I Was Once a Pastor’s Wife Part 4 of 4
Here’s where we left off:
“I” married him. I emphasized the “I” because sixteen months later the drama began. I began to see that “I” was in this marriage alone. “I” was willing to do anything necessary to keep our marriage afloat and happy. After all, I was a First Lady, a Pastor’s wife. He was depending on me. I became the live-in super-maid who gave away a lot of fringe benefits, participated in ministry work, and was a caretaker for my Mom and my grand kids depended on me. I worked two part-time sometimes three, jobs and we volunteered every weekend. One day, running around the grocery store between jobs, I almost passed out. I was exhausted. I called to tell him what happened and…nothing. No, stay there I’m on my way. No, what can I do to help…nothing. His non-reaction weighed me down. Didn’t he care? When I came home from work, I had an attitude.
Emotionally and Physically Exhausted
He had worked from home that day and was trouble-shooting someone else’s computer issue. I loudly dropped the groceries on the marble kitchen counter and left them there…perishable items and all and stomped into the living room to sit at my desk. I waited for him to get off the call he was on. When his call was finished, he asked me what was for dinner and if I had picked up his dry-cleaning. I had to ask him to look at me. Rubbing his eyes, he leaned back in his chair. He knew from the tone of my voice that I was upset but he couldn’t look me in the eye.
Still, I waited. Finally, he looked at me and said, “what?” I told him that I was exhausted and needed his help. That I couldn’t run this marriage and house all by myself. Sensing his anger, I retreated. (Why I stuffed my feelings and retreated—I don’t know) Something inside me warned me that I was treading on thin ice. But I was exhausted, and it seemed, the only one in this marriage. Silence. Then he exploded. What do you want!? I’ve worked hard all day and I’m tired, too. What do you want from me!?
The words exploded from my mouth. I worked both jobs today! I spent last night washing, starching, and ironing your shirts. I organized them by color and separated the work from play shirts so you could just grab and go. When I walked by your closet this morning everything was jammed in together. It looked like a tornado ripped through your closet. He got up and walked to his closet. What are you talking about? Why is something so small such a big deal? So what, you ironed a few shirts. I bit my tongue, thinking maybe I am making a big deal out of it. Then I said to him. I did it because you can never find anything and you’re always in a hurry. He walked back to his desk telling me that I should just take his shirts to the cleaners and stop complaining.
I continued. I’m exhausted! I almost passed out in the grocery store. I do everything around here and I mean everything. I need help. His reply…
You only work part-time! You don’t have a full-time job! I don’t know what I want to do, but I know it’s not any of those things! My ex-wife did everything around the house and she worked. I never had to wash a dish, iron anything, or clean anything. She always had 5-star dinners prepared, breakfast ready every morning, and fixed the kids their lunches. On the weekends she would have all of our activities planned, I just went along. I didn’t have to do anything. She saved for months for our family vacations, booked our flights, hotel, and activities for our family and our extended family. She took care of everything and my needs.
When he finished, I sat there like a bump on a log biting the inside of my lips to keep my mouth closed. If I had replied it would have been two words and they weren’t nicey-nice words. I went to bed super early that night, perishable items melting down the counter-top, and slept as close to the edge that I could without falling out of the bed.
What happened to my prince charming? The pastor that I had married who had promised to treat his wife as himself, in front of God, our family, and friends? That meant something to me, that he promised that to God. I thought I’d finally found a man who I’d live the rest of my married life with, in harmony. We were going to give the devil a black eye. Who was this man who complimented me fiercely to his ministry and friends, used to tell me how beautiful I was on my worst days, who used to have such a calm loving voice and jovial laugh? Who was this man who counseled couples with scripture, but lived like a heathen? I was sleeping with the enemy. Everything went downhill from there despite our attempts at reconciliation.
We argued, silenced, and grew further apart the next couple of days. In my naïve mind all couples argued. There was always going to be some type of conflict because I wasn’t him and he wasn’t me. I had such a skewed idea of what marriage was all about…especially marriage to a pastor.
One day he broke the silence by telling me that he didn’t understand what was wrong with him. (Stop the train Errrttt). Say whaaaaatttt?
He’d realized that he blew things out of proportion a lot in his mind and had decided that he’d practiced hyperbole. What? I’d never even heard of the word. Hyperbole? Then he said it again, “There’s something wrong with me, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.” When he said it, he looked like a sick puppy dog. I thought he was for real. After that, we began to do things different.
He suggested we make it a point to pray together every morning, study together, and take care of our house and marriage together, as one. I was confused. I was confused because the person I’d spent the last 16 months with, the one whose last name I’d changed mine to, the one who turned his back to me instead of embracing me while we slept, had done a 180̊ turn. He began to help around the house, plan our vacations, take on more clients to add to our income, and was more affectionate. We continued on in ministry and I quit one of my 3 jobs.
Whew, I was ecstatic that we were past that hurdle. One morning after cooking breakfast, he left for work and called me from his car. “You have 30 days to pack your belongings and get out.” My brow furrowed, my heart dropped into my stomach, and I actually said, “what, can’t we talk this through?” Click. He’d hung up. It was on a Sunday.
Blind-sided / Discarded / Thrown away
I reacted by moving out, that day. I was in a tailspin, a dark place. I blocked his phone number and email. I never wanted to hear from him again. That Monday he went straight to the courthouse and filed for divorce. A week later he hand-delivered the pro-se divorce papers to a family member that I was living with under the pretense of wanting me to have some of the things I’d left behind. I didn’t talk to anyone or eat anything substantially for three weeks. I was devastated, blindsided.
Two months later, having made minuscule progress toward healing, I answered my phone without looking at the caller i.d. I had unblocked him because I’d had to forgive him for my own sake and out of obedience to the Lord. He was crying and trying to talk at the same time while driving. “I don’t want to be turned over to reprobate. I’m sorry. I was wrong. I don’t want God to turn me over for what I did.” I was confused! Had he talked to someone or had God gotten to him?
Not only had I forgiven him, but I restored him. I remember him saying how easy I made it for him. We counseled with the same pastor I referred to earlier. Although I had forgiven him and restored him, I was still incensed that he’d filed for divorce and put me out. I listened as he lied to the pastor right in front of me and as the pastor said, well he did apologize in front of the church and you should have been there and apologized, too.
Many more eye-opening and heart-breaking things happened to open my eyes, like him attending his ex-wife’s birthday party in a tuxedo and texting me a picture of him from the event (he didn’t even wear one for our nuptials), attending his daughter’s wedding vow renewal without me (there was no room for me, he said), him moving to another state expecting me to follow; his ex-wife helped him find his new place and gave him items to decorate. Piled on top of all of the other things that happened that I haven’t mentioned was when my car wouldn’t start one day after work. I turned the key in the ignition, and nothing happened. I sat there thinking. My first call was to the towing company, not my husband. Odd. Knowing it would take about 45 minutes for the tow truck to come, I used the first 30 minutes to evaluate why I hadn’t called my husband first. Why did I have to evaluate this? Believe it or not, I ended up convincing myself that I was a big girl and that this was such a small matter to bother him with. On the other hand, I would have been there for him. I knew he wasn’t coming, and he didn’t. He later said that I should have told him to come. Even after all of that, I thought, for better or for worse. I let him back into my life. Just like that. We went to court together to quash the divorce proceedings.
Three months later he filed for divorce again and one month after that the divorce became final.
Read more about narcissism here https://narcsite.com/about/
Now, for those of you who read all four posts, you may want to re-read them to gather all of the details. Are you in a narcissistic relationship? We have an upcoming event on narcissism in November. Stay tuned. www.focusministries1.org