I was looking in Michael's 'sent' email folder today for something that he'd forwarded to me last month and found this letter that I'd given him a couple of weeks before we went to our Marriage Intensive. As it's part of our personal story, we thought it perfect to post for Testimony Tuesday.
I'm really glad that we seem to be on a path to restoring our marriage. I'm glad that you are reading Joel and Kathy's books and that you've been open to their teaching, experience and suggestions as hard as that may be for you at times. I recognize that you want to try to make changes in your life that will positively affect me, you and our marriage and will help you to become that man that God has called you to be.
I think that the Intensive could be a huge turning point for both of us and I want to encourage you to do whatever it takes to pay the fee as soon as possible so that we can go. I think it was a complete blessing from the Lord that I was able to use my miles and I don't think we can afford to lose this opportunity. I hope you feel the same.
I also want to say that I'm glad you were finally open to moving out. I know this was difficult for you (you even mentioned pride, humiliation, etc.) and I recognize your struggle. The thing is, it's not working for me (not with it being just a "clothes out" move). Even though I at first agreed (actually suggested) that you continue to come here to do your work, I don't feel in control of my life knowing that you're still coming here everyday. It doesn't feel like a true separation and though I struggle with being alone and wanting to be taken care of by you (especially during my pregnancy) I don't feel like I have any space that I can call my own right now to grow and breathe. I know that I've asked you to stay a couple of times and you've immediately said that you don't want to overstay your welcome. I'm glad that you're conscious of that boundary.
It's just that, for me, it's more of a struggle to grow through this and really focus on restoring myself when I see you all the time. It's too easy for me to want to throw everything away and just make love and forget that there are some real issues that need to be dealt with ~ especially by you ~ before we can really and truly come back together. I will go out on a limb here to say that you struggle with the same thing and these two wrongs for us both definitely do not make a right.
NEGATIVE - What I've seen from you since you agreed to move out is (and even since we started talking again):
- putting the fact that you forced me out back on me and trying to make me feel bad about it
- not moving your clothes out until I said something
- wanting to be secretive about who had the tapes
- you still trying to have some control in my life
- you not having to pay any rent on the apartment as I've already done so
- two months of an unpaid mortgage, etc. - allowing G to have the upper hand in his relationship with you (language, disrespect, boundaries, etc.) which speaks of your relationship with me
POSITIVE - I've also seen you:
- reading Joel & Kathy's books
- making some apologies
- doing some work around the house
- buying gifts
- going on some appointments
- putting gas in my car
- buying groceries
I think that the negative stuff is your arrested development and pride getting in the way. I think that the positive stuff is you really wanting to make an effort. I think we both need some space. And so I'm asking you to move your office to the apartment for the time being. It just feels too much like I've come home to you on your terms (like every time before) and I need you to come back on mine.
I get the inconvenience of it all and I can already hear the prideful excuses. Still, I'm hoping for the positive effort.
Five days later, Michael sent the following email to J&K:
Dear Joel and Kathy,
Money is very tight right now. I am self employed so no check every Friday. However I do have money coming in, and paying for the intensive is on the top of the list. I have read your first book and now I have started to read your second book. Learning to listen to my wife's heart is what I am working on also owning how I have hurt her. She is still unsure if the changing in me is genuine, although it seems like she is beginning to open up with me. When she poses a request I am learning to listen and act on it right away. Thank you for being so open and for setting me on the right path to love my wife with agape love.