I don’t know…and that is perfect

me, 39.5 years ago

This past year has been a huge one for me. Usually, a lot happening in my life means that I write more often, but what I have been living has so intimately involved other people that I couldn’t share it here on the blog…the timing never seemed right. It is time.

For several years, Jack and I had been complacent about our marriage…to the point where we’d talked about splitting up. I wanted to move north to live closer to my son and his family, and Jack, although he didn’t specifically say this, wasn’t enthusiastic about the move. We floundered for a long time…not really together, not apart.

Last spring my oldest son, Tom, asked me what was going on with Jack and me. I couldn’t answer with anything but, “I’m not sure what Jack wants”. Fortunately for me, my sons do not accept my answers, when they have no depth, and he replied, “What do you want, Mom?” I couldn’t answer him. I wasn’t sure. I knew that I didn’t want things to continue as they were, but I also dreaded another divorce.

I’d been married twice before Jack. The first time I was 20 years old, and I knew it was a mistake…I did it anyway. After 17 years I got the courage to leave. My second marriage was very short-lived and happened right on the heels of the first ending. I met Jack less than a year after my second divorce in 2000.

So as I pondered my son’s question, “What do you want, Mom?” I felt at a loss. What I really wanted was a good marriage; a wonderful partnership with a man, but I feared that this wasn’t something I would or could have. I didn’t think I possessed the magical quality that made a good wife/partner.

I grew up in an unhappy home. My mother was highly critical of my father. I don’t remember her ever saying one nice thing about him. My father, although very friendly and social outside our home, was shut down emotionally, and escaped with alcohol and other women. The atmosphere of my childhood home was one of disappointment and anger, and deep down I believed that I was doomed to live out the same…change the man, change the town…it really wouldn’t matter. I sensed it was too late or maybe impossible for me to have the kind of life that I had wanted since I was a little girl.

I asked Jack for a divorce last summer. It just seemed like the logical thing to do. He said he didn’t want that, so I asked him what he wanted and he, just like me, couldn’t really say. In the meantime, I had begun to let Jack go. I even said to him, “I’m not sure what you want, or even if you should want what I do, but I am going to stop trying to change you or get you to line up with my dream.” I think he felt relief …and I didn’t blame him. I had been extremely critical and unsupportive, so me taking my attention off him, I’m sure felt good.

I began to walk miles a day. I lost some weight and also started doing yoga. I felt happier than I had in a long time. Jack and I weren’t any closer but it was OK with me…and apparently with him as well…we’d even stopped wearing our wedding rings.

Then in late July, I found out that another woman had come into Jack’s life. I discovered emails that they had exchanged and I knew that they had also met in person. I wrote about this last August on the blog, but never said specifically what the situation had been. I couldn’t write it at that point. When I found out, I was alone in our home. After talking with my son, Matt, and calming down enough to breath, I called Jack and said, “I know about H…. and I am leaving”.

He said, “That was the biggest mistake of my life. Please stay home. I’ll be right there.” 5 minutes later he walked in the door and asked me to stay, but I had such an eerie, cold, calm feeling happening inside me. I was cut off from life. I felt almost dead, and “in control” at the same time. I told him I was leaving and he was free to pursue that relationship. He said he didn’t want to, but I knew that he and I were over. I got in my car and drove to Tom’s house. My son Matt was also visiting at the time, so that evening, Tom, his wife Lindsay, Matt and I all sat around their living room and talked. They loved me at a time when I really needed it, but I was filled with a firm resolve to leave.

I went to bed that night but was unable to sleep at all. At some point I finally asked for help. I asked my higher self to show me the Truth of the situation and to show me my part. I asked to stay open and to not get hard. Then I saw it. I saw how I had become toward Jack the same person that my mother had been toward my father: cold, dismissive, unavailable, nagging, unsupportive. The revelation made me sob. And then, it broke. This hard shell that I had carried for most of my adult life broke off. I called my sister at 5 a.m. and told her everything including my revelation. I didn’t know what she would say but I knew she’d give me an answer from her heart, not her head. I told her that I wanted to go back to Jack. I wanted to tell him what I saw in myself and ask for forgiveness. I couldn’t believe this was how I felt. I’d always considered myself to be a proud person…to a fault, but here I was in the face of what seemed like a huge betrayal on his part, asking for his forgiveness? Yes.

I headed back home that morning not knowing if he’d be there or not, but I knew that I had to do it. I drove into the driveway and he was standing outside with open arms…and his wedding ring back on his finger. I went inside and put mine back on too.

We began again.

Today is April Fools Day. I’ve been writing for several hours and hope I can post today but I need to run it past Jack before I do. It has to be OK with him too. I hope it is because I think this story, our story, needs to be told.

So here is the “fool” part for me. I never wanted to be made a fool of. For so much of my life I feared not being taken seriously or looking bad. I feared the unknown. I feared getting hurt. I feared I was unloveable. I feared I couldn’t really love. I feared that in almost any situation I went into, I wouldn’t have enough information and I’d look like a fool. So when all of this happened, and I realized that I knew so little about being an intimate partner, or about my partner’s needs, I opened up and allowed myself to be taught. I knew that that I didn’t know what I was doing, but I wanted to grow….and I have.

After Jack and I got back together, I could not forget what I’d read in those emails…especially hers. At first the pain was so intense that I thought I’d burst, but as my heart opened more and more, I realized that she was teaching me…she said things to Jack that I never did…even when I thought them. I didn’t “copy” her, I just learned and realized what I hadn’t done by seeing/reading a living example of kind, supportive, communication. It was a blessing to have these words…not to my ego, of course, but that was OK. At times I felt humiliated but knew deep down, that I, the true me, wasn’t injured. I also sensed that this was all happening “for me” not “to me”… no matter how hard it was at times. I also knew that this situation had the potential for awakening all 3 of us.

Over the last 8 months, I’ve said a silent thank you, hundreds of times, for all that happened. Without it, I don’t know where I’d be today. Would this opening have occurred without the trauma? I don’t know, but if I could rewind time, I wouldn’t change a thing. Spirit did for me what I wouldn’t (or couldn’t) do for myself and I allowed the change. I allowed the “blow” to break me open, not harden my shell even more. I feel like a good wife and a good partner for the first time in my life. The situation changed Jack too…we are both more humble, more grateful, more in awe of how Spirit works in mysterious ways. We are learning how to love.

I just finished reading this to Jack. It is difficult to expose ourselves in this way, but we both agree that it is time. We’ve opened our hearts to each other, and now we open our lives and our hearts to you. Our wish is that you will find something in our story to help you open up, or stay open, too.

Much love,   Mary and Jack

“Our task is to dissolve the imaginary self and live from our real center of being. That is the only way to human health. But it is the sure cure. It is like removing a distorting blanket from a statue, enabling us to see its true form. I find the greatest single barrier to attaining this is man’s secret assumption that he already knows the answers to his problems. Bu we all sense this pretense. Millions of unhappy people make this false assumption, but do not see it, thus freezing their potentialities for happiness. A tremendous power works for the man who meets a challenging problem with the honest admission, ‘I don’t know the answer.'” 

page 22, The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power, by Vernon Howard




30 thoughts on “I don’t know…and that is perfect”

  1. Mary, I had a sense that all was not well in your world and how in the world can you try to inspire others with your words when your world is turned upside down. And yes, with all respect due to Jack and yourself for being so open now with this posting. None of us live in a perfect world. None of us are perfect within ourselves. Thank you for having the courage to write the words you did, so openly, so honestly.
    SandyP, in Ont.,Can.

  2. Bless you and Jack for sharing this. You mentioned humility, which is the first step toward so much that is good. What a beautiful time for renewal. Sending you hugs across the internet….

  3. WOW!~ Thanks and God bless you for being so transparent. I too had a bad marriage to Bill Frye and suffered from it. But fortunately, I was able to get some good, I believe, Divine counsel to help rebuild the woman I was. The woman as God saw me! It was an amazing transformation and helped me make good ground for my marriage to Chris. Which will be 35 years April 23. Most of those years very fulfilling and I thank the counsel I got. Isn’t amazing the influence our home life as children has over us? Thank God we can change. So happy you were enlightened and you and Jack are back on track, or maybe even a new and better one!

  4. Mary, thank you (and Jack) for your honesty and openness. You are courageous. You are my teachers. Your love is gift to this world.

  5. Wow, Mary, thanks so much for this loving, caring story. The sincerity and honesty to lay this all out for us is most helpful. My husband, age 91 l/2 just recently passed over. We are having memorial and burial this coming Thursday. Your words are helpful and healing. There have been some distance between us for many, many years and I need to more than reflect on this. He was a good, honest man, gentle and courteous always, but son of alcoholic father and very dysfunctional family, so his safety was to withdraw and now allow emotional scenes, so would not confront. So with all of that and my inability to crack that for us, I withdrew too and we basically lived decent, but separate lives pretty much. Your words have been cleansing and helpful.

  6. I wondered where you were, now I know. Thanks so much for sharing this. I cant tell you how much I appreciate your honesty.
    All of the best to you and Jack

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

  7. Believe it or not I was just thinking of you this morning and also wondering where you went. Honest. Such beautiful sharing. I wish you both the best. it seems you may have found your secret. :>

  8. Hi Mary, I’ve been waiting for a post to know all was well with you, even as I knew all is always well with you because of how you see things. How you see things has helped me get through my own difficult moments. Reading about you and Jack is a blessing on Mike and me. Thanks as always, and many thanks to Jack, too, for sharing. Love, R

  9. Dear Mary and Jack,
    The metaphor of breaking open, of a hard shell cracking, is a powerful and not uncommon one when one experiences a personal revelation. Letting go of the protective shell that we build for ourselves in the waxing part of our lives is essential as we enter the waning years of our lives. If we cannot or will not break free, the waning years become very difficult. A few years ago I had the experience of my heart breaking open, like an egg cracking. It was so liberating to stop closing myself off from others on so many levels.
    All I can say is Rejoice!!! and I am so glad that you are together.

  10. Mary — when Ken and I met with you the first time (you were his birthday present, if you might remember!), you said you sensed that he was opening up and “flowering” in our new relationship. And so it has been — we have both had to open up, discover our true selves, but we know that our love is so special we must always nurture it. I am so thankful that you and Jack are having a new beginning, and that your marriage is now “flowering” for you. We none of us go through it without pain, but the pain often wakes us up and allows the joy to fill our hearts…..please know we are thinking of you both, and are so glad to hear from you. Ken and I have a great deal of gratitude for you and your wise counsel — and for your honesty. This time, we thank you and Jack for your open honesty to the world.

  11. thank you for your honesty, your sharing, your humility. . . .when we tell our truth, we know that we are all the same. . .struggling in this life, our journey, to become as fully human as we can be. . .which, to me, means as loving as we can be. I embrace you both and hold you in my heart. . .

  12. Dear Mary and Jack,, thank you for such a heartfelt, honest and enlightening post. I admire not only your bravery in sharing it, but your willingness to move past old patterns and begin a-new with a fresh perspective. Marriages can be one of our wisest and hardest teachers. I applaud you both for seeking peace and harmony over discord and unrest. Blessings to you both.

  13. I shared your post with my sister Mary and she suggested you might want to watch the movie The Shack. We were also raised Catholic like you and put God in a box. I saw the movie with my granddaughters and husband and it was very enlightening. Please let me know what you think of it if you see it!

  14. Wow Mary. Thank you so very much for you andJack’s story. We have a lot in common. My husband and I know Jack from the store and I always ask about you. One day we have to meet in person. You are my Hero and I am very grateful you are in my life.

  15. Hot diggidy dog for all the love in your life; children, sister, Spirit, Jack and especially self!

  16. Wow Mary….your honesty is just what we need in this world. I am so proud of you for talking about such an intense issue and taking ownership. We are only as sick as our secrets. Your post has helped me see so many things and I want to thank you for your honesty and INSIGHT. Wow, you are amazing! I had been wondering where your posts have been and lo and behold you post this which helped me a lot and I’m pretty sure helped countless others. Thank you, thank you, thank you….I am very happy for you and Jack….❤️👍❤️

  17. Thank you, Mary, and thank you to Jack for sharing your story. I had missed your posts and am so glad that you are in a “good place” now. Thank you for your honesty and I think all of us reading the post today have come away a little wiser.

  18. Dearest Mary & Jack,

    You are amazing! An inspiration to us all
    Thank you so much for sharing your dedication to each other, your courage, faith, trust ….
    I am so happy for you
    Infinite joy, blessings, hugs & love,

  19. Very brave Mary. I think your story will touch many many people and give them hope. Thank you and bless you both.

  20. Mary – With heartfelt appreciation, I thank you for writing this, and Jack, for approving the posting. You are very brave to share this. There are many lessons here and you have likely made many people stop and think about the relationships in their lives. What a blessing!
    Love and hugs, Pam

  21. Dear Mary and Jack,
    Thank you for sharing your story, your life. It seems that the most difficult struggles of life are what open up our souls to one another. I pray for healing and brokeness in equal measure. Terri

  22. Dearest Mary, your selfless generosity (and Jack’s!) in sharing your story is a gift to us all – your wisdom, your humility, and as many others have already said, true courage and bravery to be so open – this will be read more than once by me, for sure. To think that our own difficulties in relationship, when shared with others as you have done, can actually be agents of change for others too. The ripple effect I guess? Seeing that little stone drop into the water, all of your lessons learned, wisdom shared, pain and all, but as it ripples out to us all over the ‘farm’, you are helping us to seek more fulfilling, authentic relationships. Thank you dear ones. Cherish every spring day as an affirmation of new life. We are all sending you love!

  23. Thank you for these words. Your humble teachable spirit is like nothing I’ve ever witnessed. Your story blessed me in ways for which there are no words. May the two of you enjoy many years of good health together.

  24. Dear Mary, Sorry for this late comment to your blog. I got a little behind on my emails. But wow what amazing healing you and Jack are getting! I am so blessed by your honesty and ministry. What a beautiful blessing for you and Jack. All I know is that God’s timing is perfect and look at what a beautiful future God is giving you and Jack. Thank you for blessing all of us with this.

  25. Dear Mary (& Jack),
    I think you are brave to share your story– but look how it’s been received! Indeed you do minister to people… even those who don’t know you. (Although a blog may be more real than other encounters– like my style of “hit and run” a la cocktail parties!)
    Make sure the journey is fun too, but knowing you guys, it is and will be!

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