Do you take this man?

September 28, 2012

Years ago, when I first got my husband out of our home, I breathed a sigh of relief and imagined a life free from being afraid every day. He left somewhat willingly, after a night of chaos and terror that ended with police standing in our bedroom, asking him why his shirtsleeves were covered with blood and the children were hiding in their bedrooms, ended with me putting the children in the car and knocking on a neighbor’s door at midnight.

He got worse before he got better. Several hospitalizations, one week in rehab, and some months later, he began to woo me back. I’d like to say he was cunning, but I do not know that it was premeditated, the way he got us to trust him again. I was seeing a man I had never seen before, and I was filled with hope. I suspect that he even surprised himself, this person he had become, thoughtful and present and clearheaded and patient and kind. He asked if he could move back in. I told him it was too soon. He asked if he could move back in. I told him maybe. And then I wrote this poem.

With This Ring

Do you take this man?
Do you take this man
for better or worse
for richer or poorer
in sickness and in health?
Do you take this man
who, in sickness,
will break your heart
steal your soul
use your body
to appease his pain?
Do you take this man
who will tell you the sun is shining
when the sky is black as night?
And still you know
somewhere, the sun is shining.
Do you take this man
who will give you moments of joy
muted by years of fear and despair?
Do you take this man
who will drain you of hope
until you are an empty bottle?
Do you take this man?
Do you take this man back?
This man, whom you love too easily
but is not easy to love.
Do you let this man
pick up the pieces of the life he has broken?
Let him place the ring
back on your hand
when what you want
is a purple heart
to wear around your neck
as evidence of your internal wounds
and your courage.
Do you take this man
back into your life?
This man, who promises love
but will not, cannot
promise you anything else
beyond this day.
************
The answer to these questions should have been “No.”
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6 Responses to “Do you take this man?”

  1. This is balefully accurate. And your last four lines are painfully real. Do we accept a life of uncertainty? The answer should be no, and yet… Have you got a support network? Are you seeking help for yourself?

  2. StrongerMe said

    That poem is amazing. It perfectly describes it. The reasons that we often say yes, even though the answer should have been no.
    I also thought that the divorce would end the drama. Four years later and one attempted reconciliation later, I am still fighting for my freedom and my children’s happiness. But it is BETTER because I am healthier and see more truth.
    Hang in there. You are stronger than you know.

    • Just catching up! Thank you. I should never have let him back in. It led to more trauma and pain for me and my kids, and cost me a ridiculous amount of money. When we know better, we do better, (Maya Angelou).

  3. Annie said

    Publish this poem.
    I am so proud of how strong you have become through these things you’ve had to deal with; I’m so glad you are writing all this; I love your writings; hearing your story; the way you write. When I went through my son’s bad times — not the same thing (but you know what about) — I felt excruciatingly isolated. Intellectually knowing others have their own stuff they are dealing with; but, that did not lesson the isolation; no one could know — at the time of the happenings — how could I not know my own child to see the gravity; how stupid was I? I felt pretty stupid, clueless, and alone. After-the-facts was easier to talk about; but during, I wrote a lot — to myself; poetry stuff; there weren’t ‘blogs’ or I didn’t know about that.
    Bottom line: I am so proud of you and care very much about you — I hope you know you can always count on me…. at least for an ear, or text (when I’m in Cali — sorry about that btw!!!! re: Sandy.

  4. Annie, You have been there for me all along, and our friendship has grown through both of our “challenges.” I cherish our friendship so much, my dear sister!

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