I've been married almost 33 years, and that seemed like a long time to me, too, until I recently helped celebrate my aunt and uncle's 50th wedding anniversary. When people ask me how I've managed to stayed married when they haven't, I can't always tell them the secret. It's partly the luck of finding the best friend you'll ever have. But when I think back on our marriage, what comes to the fore is the time we almost divorced.
This was shortly after what has become known as the "Communion Experience," but we didn't call it that then. All I knew was that Whitley was acting strangely, buying alarm systems and guns, and checking the locks on the doors and windows every night.
Then we started having the car fights. Whenever we'd get in the car to go somewhere together (and our young son wasn'tt with us), Whitley would pick a fight with me. He'd tell me all the bad things about himself that I shouldn't be able to stand and use his golden tongue to get me to agree with him, then tell me I that if I felt that way, I should file for divorce.
This always led to a screaming fight, with me yelling that I didn't want a divorce but secretly feeling that maybe I did. I thought he wanted to leave me, but was forcing me to make the first move, because he didn't have the guts to do it himself. Instead, he'd make himself so obnoxious, I couldn't stand him anymore.
When I got married, I wasn't smart enough to pick a doctor or lawyer. I fell in love with someone who wanted to be a writer. But I was smart enough to know that if we parted, I would be back slinging hash again. In those days, I'd never held a successful job. I was undereducated for work that would have interested me and too smart for the jobs I could get, so I always ended up mouthing off and getting canned. I had no parents to run back home to. I envisioned a poor and lonely future as a divorcee.
Finally I decided to have it out someplace other than the automobile. I made sure our son was out of hearing range, then sat down on the couch with Whitley and told him we were going to talk things out. I had to find out why he'd suddenly stopped loving me, why he wanted me to leave.
Thankfully, he had just come to a turning point in his own life. He'd had several hypnosis sessions with an excellent professional and met a group of other abductees, who'd all had experiences similar to his. He discovered that his terrifying memories of strange beings had a basis in reality. This was a huge relief for him, because he'd thought he was losing his mind and he'd wanted me to leave him before he went completely crazy, so I wouldn't have to go through the agony of committing him to a mental hospital. It was one of the most courageous acts I've ever known.
So when I asked him why he'd been doing and saying all those things, he hesitated, then told me, "I think I've been abducted by aliens."
My response was, "Thank God! It's not me after all!" I never doubted for a single moment that he was telling the truth.
So when people ask me what it was like when I first found out about the Communion Experience, I always tell them it was a relief, because I knew I wasn't going to have to get divorced. And after 33 years, I'm still married.
NOTE: This Diary entry, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.