October 12th: The Benefit of the Doubt

I spent many years married to my husband… close to twenty.

And I often gave him the “benefit of the doubt” when things seemed out of place to me.

When my husband was in recovery, I knew that I could usually count on his word… but… when he was active in his disease… I knew I couldn’t.

While our marriage was coming to an end, his behavior led me to believe that maybe he was using again.

I couldn’t put my finger on what I felt was wrong and so I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

I didn’t find out until much later that “what was wrong” was our relationship and why things seemed “out of place” was because he hadn’t yet told me that he wanted a divorce.

When I found out, I thought about all of the times I had given him the benefit of the doubt and I was really quite angry.

But then… I took some time and thought about it calmly.

Why had I continued to give him the benefit of the doubt when I felt in my gut that something was wrong?

Where were my boundaries in this situation? My voice?

It was up to me to decide how many times I was going to give someone the benefit of the doubt before I called them out on their behavior.

I realized that I still had some boundary work ahead of me in my future.

Today, when I look back on this time period, I realize that my husband was fearful to tell me the truth, fearful to end our marriage, afraid of my reaction, and the inevitable fall-out of a twenty year marriage coming to an end.

Could he have handled his end of things differently?

Yes.

Could I have handled my end of things differently?

Yes.

I know now that we both did our best with the skill set that we had at the time.

Today… I know that I must be reasonable when I give someone the “benefit of the doubt” and be willing to address an issue as needed and not just allow it to continue on in a limbo of denial.

“Dear God, help me to be strong. Help me to express myself calmly and logically to friends and family if I feel that they may be skirting a difficult issue.”

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