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July - Response 00001/001

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777arkV
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July - Response 00001/001

Postby 777arkV » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:20 am

-- Write In --
I'm struggling with doing the right thing and being happy.
I am a creature of comfort and I have a good life but I am unhappy. I feel
like my spouse buys my affection (gifts upon gifts/lavish vacations)
without providing me with the one thing I need so much; Love.
Life is busy. We have a strong family unit. We work well on paper. We work
well together. We agree on how to raise our children. We agree on how to
spend our money and our time. There is no precise thing that is wrong other
than my spouse is decidedly distant and unwilling to even provide me with the
simplest touch. We no longer share a bed and I am fairly lonely. I have
expressed my concerns over this multiple times and have been shut down and
flat out ignored. I know my spouse isn't having an affair but I am starting to
worry that given the opportunity I will. That or I will leave and disrupt
my family unit and give up everything we have worked so hard for.
I struggle daily with doing what is right for my children and what is right
for me. I also hate to even have to point out that I have not "let myself
go" and work harder than ever to keep myself looking attractive.
At what point should I walk away? Is this even something to consider or am
I being selfish? I'm in need of an outside perspective that doesn't involve
a friend's biases or a family member's concern as I feel they could both
point me in the wrong direction.​

-- Response --
First, I would like to thank you for being the first one to write in a question for the advice section of my site.
You have reached out to someone you've never met, to get input on an important part of you life.
I value that, and hope only to honor it by doing my very best to offer my promised detailed and in depth considerations.

In short, I intend to do your Overthinking on Demand.

​To begin with, lets consider the ethics involved.

Happiness vs Ethics

Does happiness = ethical?

Id feel pretty happy running someone off the road that cut me off only to slam on their breaks, but, clearly that is not ethical.

We only need one example of where happiness ≠ ethical, no matter what it is, to demonstrate that we can not use that as a justification to our actions.
This defeats the "Deserves to be happy." argument.
No matter how much I may deserve to be happy, that does not sanitize my actions, and make an unethical action an ethical one.

As a matter of fact, we can even invert this completely, and give a demonstration where it is ethical to deliberately make oneself unhappy.

I want to go on a vacation Ive been planning for a year, but then, due to an unexpected surgery being scheduled for an important family member,
they hope I would be there to provide comfort and support before and after the surgery.

The surgery is... getting some wisdom teeth removed.

Oh but come on! This is a routine surgery! In. Out. All done!
Theyll be fine! They dont need me there! Why couldnt this be scheduled at a different time!?
Etc...etc...

I would be much happier going on my vacation, but, the more ethical action, would be to make a altruistic sacrifice and stay to offer support.

Everyone with even a little wisdom would admit that selflessness, altruism, and sacrifice are quintessentially ethical.
We look at people like Mother Teresa or Oscar Schindler, we revere their ability to suffer, or bring ruin to their lives for the benefit of others.
Or what of when we hear that Anthony Thompson forgave the Charleston, South Carolina shooter Dylann Roof, for murdering Myra: Thompsons wife?
Or when the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in a demonstration of forgiveness to the murder of 5 girls, donated money to the killers widow?

Then there are the 1000s of stories we could harvest from military veterans of soldiers saving not only thier brothers in arms,
but in all the wars of human history, I am sure there are stories of soldiers even saving the life of an enemy solider.

We stagger under the greatness of examples like these, because most of us cant even muster up the altruism it requires to buy groceries for a neighbor.

What is the standard? Jesus tells us clearly.

"People say, 'Love your friends and hate your enemy.',
but I say, love your enemies, bless who curses you, do good to who hates you, pray for those who consistently abuse you;
all in order to become children of God. He is the same. Not withholding good things from the undeserving.
The sun was made to rise on both the evil and the good. Rain falls for the innocent and guilty.
Who cares if you love those who love you? Who doesnt?
Who cares if you say hello to your friends? Who dosent?
So what? Those things are not greater than what is common.
You - you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."
Matthew 5:43-48 (Paraphrased)

So, there we have it. What we should do is utterly clear, and nearly everyone knows this on the inside one way or another.
Its why most try every conceivable way to comfort their conscience when taking an action that is beneath what is excellence.

You said, "I'm struggling with doing the right thing and being happy.", and you should not be hard on yourself for that.
Most people dont even bother with trying to do what is right when what is right is also hard.
You however, (and I offer you your due praise here!) are still trying to do what is right even when its hard!
So to further drag yourself over the coals, because you dont feel happy while doing it, is really unnecessary.

Everyone struggles with feeling happy while doing what is right. Even Jesus did not go to the cross with a smile on His face.
He went there after sweating drops of blood begging for the possibility of not needing to go.
Then, although He wasnt happy about it, He finished with, "Not my will, but Your will be done.", and went to the cross willingly.

To summarize this whole first section - We should always strive towards the excellence of perfect ethics, no matter the cost to ourselves, and I think you already know that.

Everyone should look up to you as an example of convictions overpowering personal desires... and even needs.

Now, having dealt with the abstracts of ethics and the expectations that go along with them, lets shift into the realm of the more practical, and so hopefully more useful.

"I'm struggling with doing the right thing and being happy."
This is normal. Give yourself a break.

"I am a creature of comfort and I have a good life but I am unhappy."
I think thats because more than likely most people confuse happiness with fulfillment.
The standard path that is fed to most of the world after birth is, "Get good grades. Get good job. Get good significant other. Get good house. Have good family."
We most often accept what we are told should make us happy, without ever thinking about why or if it should be what makes us happy.
So we end up feeling empty after we spend a lot of time gathering together all the shiny baubles we were told to collect.
Then, we suddenly have a revelation, and say to ourselves, "Wait a second! What the heck is a 'bauble' anyways!?" :)

"I feel like my spouse buys my affection (gifts upon gifts/lavish vacations)
without providing me with the one thing I need so much; Love."
Oddly, this is actually helping you at the moment.
This lack of what is truly most important, is exactly what is causing you to look at your many other "comforts", and realize they are lacking in any real value of truest substance.
We need to feel the most pity for those who are not loved, but are surrounded by all the trappings of the world, and feel happy because of it.
They are tragic examples of empty hearts, that dont even care they are empty.

"Life is busy. We have a strong family unit. We work well on paper. We work
well together. We agree on how to raise our children. We agree on how to
spend our money and our time. There is no precise thing that is wrong other
than my spouse is decidedly distant and unwilling to even provide me with the
simplest touch. We no longer share a bed and I am fairly lonely."
Sounds like you are in a (good) business relationship, not a marriage.
To even make a guess Id need to know the story arc of your relationship.
Looking back, was it always like this? If not when did you first notice the change?

Also, what you are suffering is a kind of spousal abandonment, and you are not to underestimate its effects or severity.
It is a horrid, awful thing to be shut out in that way.
Like having a pane of glass forcibly put between you and them.
Its like your living in exile in your own home.
Be sure to find other people to support you in appropriate ways.

Without past information, I am going to hazard a guess that things havent always been the way they are now,
and I am also going to guess that what happened is the two of you grew into your marriage rather than growing into each-other.
You got used to the system the two of you created. "Life is busy." and so that busy life demanded you get very good at managing it.
So, you got to know this life very well. You spent a lot of time and effort learning everything you could about this life.
You perfected when and how to live with your life.
Im guessing its possible you both became more married to your lifestyle, rather than becoming more dedicated to each-other.
Somewhere, there is a list of 10 rules for a successful marriage, where one of the rules is "Neglect the whole world rather than each-other."
Seems either they, you, or both of you got into a habit of breaking that rule, until living in a constant state of that broken rule became the new norm.

"I have expressed my concerns over this multiple times and have been shut down and flat out ignored."
This is actually, without peer, the most important line in your question.
You see a problem in your relationship, you are trying to communicate about it, but getting shut out.

If you only absorb one line to my whole answer, the next line is it...

AT ALL COSTS - THAT - MUST - CHANGE.

I dont know what is causing the communication blockage. There are a 1000 reasons and more.

They are embarrassed. They blame themselves. They are ashamed. They dont care. They dont believe you. They cant care. (to avoid the pain).
What you think are innocent efforts to talk, are judgemental, badgering, overwhelming, intimidating or to hurtful for them to listen to.
They think youre the problem, but think you would never listen for even a second if they tried to tell you how your hurting them.
They fell out of love with you and just stopped caring. They are bored of the marriage, and you. They care about work more. They care about your lifestyle more.
They got so used to providing you with the lifestyle you wanted as a creature of comfort, they got used to that being their purpose in the marriage,
and now have forgotten how to actually love you as a person, and not a project. They have developed depression, anxiety, or any number of other mental / emotional disorders. They grew too comfortable in the marriage and now so long as they are comfortable, they take you for granted.
Theyre jealous because they unjustly perceive an unbalanced amount of attention you give the children.
You really did shift most of your attention to the children and this started the wedge between the two of you.
Years ago their first love from high school died, and it shook their heart, and gave birth to a "what if" doubt they've never been able to shake.
They feel like they wanted more out of life than what they have, so this is causing them to undervalue what they already have right in front of them.

You see? Who knows? I could go on for 10x as long with all kinds of reasons.
Without communication starting to flow, all anyone can do is guess until the stars fall from heaven.

Do whatever it takes to tap into that communication!
Seek out friends, family, pastors, counselors and psychologists that agree with your ethics, and will support, aid and work with you to revitalize your marriage.

I am not the sort of person to recommend things, honestly, I think its cheesy, but,
I cannot deny the useful information that could be put to use found in "The 5 Love Languages" and "The Love Dare".
Start there, but then keep striving to further establish deeper lines of effective communication!
Remember, seek out friends, family, pastors, counselors and psychologists that agree with your ethics, and will support,
aid and work with you. Avoid saboteurs that only ever try to chip away at your conviction.

(I need to take a small aside here for clarity sake.
While I would say you should avoid and ignore people that don't agree with your desire to save your marriage, there is a point where even people that do,
will in wisdom try to temper your efforts. For example, if someone notices you telling your children that you dont really care if they live or die,
because your trying to save your marriage, they would be right in telling you that youve become a fanatic.
That example is extreme, but its point is not to be realistic, but to demonstrate that not all levels of all actions can be universally justified under the banner of "for the marriage!"
Even those that support you, if they love you, and are wise, will keep you focused, accurate and precise in your efforts to strengthen your marriage.)

"I know my spouse isn't having an affair..."
Assume they are. Dont leave a hole in your convictions to be exploited.
Adultery is not stronger than a marriage, and is not more powerful than love.
This is why many marriages execute the pain that adultery brings, and so then survive to become something much greater than many marriages ever do.

"but I am starting to worry that given the opportunity I will.
That or I will leave and disrupt my family unit and give up everything we have worked so hard for.
I struggle daily with doing what is right for my children and what is right for me."
Good. To not be aware of your struggles would only open wide the back gate of your heart and mind.
Youd be wide open to an assault. Always keep an eye on your temptations, and weak points.
Always find supportive people to help you combat and overcome them.

"I also hate to even have to point out that I have not "let myself go"
and work harder than ever to keep myself looking attractive."
This is a mostly good thing. Knowing you look good will help your self-esteem, and, the exercise itself will help you with the stress your going through.
However, I said "mostly" because you want to be wary of believing your value comes from your physical appearance, (it dosent),
or that you deserve to be ignored if you dont look your best (you dont), and also keep tabs on the idea that your struggling marriage,
which does assault your self-steam, is by proxy, at the moment the base of your efforts to stay fit.
What I am saying is stay fit because its healthy to stay fit. Enjoy looking good because you should enjoy looking good.
Dont stay fit and look good as a way to transmute your grief of feeling unwanted in your marriage, into feelings of pseudo-confidence at your efforts to stay fit and looking good.

"At what point should I walk away?"
Ultimately? Never.

"Is this even something to consider..."
Ultimately? No.

"am I being selfish?"
No. - This is how I will example it.
A grenade is thrown into a bunker.
Shouldn't every solider all at once try to throw themselves over it to save the other soldiers?
Ultimately? Yes.
Is it selfish not to? No.

You have the chance to push someone out of the way of an oncoming train at the expense of your own life. Shouldent you?
Ultimately? Yes.
Is it selfish not to? No.

Selfish is the opposite of sacrifice.
But there is a whole spectrum of actions that are not sacrifice that are also not selfish.

Even Jesus took time out for Himself - to eat, to sleep, to pray.
So then He was recharged, so he could go back out and make more sacrifices.

Really...Im sure Jesus was the only one that did, and will ever be able to manage that perfect balance of personal needs and Loving sacrifice.

However, we should still try to come as close to His example as we can.

"I'm in need of an outside perspective that doesn't involve
a friend's biases or a family member's concern as I feel they could both
point me in the wrong direction.​"
Ok. Are you ready for this? This is where I stop playing by all the standard rules of social constructs, and give you my verdict bluntly.

Dont kid yourself.

You have already made up your mind.
You know exactly what you should do.
You know exactly why.
You knew very well what I would say.

If you wanted to escape your decision, all you had to to was talk to family and friends that would say, "You deserve to be happy. Ditch your marriage."

You could have soaked it all in, and rode their opinions out of your commitments.

However, you know while you may have escaped your commitments, you would not have escaped your own values.

They would have hounded you for the rest of your life, and you know it.

You deliberately asked someone who would agree with what your soul is telling you, so you cold go back and tell your heart to shut up, and tell your mind its time to get in line.

You are calling the shots here.

You believe in loyalty.
You believe in honor.
You believe in compassion, mercy, forgiveness, patience and hope.
You believe thees things can heal your marriage.

I believe in the things you believe in, and I believe in you.

No one can say going above and beyond / sacrificing comfort and happiness to put your all into your marriage... is immoral.
I personally believe even the notion is absurd.

God will cast the final vote on that in front of everyone at the end of this world.

In the mean time, know that you should not attempt this alone.
Do whatever it takes, but seek out friends, family, pastors, counselors and psychologists that agree with your ethics, and will support, aid and work with you.

Always spend time reading your bible, and talking with God.

Lastly, you may find many of thees a source to draw strength from.
http://www.iamsecond.com/struggles/divorce/

You wrote in anonymously, but also provided a name, (actually, that made me make an update to my Overthinking on Demand introduction ;) ) add your name in future write ins so I will know if its actually you, rather youre asking for more input, or, to provide an update on how things turned out.

I will remember you in my prayers.

All Gods Best Blessings to You and All Yours.


777ark Vicari †
#777arkVOD



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