Monday, July 14, 2008

Bart, Bart, Bart... What am I gonna do with the boy?

Time is an investment. Commitment is a sacrifice. Those are facts. Let me do a quick recap of Bart and of our entirety. Dramatic. Is that brief enough? Not in the sense of drama-queen type drama. More in the sense of "The Perfect Storm" type drama.

We came together at a time where I had no business being with him, much less falling in love. I was married. To a man that had been incarcerated for 4 years. Ugh. I told Bart on our first date and he didn't run away. Told him that I had two children. Still, he didn't run. Hmmm, interesting.

Clearly, my first marriage was doomed. Even so, I'd be remiss to say that I did not care about my first husband and his feelings. It deeply disturbed me to have to divorce him, even under those circumstances - or especially under those circumstances - either way. However, the wound there was too deep to suture and we simply bled to death.

So, back to Bart. Bart had a troubled childhood. That is a story for him to tell. He then escaped from family, etc. when he joined the Navy. He did sailor things and lived a sailor's life. He did fall for one woman in a serious way but he was too immature for a commitment and he ended up leaving her very abruptly. After 5+ years in the Navy things didn't work out for him the way he wanted in the Navy and the relationship being over, he seemed to be back to zero.

He went to his mom's home and drank a 12 pack nightly for six months. Didn't know what direction to go and didn't like where he was. He moved away to go to school. Good move. Made next to nothing and lived like an animal. Got a break working at a job that taught him some good marketable skills but it paid him a pittance.

He had visions of a better life. In a better place. Wanted to be a player. Guy stuff, you know? Found a job here and moved to Dallas - that was about 2 or 3 months before I met Bart at a club. Then his dad died. Hard for anyone. Harder perhaps when you had a childhood such as Bart's. Anyways, with me came the death of the dream of being a player.

That's where I come into the picture in a big way. I am not much of an animal lover but show me a wounded human, and I'm all over that. So, I wanted to be there for him and I was. Then things got worse. Again, that's his story to tell. A personal tragedy. All I thought of was what if I was going through what he was going through? I knew I would need someone to lean on in a big way.

All the while, he gave back to me too. Lavished me with affection, attention. Bart is honest to a fault and I think that is one of the best qualities that anyone can posess. He took on my life as if he just simply knew he belonged here and vice versa.

Aside from the pain of loss, the other personal trauma, etc. Bart had carry-over issues from his previous relationship that he brought with him. He was paranoid. He was angry. He was restless. He was ready to jump. He also had the carry-over issues from his childhood. When no one else believes in you, it's harder to believe in yourself. I was patient as I could be without being a doormat. Bart respected my right to be angry when he was out of line. I acknowledged the fact that I would have to be patient with him. He needed healing.

Despite all the drama and pain - I was always so totally in love with Bart. I've said many times that one of the reasons that I feel this, and only this, relationship has lasted so long is that I am never EVER bored. Both Bart and I are warriors. He will tell anyone that I use words the way that soldiers wield guns and that I do "ninja-mind-tricks". Bart doesn't have sophisticated weaponry - he gets loud and says hurtful things. But, no matter how we run from one another, we have some type of elasticity between us that snaps us back together.

There is no doubt in my mind that Bart is my great love. All that being said, the man wears me out like no other. I'm sure he would say the same of me. In fact, he has. No matter, I sometimes wonder where we will end up. If we will come upon some issue that neither of us will back off of and end up running each other off. And if that happened, then what? He'd come back. I'd want him back. It's just the way we are. I think that until God takes one of us, we will probably be sparring it out. Why? Because that's what we do. Because we've tried the calling-it-quits before and we were unbelievably, desperately miserable and knew we would figure it out somehow.

And because there are so many good things there too.

He is a wonderful provider. He has worked so hard to become that for us and I can't appreciate it any more than I do.

He is so in love with his daughter and adores the big kids who he just came along and assumed the role of, if not father, then underappreciated parental figure. He is a great father and step-father.

He does not nit-pick at me in the least. I mean never. Not at all. I have major flaws. I can't keep my house clean even if I am home all the damn time. I am not one to let the opportunity for an argument pass. I have to admit that - I'm easily baited. While I don't nag, I am vocal about how I feel he can do better. I'm sure that can be annoying. I tend to be a bit too inside myself sometimes. That's no good for either of us in the end.

The Bart that is today is nearly unrecognizable from the Bart that was 8 years ago. I've earned his trust the hard way. While he is still not one to pass up an opportunity to be angry, it's not the same as it used to be.

Anyways, when Bart and I decided to marry - I knew just ONE thing. If it wasn't going to work... it would NOT be my fault. Now I realize that it's never just one person's fault... ever. After all, you allow a person to treat or not treat you well. I have been faithful, loyal, and about 95% of the time, I feel like I'm doing the best that I can. Again, I know that Bart can say the same thing.

So, as Bart and I approach our 7th anniversary, and we're at a difficult pass, I've decided that I will just have faith in Bart and give the man the benefit of the doubt. The time he's given me so far has just about earned him that... just about :o).

What I mean is this, maybe all this new garbage is really about the work stress.... maybe. So, let's see what happens when that all goes away. I'll just have to wait to see. In any case, he's my husband. I'm his wife. I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that the man loves me and he knows the same of me. The future, well, no one knows that but God and He's not giving us any sneak previews.

I've decided to take care of me. It's what I've believed in all along and I honestly believe that no one should lean entirely on any one other person for their strength, their meaning, etc.

So, all that to say this - I will define me. I will be here but I will define me. And in the end, I'll be damned if this marriage falls apart on my watch. If he decides to go then God go with him but as long as he is here then I'm here too.

Who ever said love was easy? To add to that, what dumb ass gets married thinking it will all be roses and champagne and vacations and poetry and soft slow kisses? So, okay, maybe this is "the worse" part of our marriage. All we have is up from here. Right? It's a theory anyways.

Well, that was quite a diatribe. I think I formed my position as I wrote it. Cathartic.

Here's something I'm clinging to and it's a good read for all married folk too:

Hanging by a thread dangling over a cliff, as it turns out, seems to be better than freefalling when you let go of same thread. Hmm... who knew?

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