I am the hard shelled one in our marriage. I do not break often or easily, I don’t fall apart and I don’t sulk for long, no matter the situation. I’ve had to be strong my entire adult life and it has served me well.
My husband is soft. He is emotional, intense, needy and insecure. He needs to hear often those words that cover a multitude of sin. He needs to touch often even when it is mindless and his attention is on a screen, his hands need to feel me nearby. When this insatiable need for affection is not quenched, he begins the descent into depression, self-loathing, and despair.
He asks about my day, my location, my activities, my plans every time I am not in view. He needs my texts to show when I read his, my location to be available at all times and my reassurance that I am always on my way home. Lest I should vanish into thin air.
Then there are times when his ego inflates to God like stature and he cannot be held down by earthly limitations. No job is too big, no expense is too outrageous, and no one else compares to his mighty and anointed hands. In these times I am not enough for him. I do not bow down to his greatness with enough gratitude, enough awe, or enough fear.
When he is inflated to Godlike proportions I am never supportive enough to satisfy his need for admiration. When he is deflated to a weak and fragile skeleton I am not soft enough for him to fall into.
Both sides of my husband destroy me, poke cancerous holes in our marriage and chip away at the foundation of our life together. In both polarities, I am the wrong wife. Too strong, too able, too willful and too real. Not soft, not understanding, not supportive and not loving.
I live in the middle of this cyclone. If I move left or right I know I will be inhaled into the raging chaos that is greedily devouring everything it can. If I stay still, steady and strong I can stay in my place, I can keep my footing but I will always stand here alone. I will always feel the wind pulling at my clothes and hair, always changing direction and waiting for me to slip in either direction so that it can finally swallow me.