Relationships are hard

I wrote this today and showed it to my wife. Her reaction was not what I had expected.

Why am I so depressed right now?  I can’t even think of a reason to be so.  I even had a breakthrough with Hyang yesterday about my atheism.

And yet this is how I feel.  Is it just some chemical imbalance in my head?  No.  It’s my frustration over not being of the same mind regarding this issue with Hyang.  I don’t want to be divided over this.  I want to convince her that christianity is messed up, that there is no god.

But I wonder if that is the right thing to do, or if it’s even possible.  I even feel a little guilty for wishing for it.  I don’t want to take her happiness away and I don’t know how connected that is with her religion.

All I know is that I am sad because of this division, and I know she is too.  I just don’t know how to restore our unity of belief.

Even though it is an unhappy business, I think the best course of action is the one we have chosen.  we need to respect and accept one another, acknowledging our differences while not forcing them on the other.

I thought that she would see the commonality we shared, that both of us were frustrated with this divide and that though the belief systems we hold are different, that the many of the same emotions and sentiments were still held in common. Instead, she seems to have taken my writing as confirmation that I am somehow the enemy and that she cannot have peace with me.

My first reaction was to apologize, to try and ameliorate the situation. But then I thought, what have I done wrong? I was simply trying to be honest about the frustrations that I believed we both share regarding the situation we find our relationship in. We had had a good talk just the day before, and we had agreed to be open and honest with each other, to keep the lines of communication open and to respect and accept each other even if we didn’t approve of each others beliefs.

So, here I am again, wondering what I can do to improve our relationship. It occurs to me now that perhaps it was simply too much too soon, and that the compressed schedule was too fast for her. On the other hand, our problem has been exactly that Hyang’s approach to our problem has been to largely ignore it, which leaves me feeling emotionally isolated and alone in this struggle to fit our two lives together in a congenial fashion. It is so frustrating not being able to figure out a middle way between facilitating evasion and overwhelming her. Honestly, I don’t even know if there is such a third option.

And honestly, I am a little frustrated with Christianity and the ambiguous manner with which it paints people like me, which I believe to be contributing to the difficulties my wife having in figuring out how to treat with me. On the one hand, there is the example of Jesus consorting with the less desirable elements of society as well as Paul’s explicit instructions to not divorce the unbelieving spouse.

At the same time however, the unbeliever is a fool, an inveterate liar, and stands accused of a whole host of immoral behaviors. I can understand the concern and even anxiety this would cause if one’s husband suddenly transformed into such an individual. Add to this the likelihood that not only would such a person not assist you in guiding your children from eternal torment, but would actively seek to lead into said horror. The only rational response to such a situation would be to isolate yourself from this person in the most practicably effective manner possible.

I don’t know how someone is supposed to handle this kind of tension in a “biblical” manner, but it certainly seems understandable that many Christian spouses would feel something akin to being legally obligated to reside with a known psychopath. You might have no choice in the manner, but within the letter of the law you’ll do whatever you can to minimize you and your families exposure. Even if they don’t legally divorce their atheist spouse, they have already emotionally divorced themselves from the person and the legal issues are but a mere formality.

So, I hope that it doesn’t come as too big of a surprise when I express some frustration with how Christianity has, in effect, poisoned the well of our relationship. I have not given up, and will continue to persevere in my efforts towards effecting a harmonious and happy environment for my wife and children, but I do not believe that Christianity is proving to be a boon in this effort, despite claims made in its name to being family friendly.

Check out the new photos

I’ve just finished uploading the 7th installment of Hyang’s trip to Korea, and next weekend should be the last with the last day in Korea and then photos of their return to Dallas. I feel a little sad to see it finally come to an end, but it seems fitting, since it was a two month trip, and it has taken me two months to post the photos from it (not all of them, of course, but the ones we liked). It almost feels like the trip is coming to an end for me, and I have really enjoyed posting them this way, so that it is like I am there with them for the same amount of time. I hope everyone else has enjoyed this as much as I have. I may just keep this up and continue to post other photos on a weekly basis. We’ll see.

Anyway, have a look at the bottom of the page and enjoy this weeks installment and look forward to next weeks exciting conclusion to Hyang in Korea!

Hyang Watch: July 28

Not much to say, so this should be brief.

Hyang has gone to the dentist twice now, but it looks like she’s going to have to go again for even more work. The children are busy with various camps and VBS stuff with their cousins and seem to be having a good time. I don’t think they are having as much of a problem with the rain now, or at least Hyang didn’t say anything about it to me. I’ve stopped writing her letters now that it has finally gotten down to the last two weeks of her stay there. She would probably leave before any later letters were sent to her, so I’m just going to wait for her return.

Sorry I don’t have more to say. Everyone seems to be doing well. I’ve talked with the children and they sound like they are fine and having fun. I’m a little nervous that they aren’t going to be happy to see me since it will mean having to leave Korea and the great time they’ve been having there. I’ll just have to do my best to win them over, ha ha.

Like I said, that’s it. I’ll try and get more information for a better update for next time. Till then, stay tuned for the Adventures of Hyang in Korea.

Hyang Watch: July 16

Not much to say, just that Hyang wasn’t able to do much of anything today because of the weather. Apparently, Korea has been experiencing record flooding. The Chosun Ilbo says that Seoul hasn’t seen this much rain since 1940, and the BBC had this image taken from Busan:
Flooding in Busan
Hyang said that the rain cleared up later in the day, but that there were literally cars floating in the street.

Edit: The JoongAng Daily records that this is the worst rainfall for Busan since 1908, which I think is when they started official record keeping (I believe this is what the Chosun article said). Apparently four have died and two more are missing.

Hyang Watch: July 15

This will probably be short since I just posted an update only two days ago.

Hyang has continued her complaining about the weather, or more exactly, about all the rain that has been coming down. She says that it has been raining really hard on a very frequent basis.

She went to the dentist yesterday for what appears to be a two part exam. The first visit was for some basic cleaning, but she has to go back about a week later and get her fillings checked and possibly replaced. We still don’t know yet how much it is going to be, but it could be around $1000 or even more. Later on while Joel was with his grandmother visiting a relative, Hyang took the girls out to see her high school. She said it has changed quite a bit from when she was there.

Tomorrow Hyang will be going out with a friend to hang out and catch the latest Harry Potter movie. She’s not sure if she is going to go alone or with Serene. Joel is older, but he just can’t handle the drama. She was telling me that a few days back, her and the kids all went out to see Transformers 2, and Joel had to be bribed just to go into the movie. But then, once it started, he had a total meltdown and started crying and shaking, begging to be let out of the movie. Finally, they let him out and he enjoyed himself somehow waiting in the lobby outside. So yeah, I don’t think the latest Harry Potter movie is a good idea for Joel. Now the girls handled Transformers like all-stars, sitting through the whole thing, so I think that taking Serene along might be fun for her.

Also tomorrow, Hyang will be meeting up with a mutual friend of Ji-Hye, a friend of ours who came to Dallas last year. I guess Hyang will be catching her up on what Ji-Hye’s been up to and just general reminiscing on their mutual friend.

As I mentioned earlier, Hyang has another friend to meet up with on Saturday, and then next week things start getting busy. She has a college friend she’s going to meet up with on Tuesday and then the summer camps start. Joel will begin on Thursday, and the girls and Hyang will join in on Saturday for a toddler/kindergartner weekend summer camp (Hyang is a volunteer).

That’s it for now. See you next time when we return with the next report on the Adventures of Hyang in Korea.