Recently on a forum that I visit there was a thread from a gentleman who had married a woman with a "past" and he was asking for advice on how to deal with his wife's "past" which he admitted he knew about before he married her, married her, and now seems not able to deal with it. I didn't respond to the thread because I probably would have been less than kind and not everyone can be as saintly as my dear hubby.
Over the holidays I had come down with a horrible cold during which time said hubby sent me to bed and took over the household. Right before the holidays, I had a few anxiety ridden events and hubby was right there to support me, motivate me and kick me in the $#% when necessary. Over the last week or so I've heard more than a few stories of women completely unhappy in their marriages, one or two to the point of filing the papers. The point is, my husband gives me daily reminders (usually) of how extremely blessed I am to have him in my life. No, he's not perfect and also has the ability to drive me completely crazy leading me to threaten physical violence. (I'm kidding - well sort of, I wouldn't really be able to inflict any real pain).
One would think after so many years of marriage with a saintly hubby and the blessings he brings that I would be grateful to the point of doing anything and everything for him - and I am and I do, save one thing. Sex. That's not to say we don't have it or our marital relations are suffering in any great way, but there are stretches of time where I attempt to completely avoid it all together. Over the span of this healing journey of mine I've come to realize exactly why I do that - it's not sex with my husband that I'm avoiding - it's the anxiety before, it's the mental gymnastics leading up to it, it's the fall out afterwards. A happy marriage should naturally lead to a happy and satisfying marital sex life. It's the one thing that husband and wife hold as their own, through all of the every day chaos, the one thing that is theirs to cherish together. The one space in time where their only purpose it to love and be loved.
For us, it is as I describe, but for me it only remains so for a precious bit in time. Our marital relationship does make me happy and loved and truly blessed ... and then the darkness surrounds me, but not entirely, more like a cruel, thick fog that allows me to see just enough to torture myself with - see this is what you can have - but you can't because you are evil and you don't deserve it! The marital act is haunted by my past and not because my hubby can't deal with it, but because I can't deal with it at least not without it being exhausting and downright painful. It becomes a fierce battle while I try to tramp down thoughts of my past, images that cloud my mind, memories that float in that I try to push aside.
All of this is not just because I'm postabortive, it's also because I'm postabortive with a "past." I've written before in my story about the lack of youthful preparation for any kind of sex life at all and how I never was told my worth from the beginning. In God's great wisdom, he sent an angel in disguise for me who absolutely knew the importance of sex and the value of it so much so that my hubby has no "past" to speak of except the one we've created together. Never once in our entire lives together has he ever uttered a cruel or unkind word about my life before he arrived. Not only that, but he makes himself available for me to talk about my past whenever I need to. I don't know if I could even do that.
In my story - I talked about how one would think that after my abortion that my promiscuity and general lifestyle would have changed, or be changed for me by my parents - but it wasn't. It remained status quo with just as much freedom as I had prior and perhaps even more. All of that freedom coupled with my now destroyed self esteem led to all kinds of moments over the next few years where boys took advantage, not just sexually, but emotionally and physically, and made me feel like less than nothing. It was like I had a target on my back for all the wrong boys. It didn't help that I was most likely looking for the punishment I now felt I deserved. I sought out people that would fulfill that need and oh did they find me.
My fear now is that I'm trying so hard to heal, so hard to become closer to Jesus, that snares are being set up to tangle me up in my past. My hubby isn't tempted to torture me for my past but I sure am. So I try to pray it away. I try to pray away all of the feelings that creep in of my unworthiness. I try to be grateful that God sent me this husband not only to give me life anew, but to slowly repair all the damage that had been done to me. At Mass last evening, after communion. I sat and prayed as the Eucharist melted away that each tiny piece, each minuscule fragment of Him would fill the cracks in my soul and heart. I prayed that He would replace the memories of my past with gratefulness and love. I prayed that time spent with my husband wouldn't have to be spent battling my ugly past.
It worked for a while until later last night with hubby sleeping peacefully beside me and as I lay awake in the darkness. I still feel broken. I still feel used. I still feel unworthy. I still feel damaged. Will all of this ever be healed entirely?