It is Valentine’s Day, and for all of you that celebrate this holiday, I say may you continue to find love wherever you look. For me, I have that uncooperative husband who hates this holiday, which honestly is okay with me as I seem to get a rather lot of sympathy this time of year. Husbands, boyfriends, even those that live the single life tend to give me as much pity and expressions of empathy as the women in my life. It is almost like that are secretly envious of my husband, but also understand their wives enough to see my disappointment.
My husband is a great man, and I try to remember in the back of my head all that he has to deal with especially when I get frustrated or angry at him. He has to live with someone who is bi-polar, and that is not easy; and never will be easy. So when he claims to hate a holiday, I try to roll. It isn’t the holiday itself that I wish to celebrate, I honestly just want a reason to brag. My need for gifts is totally selfish, and has nothing to do with the celebration of our marriage or our love. And so rather than brag about gifts, I allow others to feel sorry for me and get my attention that way. It is rather sad and pitiful if you think about it.
My husband is an interesting man. He purposely likes to frustrate me, although it took me years to figure out it wasn’t out of meanness. He just likes it. He tends to tell annoying and sometimes disgusting stories, and he lives for that shock factor. He is frustratingly naive when it comes to things like the law and history, and he will easily forget his very wife if I don’t occasionally make a crazy nuisance of myself. He takes me and the children for granted, and can be rather severely selfish.
I say all this knowing that I demand a lot of him. I demand that he act in what I think is proper manners, even at times that it doesn’t really matter. I often demand that he do more of the chores and helping with the kids, and use my disease as an excuse to not do it myself. I often get angry over things that yesterday would have flown off my back; and I often get disgusted when he is simply being a guy. The proportions don’t work.
I acknowledge, over and over, that it is difficult to deal with someone who one day is happy and energetic, and the next lazy and angry. I understand that taking your wife to a hospital to check her in for her breakdown is not fun, nor is there anything that can prepare you for it. I recognize the frustration of paying for medicines and doctor appointments when there is other debt to be paid. I appreciate the incredible times that my husband has stayed, when a lesser person would have run so fast and so far.
My husband is not perfect; my definition of perfect changes with the tides so who could be? My husband has a drinking problem that I am not allowed to talk about. I can’t call up my sister and ask how her husband quit drinking finally, and I can’t call my mom and express my fears that my husband’s drinking will continue to get more and more out of control. I can’t tell my best friend that my husband now blacks out when he drinks, and doesn’t remember doing certain things or saying certain things. I can’t tell my dad that I am scared that my husband is going die here soon, because not only is he battling alcoholism but he is also battling a genetic heart problem.
I have almost resigned myself to the fact that my husband is going to die at a very young age. I have almost accepted it, I think in order to prepare myself for the journey I will have to take my children on. I know that his body: his heart, his liver, his very blood can not sustain the abuse that he is hitting himself with. My husband’s family members and their health (or death) should be like a wake up call to him; but unfortunately it isn’t only me and the children that he takes for granted.
Last night, while drinking, my husband once again promised to stop drinking. I don’t actually believe him anymore. I take a rather fatalistic view on the whole thing, after years of trying to encourage him to quit, bullying him to quit, and praying that he will quit. I know that he will start out with great intentions, but like everything else that is important in my husband’s life, he will forget the why and do one of two things: sneak the alcohol until I catch him, or blatantly shove it in my face and shrug his shoulders. There will be a bad day at work, or a stressful day. There will be a small event that he will use as an excuse to drink. And he will continue, until his dying day, to assume that his heart, his liver, his very body is capable of sustaining the stress he puts on it.
That’s my Valentine. A remarkable man in so many ways, that could be truly brilliant if he just turned his head. If he became healthy in mind, body and spirit, my husband is the type of man who could rule the world. He is that smart and that capable. He is my best friend, and every once in a while my lover. He is all that is great in this country, and this world. But he doesn’t know it, and doesn’t care to ever learn it. Instead, tonight on this lovely day, he will drink to forget it all.
This holiday is about love. And I am extremely lucky to have it and hold it in my arms. My husband is not always the man he could be, but I like to think none of us truly are. One day my husband will either be great or in the dirt. And I will love him just the same no matter what.