Monday, 11 January 2016

The Grass is Greener Where You Water It.

by Dov (See all authors)

I've related this story many times in sharing my step-work and recovery thus far. Though cliche, it was an important experience because it was mine:

I was at a chasuna. I saw a guy who I really respect, a talmid chochom who is 'different,' knowledgeable in areas that I aspire to and with a respectable bearing while only in his late 20s. I envied these things he had...yet I always felt intimidated around him. I also liked the way his wife looked. (Though, of course, that is not unusual for me...)

Well, so I was at this leibedigeh chasunah and was near the mechitzah (obviously not a chassidishe chasunah anywhere near Villiamsboork!) when his wife came running over to him with a giggle on her face, seeming to be fawning over him and asking for his permission to stay a little longer to have some sort of fun at this wedding. To my roving and (I believed) very keen eye, she seemed the picture of a submissively adoring wife. I was choked. My wife didn't admire me very much - at least not nearly as much as the women in my favorite sex videos admired the men they were servicing...oh, how my life sucked lemons!

And I was also a shtikel talmid chochom and a funny guy, and other good things....why couldn't I have that chelek, too?! I was not angry, just wallowing in well-worn self-pity and desperate for what I do not have. That's lust at its most basic level. Again. It was a very familiar obsession - yet it hurt anew, each time.

OK, so they were divorced six months later.

Where was the fawning, the admiration, and the emotional mastery that this man had over his woman? Gone? Or was it ever really there? I will probably never know.

But SA's White Book has a great line in The Problem (p 203): "Our insides never matched what we saw on the outsides of others."

I do not know what light - if any - this story might shed on the mess in your heart. But I will say this:

We addicts are not smart enough to understand love. Period. And I am not referring to sex here, cuz that's small potatoes compared to the big and real thing. Loving your wife takes lessons. For a guy like me it takes years or lessons. I was a complete nincompoop at how my wife wants to be loved. I thought I had an idea, but I was wrong - that false knowledge made it take much longer. I interpreted so much of what she did as not-loving, or even hating...it was very painful for both of us.

But with sobriety came growth, and though I have a very long way to go, I often know how to love her. Boy is it different than I thought!

Hatzlocha. There are all kinds of beautiful brochos awaiting you (both of you) over the next few years, if you just get your brains out of the way and understand that your feelings are not the be-all and end-all of reality. And admitting that you and I are far from being intelligent enough to foresee the power of real love between two people.

Living one day at a time is sometimes the only proof I have of whether I have real trust (bitachon) and patience. If it takes two or three years to get the knowledge that things are truly good enough for you in this life with your woman, is that too long?

I hope not. That may be par for the course, sir. Hey, it is easy to judge our apparently abysmal lackings against the riches that others seem to have. But looks are very deceiving. And we are not all that smart.