This is about Darrin--if married relationships make you squeamish, don't read it.
Our marriage, of necessity, has always been one of active communication. We've benefitted greatly from the need to talk about anything, regardless of its intimate or uncomfortable nature. One of the side-effects of learning so much about each other, however, is that each has the ability to read the other fairly accurately, and sometimes we see things that can be stressful or alarming. I watch my husband hurry off to his take care of bishop duties, and sense his relief at being able to remove himself from the horrifying intricacies of my current life. I can't blame him. He's been working with me for many years. Sometimes I wonder why.
I remember when we first met. I watched him interact with others. People trust him almost immediately. He quietly lets them know that he loves and accepts them, that he enjoys their company, and that he wants to know more about them. I reacted as I always do--I was nice and friendly, but gave no information about myself. He lost interest (I thought), as I had intended, and was drawn to one of my friends. They corresponded throughout the rest of the semester.
But Darrin had not forgotten about me. I received unexpected phone calls from him throughout the summer. My friend had broken off communication. Darrin asked me about this. Because I communicated with very few people, I had no idea what the friend in question was thinking, and I really didn't care. Darrin mystified me. He was friendly, made no romantic or sexual moves toward me, and seemed to enjoy talking to me. I decided he might be a good friend when I went back to school. After all, he had a car, and I did not. He could really help out with those grocery shopping trips, and my life could move a little further off campus if I could access that vehicle.
When I went back to school that fall, Darrin was officially enrolled as a student. He was happy to lend his cute little car to my apartment for our shopping trips--and pretty much anything else. He was around every day. He dated many different girls, always sharing his experiences with me. I offered no advice, as my experience with healthy heterosexual dating was minimal, at best. One day I suggested he date my favorite roommate. I did this for a couple of reasons:
1. She was my best friend.
2. He had become one of my best friends.
It was a match made in heaven. Darrin agreed. He dated M a few times, and as usual, came to talk about it with me. It was during one of those talks that my confused self realized that if the two friends married, I would probably lose all access to Darrin--or at the very least, the current closeness that we shared would have to morph into something else. It was also during this time that I decided I might want to kiss Darrin, and when I realized I did not want him to marry anyone else--ever. There was a bit of discomfort when I told M what was happening, but she was my best friend for a reason--she cried, told me she was a little confused, then said she was happy for Darrin and me.
From that point on, Darrin jumped through one hoop after another. Looking at him today, one would never guess that he was so agile--but he was. Every time I threw another curve ball, he gracefully caught it and I loved him more than ever. Even with the intimacy issues that followed after marriage, he pushed forward, suggesting ways to deal with the obstacles, always communicating, letting me know that it was me he loved, and all that came with me.
I have loved our life together. It hasn't been easy. There have been many things we've encountered that the average couple does not. Unfortunately, nearly every obstacle has had me at the center--dealing with my emotional or physical health--and Darrin on the sidelines lending support and love, and helping our lives continue to run smoothly. There have been very few times when Darrin has had need of me, and when I began to really dig in and try to resolve the horrifying issues of my past, the scale of help and need tipped decidedly in my direction. Darrin was loving, supportive, attentive, helpful, and understanding. Every avenue which I have pursued to find relief or help has had his help and participation. There has been, however, no reward for Darrin.
This week I realized that Darrin has begun distancing himself from me. He no longer asks about the things I'm doing, or the people I talk to. We stopped having prayer as a couple in November. We were too tired, and I was avoiding sleep because of the nightmares. Darrin's health is not good. His cholesterol continues to climb and his triglycerides number hovers around 500. His heart disease risk is very high and he has a family history to support that--his father had his first heart attack at age 43, and his mother had quintuple bypass surgery in her late 50's. I'm acknowledging that I've taken most of Darrin's life away from him, and he's tired.
Selfishly, I feel I've made progress over the past year, and found some relief, and I don't want to stop. But it's not worth losing the person who has made my life not only bearable and worth living, but joyful and filled with delight. He has been my fast friend, even when he knew I was wrong. He has loved me and been in love with me when he knew my feelings were not quite the same as his. We have built something strong and beautiful with our marriage, and it needs to continue.
I remember a time when the kids' bedtime was Darrin's favorite part of the evening, because then we would have our alone time, to chat, play games, watch a movie, or just cuddle for awhile. I remember when he would sneak into my shower because he thought I was beautiful and he wanted to join me. I remember when he wanted to take walks with me, go to dinner with me, dance with me... And all these memories are from only six months ago, before I became so obsessed with my past and my misery that I forgot to foster that relationship. I also have to admit that Darrin has been busier than ever with his new calling, and he loves his ward, but being a Bishop is very demanding, and Darrin cannot be everything to everyone.
I noticed last night that Darrin keeps a card from me on his nightstand. It says, "In my heart, there is a place that only you can reach. In my heart there is a feeling of trust and the security that you always want the best for me. In my heart, there is the knowledge that I can turn to you with my greatest hopes and my deepest fears. In my heart, there is a childlike happiness knowing that whether I'm silly or serious, frowning or smiling, happy or sad, you'll always love me. In my heart, and in my very soul, there is deepest joy and truest contentment, for all I could ever want is what I have with you." I meant every word of that when I sent it. I still mean it today.
Darrin is tired. I'm tired. It's time for me to stop and rebuild. The agony of my past will wait for another day. I have lived with it all my life--and it has not defeated me. Some things must take precedence. Darrin will always be more important than events that hurt me long ago. He has taken a very broken, horribly used, Samantha, and told her she has value. He has risked his heart and his happiness with a person who will probably never feel conventional romantic love for him, but who will love him without restraint, in every way she knows, for the rest of her life. He fell in love with me. I don't know how, I don't know why, but I don't want him to stop loving me. Ever.