I stopped being my own person and became an accessory to his life.
I was taught that who I was and what I wanted didn’t matter, except in the sense that I was something broken that needed to be fixed, and what I wanted was probably sinful if it didn’t have to do with serving the Christian faith in some overt way that was acceptable for a woman.
Two shall become one* is not healthy when it occurs on a metaphysical, emotional level rather than being treated as a metaphor for something physical.
It’s not that my husband went into the relationship consciously thinking I’d be a submissive housewife. He just never took meaningful steps to prevent it.
He mentioned, during the day we visited each other’s therapists, that he’d sensed something was wrong. He said that when he started to realize he had an inordinate amount of power in the relationship that he made sure never to make anything sound like it was an order.
It didn’t matter if it was an order. I’d been conditioned to give him what he wanted, and he’d been conditioned to accept getting what he wanted. Ironically, if he’d given me direct orders, my personality probably would have spurred me to rebel much earlier in the relationship.
I always presented him with reasons for why we shouldn’t do X, or at least shouldn’t do X right now, and he’d always counter with his reasons for why we should do X, and why we should do it right now.
He expressed frustration that I hadn’t simply said I didn’t want X right now. I had thought it was implied by giving him reasons why I felt we shouldn’t do X right now, but decided that going forward, I’d try and change the way I communicated.
It wasn’t until later that it occurred to me he also never asked directly if X was what I wanted, or still what I wanted, if it was something we had discussed earlier in our relationship, before legally tying the knot. I was a very honest person and if he’d asked, I’d have told him.
Over the years, seeing that I was ‘unhappy’ (aka deeply depressed and anxious), he’d guess at what was making me unhappy and then endeavor to fix my unhappiness, without ever discussing the matter with me. Maybe on a subconscious level he was avoiding a chance to be faced with the truth.
Now I’m finding that I’m having to make him unhappy by creating emotional distance between us, by no longer allowing him to have almost unfettered access to my inner world.
I have to put myself back together without him in order to avoid finding that I’ve tried to put myself back together within him, where I will inevitably lose cohesion again.
*I’m pretty sure ‘two shall become one flesh’ was just a fancy way of saying the new couple were expected to bang in order to procreate.