaurant flew open and in charged my husband. His face was contoured in rage. From across the restaurant, he yelled, “WHAT IS TAKING SO LONG? ARE THEY RETARDED?”
I stood there, eyes wide, as my face reddened. I didn’t say anything, I just shook my head ever so slightly in hopes no one would know I knew him or that he was talking to me. He stared at me, then turned around and left.
Again, I hated him. I absolutely hated him. Who was this person I had married? I was filled with rage and shame as I stood there waiting for our food. I actually thought about not going back to the car.
When I finally made it back with our food, we just screamed at each other as Chris drove us to the hospital. I was heartbroken to realize I had married such an ugly, horrible person. He wasn’t sorry. He wasn’t embarrassed he had acted that way. He didn’t feel remorse for the word he used or the scene he had just caused.
When I type I hated him, I can’t even begin to describe how much. When I slung his sandwich at him, he spat back he didn’t want it, so I threw it out the window. Ellie sat in the back, screaming crying. Harper said nothing and just watched the shit show happening in the front seat.
Who had we become?
Why were we so miserable? What was happening?
Mary-I admire your bravery. First, for saying something to your doctor. Secondly, for sharing your story. Thank you for making me realize I am not alone. I’m looking forward to see how your story unfolds. <3
Mary – I follow your blog because of your honesty. Many of us have dealt with the same feelings you have had with Chris. Marriage is tough. I’m not sure how your story ends – but I will pray for you in the meantime.
I am happy to read the things we feel too ashamed to say. The things we can’t tell our church because good Christian marriges don’t have these problems. Thank you for being brave and showing us we are not alone. Marrige is hard and even harder when it is taboo to talk about.
I’ve been staring at my phone forty minutes debating whether or not to comment. I love reading your writing, because of the raw honesty. You only knew me through Andrew Jaggers my first husband. I always wanted to be closer friends with you, but didn’t feel like I fit in. It hurts to read what you are feeling and experiencing. I know those feelings all too well. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for continuing to walk through the fire.
Yes. Allllllllll the yesssses and the “been theres” and the “you are not alones.”
I can’t wait for tomorrow’s installment. Like everyone else, I admire your bravery and appreciate your honesty!
I’ve been there, too. Really. I still can’t shake the memories of a few times that I’ve made my kids cry because they were afraid. Of me.
I hate it. I only hope that God will use and/or redeem those times.
Thank you for your honesty. You are not alone. We are all broken, so what’s the point in pretending we are not?
Whitney Koehn says
I think you should just go ahead and post everything tonight so I don’t have to wait ten days to know that you’re Ok. And, also, I’m really, really needing this right now. Thank you? I guess? For living thru hell?
You are walking on water. It takes true faith and love and sacrifice to lay yourself down on the altar for others in this manner. All the love!!!!!
I feel your pain. That sounds like something my husband would do. He has Asperger’s Syndrome and just no sense of proper public behavior. In the car he would have been explaining exactly why his behavior was justified and that they need to be told how incompetent they are.