Honesty Is The Best Policy If You Want To Annoy Your Husband

Sing it Patti, "I'm feeling good from my hat to my shoe, know where I am going and I know what to do, I've tidied up my point of view, I've got a new attitude."

Lorna feels dizzy but liberated. How does her new lease on life affect her marriage?

In 2007, some pretty important events happened:

  1. A 2,100 year-old melon is discovered in Japan on June 1. It wasn’t the juiciest melon the Japanese ever tasted.
  2. The Vatican beatifies 498 Spanish victims of religious persecution from before and during the Spanish Civil War. And you thought you were behind on your “To Do” list.
  3. Anna Nicole Smith, Rev. Jerry Falwell, and Charles Nelson Reilly all died, but not in the same hotel room.
  4. I turned 50 years old.

Unlike most gerontophobic people, I was happy to be fifty and not dead. Sure, I had one extra hole in my head and a foot-flop, but I was here to talk about it. Given my new Buddhist attitude, I gave myself a gift for the first time in my life. I thought my idea was inspirational and revolutionary. With the serenity and glow of a woman from a Calgon commercial, I told Chuck, “From this day forward, I will speak my truth with kindness.”

Ah. It's marvelous when you're inspirationally revolutionary.

I waited for a supportive “that’s my Lorna” response. He seemed to need some time to process my declaration. After a moment, his brows started knitting so furtively, I thought a scarf was in the making. Finally he said, “What do you mean by ‘your’ truth?” Emphasizing the kindness part, I explained that I was an adult and gave myself the permission to express my thoughts and feelings—with kindness.

I do not think this is wise. You are not being logical.

My first act of speaking my kind truth flopped. In Chuck’s world, there was only one truth and mine wasn’t it. He took my announcement as an indictment of our relationship and his treatment of me. I was talking about me; he was hearing me criticize him. Being kindly truthful to him was tricky.

As it turned out, kindness didn’t matter, no disrespect to Jewel. Chuck didn’t like his kind but candid wife. He avoided me by being more busy and away from home. His allergies kept him sleeping in a recliner downstairs so “our” bedroom was pretty much “my” bedroom. I periodically brought up our intimacy “communication” problem. Invariably I would listen to how I made him feel like a failure. My suggestions about trying counseling again (because it helped so much the first time) fell flat.

I dove back into my Buddhist books and found renewed inspiration to continue practicing loving kindness. This just frustrated him more. The more kind I was, the more resentful he became. It was the Vicious Cycle of Kindness you rarely hear about in Buddhist teachings.

I've had it with all your blasted kindness, Woman. Stop before I do something you'll regret.

In early 2008, I thought maybe things were turning around. Chuck always surprised me. That was the year of our 25th wedding anniversary. We had purchased a time-share on Waikiki  Beach and he suggested we take the honeymoon we never really had. Great! Then he started naming people he wanted to invite to share “paradise” with us. Huh? Telling him “No freaken way!” would’ve seemed selfish. Chuck was delighted that his mother-in-law was able to accompany us on our honeymoon. I’m glad that Mom got to see Hawaii. It was a nice family trip, but it was no honeymoon in the Biblical sense.

There’s a Buddhist Temple on Oahu. I suggested well before we went that we renew our wedding vows. Normally Chuck planned and made fancy  arrangements for special events. Chuck’s approach to my renewal suggestion was flaccid agreeable but nonchalant. We picked “our” day that morning, went up to the temple, and said our heartfelt vows to each other off the top of our heads. My mom videotaped the “ceremony” but the wind was blowing so hard that the picture quality was great but the words were lost. Prophetic. Then we had lunch at Chili’s.

What's that you say Lorna, you vow to love me forever? I seem to have lost my connection...

Chuck turned 50 in May. He embraced 50 like it was the Grim Reaper. No party. No mention of his age. He got himself a gift, though: a 1970-something El Dorado convertible. It was white—being a female, I remember specific automotive details like that. He knew that I couldn’t ride in convertibles because all the sensory stimulation made my dizziness worse. If this was a game of poker, he saw “my truth” and raised it with “his convertible.” I don’t know which one cost us more.

That summer was the worse summer for my health in the 7 years since CFIDS. After a 12-day migraine, I was desperate. Something had to give before I did. Praying came to mind. I wasn’t on my knees, all angelic-like. I was pounding my thighs,  shouting pleading loudly though sobs of pure self-pity to Anyone Out There Who Would Listen. (I wanted to cover all bases.) Being friends with my condition was one thing, but my friend was beating me up. I asked for relief, just from the headache. I was in a bargaining mood, so I offered to “run toward anything that was positive and run away from anything that was negative” if only this malaise would lift.

Buddhists don't generally pray, but you can see why I resorted to an alternate plan.

I knew, deep down, I was playing with matches in an oil refinery. But I also figured the chances of “just ask and ye shall receive” were pretty slim, even though you read about it all the time in the Bible.

Never underestimate the power of thigh-thumping and pity-partying…

Don’t leave us hanging. What happened?

~ by Lorna's Voice on October 29, 2011.

27 Responses to “Honesty Is The Best Policy If You Want To Annoy Your Husband”

  1. That last line in your comment: “Well, I guess they can if they want to…” is so true. I’ve gotten a bit of flack for writing my truth and have tried to be mindful of reminding the reader that this is how I lived those moments. I can’t be responsible for the hurt or angry feeling of “Chuck” or those in his “camp.” They are certainly more than capable of starting their own blog. 😉

  2. That’s what I like about memoir writing–it doesn’t have to be totally accurate–just what your perception was of the events through your own experience. You’re speaking your own “truth”–no one can argue with that.

    Well, I guess they can if they want to…

  3. Holy water–I knew I was missing something! 😉

  4. A twelve day migraine – MMM mmm- pass the razor blade. Gosh … I never get heaches so I can’t say how I would react but I hear from people who have them that you just want to shut the shades of all light and lay down and die.
    The thigh punding probaly didn’t work becasue you didn’t add holy water to you spontanious ceremony ~~~~ : – ) lol
    Gosh … I can’t even imagine where this is going to go but please get better soon. I’m starting to feel like a wimp about my illnesses.
    Toodles,
    Izzy

  5. Thanks for your comment. I liked that line, too. I couldn’t understand how being kind could keep coming back to bite me! Sorry you have migraines, too. So many of us do.

  6. Aw, thanks, Laffem. I love both the writing and searching out those zany images to compliment the story. I’m glad you appreciate them as well. 🙂

  7. Happy Halloween, to you, Androgoth! I imagine this is one of you favorite holidays!

  8. Yes, he knows about the blog. I don’t know if he is reading it daily, but last I knew, he was VERY upset. What he doesn’t understand is that even if I felt this way about him, I still loved him and was committed to our relationship. We all have our private thoughts about our spouses that are best not to share if we want to “keep the peace” or so I thought at the time. I was just thinking about keeping him happy. I was doing a poor job of that as it turned out, so I probably should have just spoken up sooner. At any rate, regardless of how I felt (and some of these things I can only now articulate since the marriage is over), I loved him. He’s not seeing that in what I’m writing. He’s choosing only to see the parts where he feels he’s being portrayed unfairly. I can’t help how he feels. I wish it were different, but he’s responsible for his feelings, not me.

    My job is to tell my story as I perceive it. That what a memoir is–it is always part fiction and part truth because it’s told through the unreliable lens of memory and interpretation, which change over time. I’m doing my level best to stay true to the sequencing of events of, my recollections of how they unfolded, and my feelings about those events. I’m also not one to “play the victim.” No one likes a whiner, especially me. So I’m glad to hear that you feel I’m not sounding bitter. I ever I do, PLEASE tell me!

  9. Sometimes he wanted me to speak up and sometimes he didn’t. Then sometimes he only wanted me to speak up if I agreed with him. It was like playing Russian Roulette with more than one bullet in the chambers. Not fun…I liked it best when he had a couple of BIG martinis. 😉

  10. Yes, I was on beta blockers for a while, but I have naturally low blood pressure, so that wasn’t such a great plan for me. Now I have a mixture of meds that work okay, but I still get too many headaches. QiGong–a Chinese gentle form of exercise–works very well to keep the headaches to a minimum. You might want to explore that. It really helps me. The problem is that I have to do it regularly. 😉

  11. 12 day migraine. I’m speechless. I used to get migraines a couple decades ago, and they were doozies. Never 12 days though. In fact, just one day at a time. I’d get a little relief, unlike you. Finally, I was also diagnosed with high blood pressure (by landing in the ICU with a blood pressure trauma….sick as an ugly dog). They started me on a particular kind of BP meds that also was used for migraines, and I’ve had very few headaches since, and only a couple really bad ones.
    Wow, guess I wasn’t speechless after all.
    Will pop back in tomorrow to see the new installment.
    Thanks!

  12. I didn’t think a human would live through a 12 day migraine~! Yowsers, Lorna!

    Bravo for deciding to speak up. It is the single biggest step that the women in my life have to take in their lives. To speak our truth can turn life upside down and make it one of the biggest adventures we could conjure.

    Lorna, who wants to live with someone who doesn’t speak up? How does a partner ever know what the other person truly wants? Oh, I forgot! Some partners don’t care. Or they are too afraid to want to care.

  13. “I was talking about me, he was hearing me criticize him” That one hits home. I’ve been wondering if Chuck knows about your blog and book plans. If appearances are so important to him, I was thinking he won’t like these details out for the world to see. I do have to say though, you are doing a remarkable job at not sounding bitter and blaming him – at least to my female mind.

  14. A nice offering as per usual Lorna,
    and guess what? I rather like your style 🙂

    Happy Halloween 🙂

    Androgoth XXx

  15. I can’t wait to see what happens. I was hanging on every word!!!!!!!!! I love the images you choose to go with your words. You always do such an awesome job of that. And the writing is stellar 🙂

  16. “It was the Vicious Cycle of Kindness you rarely hear about in Buddhist teachings.”

    This made me laugh but it’s also so bitingly true. I hope you continue sharing this story.

    Also, I feel for you having such a long migraine. I am grateful mine rarely last more than a day.

  17. The truth shall set off a bomb, which will blow something to smithereens!

  18. No, migraines were a constant problem with me all my life, but got worse with the dizziness. It’s just that the medication usually “kicked them” in a day or two. Having one for that long was highly unusual. Think it could have been stress

  19. For Chuck, image was (is) if not “everything” , it’s a lot. I suppose for a business person, that would make sense, but even within family gatherings, he would “pretend” about our relationship being strong and intimate. Appearances mattered so much to him.

    As for why the trepidation? I don’t know. I’ll never know. If he knew me at all, he would’ve known I would never intentionally harm him or his business (something I believe he fears I’m going to do telling this story). Maybe he wasn’t used to me speaking my mind. I would upset his apple cart. He liked having a wife he could control and maybe he thought that I was becoming uncontrollable or at least unpredictable. It’s so hard to say because I was surprised by his reaction. I thought he’d be proud of me. Instead, he seemed unnerved and tried harder to put me in my place (you’ll see how). It’s a bit crazy, but I think I scared him because he knew I was smart and courageous–dangerous qualities in a wife! 😉

  20. You know, headaches are always the sign. It’s like holding something in that wants to get out. There’s no suppressing it.

    I want to guess that Chuck is a Scorpio. That you’d want to be better would pose a threat to him is strange but familiar. Happened with me in my marriage. Some men just like women to be as they met them; a little helpless. It actualizes their role as men. It’s unfortunate.

  21. Well, I didn’t have the energy to break things–I was one hurting puppy during that migraine. And the Honeymoon that wasn’t was just an exercise in frustration. I think he wanted to fulfill my expectation and our 25th anniversary was coming up so it seemed to make sense. It was just that he didn’t want to be alone with me, or that’s what I think now, looking back on it…

  22. Another installment is in the making…

  23. Gives a whole other meaning to “and the truth shall set you free”.

    No one could furl an eyebrow like the Spockster!

  24. Dang it – hit the reply button before I got to ask. What is up with the Migraine? That sounded absolutely horrible! I sure hope it wasn’t something more pernicious on the health front brewing once again.

  25. “Don’t leave us hanging. What happened?” <— Yeah, what she said!

    You mention in the past about Chuck envisioning the both of you as a "power couple" and I wonder if that is more of an external facade now – one that you present to the outside world for them to admire and somehow validate a relationship that may be a wee bit exaggerated, rather than the internal factors that enhance the relationship. Sometimes when things aren't so good inside, you need to seek validation from without.

    Interesting though, that when you declared you would speak with kindness and truthfulness, why such trepidation? Was he worried that you would now speak about things that would challenge that image constructed of others perceptions of you both as a couple and him as a person? After all, you had the best vantage point to speak truthfully in that matter – how did he react to your comments?

  26. I think I would have been breaking a lot of things if I had a 12-day migraine :S. Why call is a 2nd Honeymoon? Why not just a big vacation, lol.

  27. I am completely hooked on your story – keep it coming.

Silence can be just what the doctor ordered. You know I'm a doctor, right?

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