Version 2.0

Culture, healing, politics and bullshit - Not necessarily in that order

The general, socio-political and very personal rantings and ravings of a hip hop head from the hood hustling for change... Of himself.

You all know me and are aware that I am unable to remain silent. At times to be silent is to lie. For silence can be interpreted as acquiescence.
—Miguel de Unamuno


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

How Do I Save My Marriage?

Today supposedly is my 6 month anniversary.


I see marriage as something that challenges you daily, I also don't get the whole annual celebration thing (because you get a chance to do whatever daily) because you're not guaranteed tomorrow nevertheless next month/week/year.

I truly love my wife and I am grateful for her being in my life. I understand how hard it must have been to give up a life she still reminisces over a lot to be here in the big city with my stank ass. It must be hard to come someplace bigger and faster than you're used to and have to instantly adapt.

She made that choice and I thank her for that.
It's not a choice that she embraces on the daily.

That brings me back to the birthday/holiday/anniversary thing. I tried to leave a comment on Second Sixty-Eight's blog congratulating him and the Mrs. on twelve years in, but Blogger gave me an error code each time I tried. I gave up in trying to leave a message and I probably shouldn't have. Doing something as simple as typing a message in a tiny box and shooting it over the internet to congratulate a couple that kept on keeping on with possible problems and hurdles much greater than mine for more than a decade is something worth trying for. I found no reason to beat myself up in an attempt to leave a message when I could circumvent any additional errors by just sending one tomorrow.

Sometimes I wish I could be happy in all that I do by repeating certain actions.

But isn't repeating the same actions over to gain the same results considered insanity?

So what is marriage?
What is MY marriage?

While I try to to figure that question out, there is one constant in my life that isn't really guaranteed but for now it remains the only thing that is constant and that is my marriage. I know that we made the right decision and I'm happy with what has transpired so far in 6 months but I continue to ask myself if being married (and if it's like this 6 months in) is like this now, then what will it be in the future?

When will things change for the betterment of both of us?
How will they change if folks are stagnant in their ways?
When does logic ever trump fantasy?

I ask that last question because things still seem so surreal. At times things are damn near perfect and at other times things are near ruin. We are two individuals who have different dreams, goals and ways of thought trying to do shit together and sometimes the together part is impossible. I have always been individual in thought and action and have not wanted to follow the ways of others but in this instance, for the sake of my marriage sometimes I feel the need to give into the 'Jonses' syndrome, and that has never and will never sit with me well but I do it because I want to be there. With my wife. Together.

Most times the beautiful thoughts of us living in martial bliss crosses the minds of both of us, but I am the realest realist I know and logic kicks in and I have to come up with a finance and common sense plan for our relationship. That means sacrifice, and time and effort we could have spent dining at a posh restaurant feasting on the finest meats and cheeses will be spent with me putting in 600 mile days and she putting in hours possibly with another employer even though we break the six-figure barrier in the salary department. Things like groceries and fuel trump fine dining, and luxuries like central air, fiber optic supported high speed cable and the extra HD TV channels we have to enjoy the big flat screen joint we bought definitely need to be taken care of without blinking or else they are gone in a blink and a comfortable life is thrown into shambles because it feels like we're living in 1978 instead of 2008.

I am not ashamed to put myself out there. Never have. I truly feel like the lyrics of the Stevie song 'For Once In My Life' most of the time, but there are times like right now when I should at least make an attempt to congratulate myself and my spouse where life feels totally the opposite of said lyrical content. Here you have me fresh out of rebuild mode attempting to celebrate life with the one that helped me get to this point in straight revert mode, shrinking more and more by the hour into a non-person in our relationship. That burns my ass because I know that she is stronger than this. What I get now are a lot of blanket statements about introvertness and giving up based on my attitude. I always believed that something worth having is worth fighting for verbally, physically or otherwise. From hearing her, reading her body language and browsing her blog (yep, I gotta read her blog to get an emotional clue) I get the feeling that she's giving up on us.

Yeah, I said it.

For all the sacrifice. For all of the desire to get to the big city and prosper both personally and professionally, for all the support, pep talks and new family where old family members failed, for all of the good sex, time spent and weird moments that make up a new marriage, for all of the parental preparation, for the housing search and dreams shared. For all of the feelings expressed and effort given on both sides my only feeling on the 6 month mark of my marriage is that of wanting to annul things for the sake of my wife's happiness.

I know that she moved away from a place she didn't want to to be with me, and no I didn't ask her to.

I know that she has limited family and emotional resources here.

I know that our current home here at the compound is big as hell as well as being located in the middle of a gentrified neighborhood making her feel smaller than she ever has. Chicago is also a big and fast moving city. She initially wanted to come here years ago and do the single professional thing. I don't know if the city is for everyone. Most times she expresses how alone she is, and other than my presence I can do nothing but get her a plane ticket to cure that ill. It's not enough.

I am in love with my wife and do not want her to be unhappy, but in order to achieve overall happiness dear reader, I might have to remove Hassan from the equation. This is why I don't do anniversaries. I look at things with a fresh prospective every morning I get a chance to wake up, but there has to be a plan. My military mind instructs me to focus on achieving the goals with no shortcuts and no backpedaling. No compromising except for the sense of making sense and don't get me wrong, I know about change, necessity and the need to change direction. How can I as a man map my plan out with my wife when all of a sudden there is no voice representing the other half?

My wife has gone silent and I don't like it.

For the first time in my life I have someone and something to live for and I have never before felt an urge to get up and make motions to build like this but there has to be two to make that happen. Putting our business out here like this will probably push her further away, but what am I supposed to do?

It' only been six months.

What would you do?


chele said...

Only because I've been in an up-and-down relationship for the past five years do I even make an attempt to answer the question: "What would you do?"

First of all, repeating the same actions expecting a different result is insanity.

Secondly, you're right ... it has only been six months. And in the past six months the two of you have made some major life changes. No one should be expecting a smooth transition with no bumps in the road. As a realist, you should know that love does not always conquer all. It takes hard work. You are in the middle of the hard work. Marriage ain't easy ... I've done it twice and failed at it twice ... because I gave up. Now, after five years with the same person, I think about marriage but I still don't know if I'm strong enough.

I believe that the two of you are strong enough. I don't believe that her happiness hinges on you being out of the picture. Are you crazy? Move toward each other during these rough times not away from each other.

As the man, you believe that it is your job to fix whatever is wrong. Well, you can't fix everything. Sometimes you have to join her in her silence and wait until it blows over. Don't give up, Hassan. Don't give up.

Bananas said...

I say pack it in. Burn that bridge now and never look back. Cut your losses and call it a day. Fuck all the dumb shit and end it now.

That's what I say.

Why wouldn't you? I mean come on…you've never stood up for anything in your life. - Wait, there was that time that you were in the military fighting for your country.

Yeah just give up on it, you're a quitter. - Wait, how many times had it been that you were the last man standing? Speaking out when everyone else decided it was over?

She isn't worth it anyway. - Wait, there are the times that just the thought of her can make you happier than you've ever been.

You don't like hardship and hard work. - Wait, how many times have you taken on the burdens of others when you didn't have to.

You get nothing outta your marriage anyway. - Wait, what about those times she challenges you and makes you better than even you thought you could be?

You don't REALLY love her. - Wait, there is that idea that just her touch can calm you and make you feel like the luckiest man alive.

You don’t like being around her anyway. - Wait, how many nights on the road have you longed to be in her embrace and to feel her soft kiss?

Look, you really just need to be on your own anyway. - Wait, there are those times that having her in your corner, and you in hers, makes both of your lives that much easier.

Yeah, you don't need her at all. - Wait, you married her, you want her, fact is you need her. She makes you a better man.

Yeap…back that bitch you call a marriage up and send it down the road. You don't get one got damn thing out of it anyway.

You feelin' me?

The Second Sixty-Eight said...

You know, I got a post coming of folk/bloggers that I admire. Two of them are you and the commenter above. The reason for him is directly above this comment.
The reason for you is your honesty and tendency to hold our feet to the fire and make us take notice of ourselves.
I just believe that you got your own feet held to the fire. Take notice.

If you can't make 6 months then you made a grave mistake. I ain't gonna bullshit you by saying that it is all peaches and cream. 12 years for me is a long and hard fought road. Sometimes fighting with HER for doing the very thing that you are doing RIGHT NOW! I told her then (and may again), and I am telling you now. Leaving doesn't necessarily make things better, just easier.

And don't be talking no smack about your anniversaries either! That's the bullshit! Those are like a badge of honor! It would be akin to you spitting on your Medal of Honor because you were the only one in the platoon to survive. Nevermind that everyone who was depending on you to do your job was sleeping safe and sound at night because you did!

And I will say that times DO get hard. I didn't even see my wife on my anniversary this year. And we thank you for trying to leave your message of congratulations even though Blogger was interfering.

But you found a way anyway, even though you may not realize it. So you just gotta think out of the little box for the solutions to your current situation.

The Second Sixty-Eight said...

Oh yeah, from one husband to another. Don't EVER let her or you shut down the lines of communication.

I have found that the non mechanical problems come about because we are either thinking similar or completely divergent thoughts, and are too afraid to say anything. Talking don't fix everything, but it does make things easier when you two are on the same page...

Anonymous said...

Hey, I lurk on your blog every once and a while, and just had to leave a comment. Marrige, is not as easy as it looks. My marriage will be 3 years old in August and I can honestly say it's been a sruggle all 34 months. Nothing that is worth having comes easy though. I remember at 6 months waking up one morning and wondering, why the hell did I marry this fool? When I got up with the true goal of packing my shit and leaving, I stopped. Because the good outweighed the bad. And besides, I don't give up that easy!
Marriage is work, every day, every hour, every second. It makes you cry, laugh, dance, and moan. It makes you want to take a butcher knife to bed becuase "if that MF does that shit one more time...." It makes you delight in small things like a shared inside joke, a kiss on the back of the neck, a routine evening in front of that big screen TV(HD of course).
I say all of this just to say don't give up at only 6 months. The journey has just started. Roll with the punches, stay strong, compromise and above all communicate. Hold on!!!!! IT'S WORTH IT!

Francis Holland said...

Your wife loves you, or she wouldn't have moved so far to be with you. She didn't marry you for the money and the material things, or she wouldn't share the bills with you and help you to pay for them. If she she's making an effort to adjust to being away from her family, then she's also making an effort to be with you, because she wants to. You didn't kidnap her, did you? :)

I've been married three times, so I think I can really tell you what DOESN'T work. :) But, now I've been married for four years (my longest) and and I can say a few things that I've learned as well:

There are some things that you just can't say to a woman and have things work out with her afterward. So, be careful about what you say about her in your blog, and don't say anything here that you're not ready to say to her face, unless you're consciously trying to move things along in a certain direction.

I've learned that my wife loves me so much that she worries a lot if I express certain things (like severe depression). So, I don't say that to my wife in the most explicit terms, because I know it would give her a lot to worry about. And I know I felt this way before I met her, so it's certainly not her fault. Instead, I tell the most extreme of those things to a psychologist, and to my good afrosphere friends on MSN.

I'm married because:

I like good sex every day without any games, and I'm not going to pay for it. Never have.

Last night my wife called me and told me to hurry and meet her at a concert. There were so many people there who came alone and were looking around the crowd with hungry eyes for someone to share the concert with. And here I was with a woman who wanted to be with me so much that she called me to encourage me. If I get divorced, I'll be that guy at the concert with hungry eyes, wishing I could share this concert with someone who will remember it with me afterward.

I don't like to sleep alone, not even once.

If I separated from my wife, I'd go through a deep depression, during which I'd remember all of the good times we'd had. And if I wanted to get back with her, she'd say, "I'm sorry, honey, but I'm with 'Sam' now, and I love him." (Speaking from hard, personal experience.)

It IS hard to meld two lives into one common plan, and both people have to want to be with each other more than they want to do anything that would preclude being together. For example, men typically have to want to be married more than the want to play the field, or it's not going to work out.

And even if we REALLY want to be with each other, sometimes constitutionally they're just not right for us, or the situation's not right.

If your wife feels lost in a big house, that's easy: sell the big house, live in something smaller, and save your money! There's nothing wrong with having a few dollars in the bank! And that's more times she can fly home and see her family, and maybe you can go with her sometimes.

I don't think it's a good idea to read her blog, if she's using it as a personal diary, and I don't think it's a good idea for her to read yours if you use it that way. We all filter the things we say to people, saying thing to friends to blow off steam that would not be constructive to say in maintaining a good relationship. (Because if we just said everything that came to our minds, then our wives would tell us to go screw ourselves, and rightfully so.)

If she wants you to know something, let her tell you personally, and if you want her to know something then you tell her personally. And let personal diaries be personal, if that's what they are.

If my wife read my personal diaries, she'd slap my face and leave me in a minute! If I told her every day about the doubts I have about our relationship, it would wear her out with feelings of imminent crisis: 'Is it on or is it off?' Maybe that happens to you when you read your wife's online diary?

What would happen if you told an employee that you were evaluating the costs and benefits of firing him? That would tend to encourage him to look for another job, right? And if an employee ups and tells his boss, he's looking for another job, then the boss will tell him to just leave right now, then!

You know what? Instead, just be your wife's close friend and her lover, and let the chips fall where they may.

Talk to her about ways to lessen the difficulties she's having, and do some problem solving. If after all of your efforts, the problem can't be solved and she's miserable, you're both miserable, and you don't want to move closer to what's comfortable to her, then you'll have your answer. It doesn't sound like you've gotten to that place yet, and maybe you never will.

Don't read her online diary! If she thinks she'd be better off without you then, believe me, she'll tell you to your face!

Darius T. Williams said... yea, man, I'm praying for you. That's really all I can do. I'm the last person to give relationship or marriage advice - but I'm definitely keeping you lifted. I hope it all works out.

LadyLee said...

My goodness, Hassan... you do put your heart out there, don't you? You are the King of self-assessment, and I have learned much from you over the years. And I'm a much better person because of it.

You've gotten sound advice here. You got a fine set of peeps all up in this comment section. I can't add much, but I'll put my 2 cents in the bucket.

I've been married before, and it was a similar situation... A man left everything and came to be where I was. It changed him much, missing his fam, etc. And it didn't help that I was the most passive aggressive female on the planet, i.e., kicking the dreaded "silent treatment" to the max.

But I think what was missing is what that genius Terry said up above... In a nutshell, you MUST not focus on the bad. You got to be vigilant about focusing on what you love about her and the positive all around in your marriage. Man, this ain't no choice, you HAVE to. You have to FIGHT for it. Don't give up... That's the EASY road, giving up and walking away. You have to fight for it, or everything will just easily. . . slip away.

Go find some folks that have been married for over 40 years. You wanna hear some serious stories or doubt and uncertainty? Find some of THOSE people. They stuck it out. Our problem is that we don't stick things out.

I'm like Michelle above... Been married and failed at it. And now, I can't even get things started up and going right, even though good fellas have been there for me, because I fear one thing: FAILURE. Man, you don't want to walk around with that cloud over your head. I'm trying to tell you, it will try to muscle its way into every new relationship. It haunts you like a ghost, it does. Better to fight than to walk away. I wish I would've known that in my younger years. We're older now, and know what we gotta do.

And you better sit down and have a talk with your girl. Get all that ish out in the open. She's worth it. You're worth it. Your life together is WORTH IT. Think on that.

But you know you and her are in my thoughts...

And thank goodness I could leave a comment. Blogger has been eating my comments over here at your spot. I was almost thinking that you had me on blogger comment lockdown. Glad you don't.

Take care, bruh, and keep trying.

Gallis said...

What I would do? I'd talk to my wife. Take the time and care you both applied to your blog posts and

Yeah I said it.

second sixty eight said everything else.

Relationships change you. The ask for nothing sometimes and more than you have at others. One day, you'll be where she is, in that same lonely place of compromise for the sake of a relationship you care about.

What would I do?

The question is, if you were in her shoes, what would you want you to do?

Aly Cat 121 said...

*looking into camera* Quit playing boy and GO GIT YO WIFE!!!! sh*t. Do whatever you have to do.

Lisa Steptoe said...


I've been a lurker for a while and following you and your wifes adventure silently, but after reading both of your blogs, I was compelled to write something...instead of retyping, this is what I wrote on your wife's blog. Ditto to you.

You ARE her knight in shining armor. The armor might be a little dented & rusty, the white horse might be a little dirty, but you are still her knight, so dust yourself off and go get (and TALK) to your woman. NOW.

Ohhhh, my Diva…I went and read both of your blogs and it is time for both of you to put the keyboard down and talk to each other - not cyberspace. Both of you need to stop, sit down, lay down whatever - and talk about what you are both thinking and feeling. And guess what, there may be no solution right now, things might not be better right away, you both will probablly be crying, but at least you will have shared your fears, your feelings, your goals together and can try to reach understanding if not agreement and resolution.

I have been married for 21 years (together for 25) and one thing I know has kept us together is communication. We have NEVER gone to sleep in anger or without saying what’s on our minds. NEVER. We may have been up till 3 am, we may have gone to sleep hugging and crying at the same time, but we never have gone inward and cut the other out.

I’m not playing. Reading both of your posts, I seriously believe that if you keep talking to the world and not each other - it will be over.

I know we only know each other via the blog world, but if you want to talk more, feel free to call me. For real, Diva.

James 1:12 - check it out, it gives me strength

Luke Cage said...

You know, my buddy got married last year and he's going through something similar to what you guys are going through. We were just talking about it about a week or so ago.

And I recall reading somewhere, or maybe someone told me, that the first 2 years are the hardest and if you can make it through that, you'll do fine. The love is obviously there, the commitment to each other is there, however you guys are on 2 different pages. And you know what? That happens. I think you summed it up at the very end of your post. It's only been six months. And these things happen. Even to the best of couples. Regardless of how caught up in the whirlwind that your love for each other wraps the 2 of you in, this shit happens. It is inevitable.

Now what would I do if I were in your position? Talk, talk, talk, and talk some more until my vocal chords gave out. And air everything and put it all out on the table. Go for broke dude. Let her get everything out without interruption. And then it'll be your turn. Lets be real.

She's obviously worth it. Just look at the time it must have taken you to put those words you placed in this blog out there.

Only someone who is worth that much to you, could garner such a reaction from her husband. And that's the quintessential truth! Just do it brother. As far as she is concerned, nothing you do from this moment will ever be more important.

NeenaLove said...

i could blog an entire response... lol...

1st year of marriage -- by far, the HARDEST, most worthwhile thing you will ever work for.

hang in there. help her make new friends. plan dinner parties for her to mingle. help her make chi-town... her town!

it's been a minute since i cruised by. i know you can what needs to be done to keep it together.


Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Hi Hassan,

I'm a therapist. Here's my two cents.

Sometimes we can overthink a situation or problem.

These are the times when it's good to get physical, together.

Make it a routine of doing something active which doesn't involve much conversation but has oodles of opportunities for play.

Jog together each morning.
Go for walks in the park.
Take a yoga or swimming or cooking class or work out together.
Volunteer to work with a group, and afterwards you can talk about them instead of the two of you.
Buy a board game or cards, some candles, a bottle of wine...
Set play dates several times a week. Keep them.

Play. Play. Play.

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