Demise Of A Marriage: A True Story - Part 1:1 The Inner Yearning

Posted at 14:25pm on 2nd November 2009

What follows is a true story, the real life story of a woman named Megan, who was raised in an era when to be married, to be a wife, was the pinnacle of aspiration for a woman. The expectation that you shopped, cooked, cleaned and raised children whilst your husband worked, played and waited to be waited on was rife. But, on the cusp of the hedonistic sixties, the expectation often failed to deliver.

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Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love . . . Long, long ago, he decided to adopt us into his family . . . Eph 1:4,5


“I’m late! Must go.” James looked at his watch, gulped down the last of his coffee and snatched up his briefcase. “Bye. See you this evening.”

The casual way in which he kissed my cheek gave me a sense of satisfaction; of security; of being “properly” married on this my first day as a “real” wife now that the honeymoon was over. Watching his retreating figure, tall and lean, his fair hair falling, as always, in unruly fashion over his eyes, my mood changed, abruptly. Great waves of panic and home-sickness washed over me, as the front door slammed behind him.

I knew no one in this great sprawling city, was hundreds of miles from the gentle hills and lush green countryside of home, and the warmth and affection of my family. Uncertainly, I stood in the semi-darkness of the flat, which I had barely had time to see since our arrival late the night before. Then, lifting my head and squaring my shoulders, I crossed the lounge and flung back the heavy velvet curtains at the window, in the hope of catching a last glimpse of James as he drove away.

The scene that met my eyes had me riveted to the spot. A uniform grey hung in the air. Thick and heavy, like zinc gauze stretched across the window pane, its density seemed tangible. Almost, I thought, as if it might be plucked to one side to reveal, more clearly, the slowly emerging indistinct shapes of row upon row of tired, grey houses, which lay, like fallen dominoes, on the hillside. Through the closed sash window, a cacophony of noise rose from the street below where James, glancing briefly upward, lifted his hand in farewell before endeavouring to negotiate a steady stream of traffic.

I turned back to the unfamiliar room, despondency weighing as heavily upon me as the smog-laden air of the city-scene outside. We had known one another so short a time, James and I, but marriage, seen from the comfort of my parents’ home, had seemed such an exciting prospect: the epitome of every teenage dream. And despite my parents’ concern and my three month pregnancy, I had longed for just this moment!

Now, faced with reality, doubt and fear crawled softly in my mind. I loved James, of that I was sure. But would this be enough to carry us through?

I threw myself down onto the ruby-red chenille sofa and, for the first time in weeks, allowed myself the freedom of thought. James was the most exciting man I had ever met: a doer of deeds, where I was a dreamer of dreams. Universally popular, he had a natural enthusiasm for life, which communicated itself to the dullest of people, and brought sparkle to the dreariest of days.

“I’ve organised a car treasure hung,” he would announce one day; or, “there’s a point-to-point next month – let’s make a day of it,” and a dozen or more would rally to the call.

I had been jilted shortly before meeting James, and with my eighteenth birthday close behind me, had put up a veneer of hard sophistication to protect my wounded emotions. My behaviour was certainly not that of the “good girl” of my upbringing. Naturally shy, I had found a new confidence with a few drinks inside me and, since our courtship had revolved almost entirely around pub crawls, always in a crowd, it had not been difficult to keep up with James’ way of life.

I picked up a cushion and buried my face in it. Eighteen was no great age but, with an introvert’s tendency to examine whatever life threw at me, I was aware that this pretence, this wearing of masks to conceal an identity which we fear might be unacceptable to others, was probably quite commonplace. It didn’t occur to me, however, to suppose that this was true of James. Why would it? All that I felt was lacking in me seemed present in him.

Before me was a vision of my parents’ happy marriage; within me was a yearning for something more, something elusive and intangible, something barely recognised, something which lurked in the shadows of subconscious like a half-remembered dream. The knowledge that it existed was there; but the harder I tried to pluck it from the recesses of my mind into remembrance, the further it slipped away.

Such a yearning would be satisfied in marriage, I felt sure. Everything I had ever learned of love led me to believe that we are but halves, in need of another half before we might know wholeness. How could I know anything other than this? Why should I suppose that, made in God’s image, we are already created with the potential for wholeness; that if there were any lack in us, any incompleteness, we might be made whole only in him? The inner yearning which I had identified was, I had yet to discover, a hunger – intense and unmet – to know just that wholeness.

Fighting off the tears of self-pity and fatigue that welled in my eyes, I threw the cushion to one side, picked up James’ shirt from the floor where he had discarded it the previous evening, marched through to the kitchen and began to attack the grimy collar with nail brush and soap.

Now read on: In Part 1:2 of the Demise Of A Marriage, Megan hopes that motherhood will satisfy her inner yearning.

© Mel Menzies - All Rights Reserved

Author of a number of books, one a No 4 Bestseller, Mel Menzies is also an experienced Speaker at live events, as well as on Radio and TV.

All proceeds from Mel’s latest novel, A Painful Post Mortem, are for charities benefiting children worldwide. Buy a copy here and help raise cash for children like Rachel, who, at 13 is mother to 6 kids orphaned by AIDS, or this project, drug-proofing teenagers in the UK

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