Monday, August 26, 2013

Rebooting My Marriage

Back on July 14 Ma'ikwe booted me out the door as her husband. Today we're rebooting our marriage. It's been an unusual and surprisingly productive six weeks...

After she reached the gut-wrenching decision to end our marriage, it triggered a sequence in which Ma'ikwe started putting our intimate relationship behind her and I entered into an intense examination of how I'd failed the partnership. With nothing to lose, I began the somewhat embarrassing and humbling process of unpacking how I approach relationship, intimacy, and life in general, which, ironically, led to some wonderful exchanges with Ma'ikwe (of the kind that she'd despaired of experiencing with me) and ultimately to my inviting her July 26 to try again. A month later she conditionally accepted my offer (which we cleverly refer to as the Offer).

Mind you, this was not an invitation to go back to what we'd been doing; it was not an attempt to save the marriage. Rather, we'll be starting over. We will begin with new assumptions:
o  That we'll live in a single household that we'll jointly manage.
o  That I'll leave Sandhill, my home of 39 years, and move in with Ma'ikwe.
o  That Ma'ikwe will not travel as much as she used to (conserving her energy for Lyme recovery) and I'll negotiate with her my travel commitments to protect our time together.
o  I'll phase out of my administrative role with FIC, and devote more time to writing (which requires no travel).
o  I'll place my relationship with Ma'ikwe ahead of other major commitments (rather than rotate through them as I've been doing).
o  I'll ask for what I want.
o  She'll tell me what's not working.
o  We'll both blow on the coals of our sexual relationship.
o  I'll work on my reactivity to criticism and my self-esteem as an intimate partner.
o  She'll take more pleasure in my company.
o  I'll tackle my issue of overcommitment. 
o  She'll share more regularly with me (or at least earlier in her process) what's she's thinking about.

In short, we're committing to being more present, more alive, and more joyous.

To be sure, this is a lot of commitment, and we're making the attempt without any certainty of success. (That's why Ma'ikwe's acceptance of the Offer was conditional.) Essentially, we're acting on intuition. I reached clarity July 26; for Ma'ikwe it took an extra month.

While there are all manner of reasons why this is a stupid idea, we're doing it anyway. Mainly because it would hurt too much to not know if we could make it work.

There have always been ways in which our partnership has been positive for each of us individually (we wouldn't have lasted nearly eight years together if it had been all dross and no gold). Yet more than that, there have been ways in which our being together has been synergistically great—where we have effected a quality of being that has inspired others and occasionally manifests transformative magic.

We are under no illusion that this will be simple, or non-tumultuous. But we think it can be great, and that's worth reaching for. It is an act of love.

Sometime after Thanksgiving, I will begin a year's leave of absence from Sandhill. I'll move in with Ma'ikwe at Dancing Rabbit, and we'll see what we can create from scratch(ing an itch). If we fail, at least we will have tried. If we succeed, then we will have pulled the baby out of the bath water after having pulled the plug—just as the whirlpool was forming over the drain. Whew!

If we succeed, it will give us an opportunity to formally recommit to one another based on our relationship having died and been reborn. I fervently hope to have the occasion to design that ceremony.


Peggy Wonder said...

Laird, I just recently subscribed to your blog and must say, I am awed by your candor.

Marniferous said...

That is some powerful transformation! May you both and all those whose lives you touch be uplifted by your commitment. <3