This article was published in Identity Magazine in September 2016
I am a 46-year-old woman who is suffering from estrangement in my relationship with my husband of 20 years. I have been fighting the urge to leave. I have lost all feelings of joy. I feel he is part of my life, like my family, but no jest of enjoying life or love together. He is always depressed and complaining of things and I feel life has taken its toll on me and I am nearing my end. I am afraid of illness, old age and death, which have become the main things that are controlling my life. I lost the urge of seeking happiness after so many tragedies in my life that could take a book to narrate. I am confused and know that probably its early menopause but am unable to kindle any kind of feelings especially that he is reluctant to do anything about it and complaining that I have changed into an aggressive person. He is reluctant to change his flaws (I don’t know if he even realizes his flaws). What can I do?
Dear Divine Woman
Upon reading your message, I was more concerned about you as a person and your outlook on life than about your marriage and feelings of estrangement. This is why I intentionally decided to address you as “Divine Woman”. This is the fact that sunk underneath the hardships you faced during your 46 years of life.
In ancient times, men were infatuated with women and they looked upon them as the essence of life and the extension of divinity. They stood perplexed in front of their ability to express their emotions, to nurture one another, to grow babies in their wombs, to deliver babies out of their bodies, and to nurture their offspring with liquid love from their breasts. They decided that all gods above and below were women; the goddess of the sky, the goddess of the sea, the goddess of fertility, the goddess of justice, truth, and wisdom, and many more goddesses were created and reverenced over the years – thousands of years.
Today, many women forget their legacy of strength and wisdom and give in to social pressures and expectation, which by time erode the divinity within them. This is what happened to you! This is why you are no longer happy! You got caught up in the web-like details of the physical aspects of life that your spiritual essence suffered – and is still suffering.
We get ill when we mistreat ourselves; mind, body, and soul. If you find yourself guilty of ill thoughts, fear, negativity, and metal stress, then you are making yourself ill. If you find yourself guilty of eating the wrong things, drinking unnourishing stuff, and smoking sickening pollutants, then you are making yourself ill. If you find yourself unable to love, to embrace, to accept, and to nurture your soul, then you are again making yourself ill. There has been a lot of research nowadays linking lack of exposure to the sun to vitamin D deficiency, which leads to illness of the mind, the body, and the soul – get your vitamin D level tested.
As for your fear of old age, ancient wisdom has taught us that with old age, comes the beauty of wisdom, experience, and peace. The only problem with the ancient tutoring is that women now cling to youth more than they should and man-made fairytales has linked aging face and greying hair to witches, hags, and evil mothers-in-law. Think of yourself as a graceful being enjoying the different phases and stages of life, think of life as a vast infinite sea and think of yourself as a divine creature gliding over its surface without ever falling under, stumbling, or drowning …. Glide my dear … glide gracefully towards the horizon where we will all meet our end.
Do not fear death and think of all the beautiful memories you have created, and will continue to create, until you set into the horizon like all the ancient divine goddesses. Focus on a legacy of memories and love and consume yourself creating them. The only thing that ceases to be upon death is our flesh but our thoughts and spirits live on through our words, actions, and the lives we touched.
As for your husband, I cannot advise you on whether to stay or leave. Maybe after you start your own journey of restoring your divine self, you will come back, look at him, and fall in love with him all over again. Maybe you will come back after making peace with life and death and what’s in between, and decide that the two of you need to end your physical bond as a married couple but continue to be friends. Maybe you would decide that you want to turn this page and start a new one. You never know what awaits you at the end of the journey of self-discovery and you will never find out, if you do not start.