Marriage. It's like life. And death. No matter how hard you try or how much advice you're given, no one is ever truly ready for it. It's ever changing and you have to be willing to change with it. Standing at the alter, you have no conceivable idea of what "forever" with someone means or looks like. It really is a coin with two sides. You get to decide which side you live on, but sometimes life feels all out of control and the coin is spinning so fast you can't keep up.
Single life surely doesn't prepare you for having to think about how you will only have partial control of how you move forward from now on....forever until you die! When you're single, you can up and decide anything. You don't have to ask for permission. You don't have to check with someone if that's what they want too. If you're faced with a job you hate, you could quit and move to a different state. If you're simply not as happy in a situation or relationship as you once were, you could just move on and start fresh. As a grown up, human being, you can literally do whatever you want and no one can stop you. (Unless you're breaking the law, and then the coppers will probably stop you). But single life, scary as it is sometimes, is filled with possibility and the freedom to explore that possibility however you choose.
William and I just celebrated our 5th year anniversary. It has been emotionally the hardest year of my life to date. I've been DONE. Angry. Hurt. Devastated. Depressed. Lifeless. On antidepressants. I've wanted OUT; to resume my single life where I get to choose how I move forward. I've wanted a divorce. I've felt paralyzed and powerless to change the struggle of the current that holds you under and makes you fight for every breath. You fight for yourself, you fight for happiness, you fight to make it work between you two, you fight each other. And at some point, you're tired of fighting and you just want it to be over. The pain is unbearable and you feel you could not last another minute in this misery. It's no one's fault. Most anyone would be able to relate to either side. Shoot, even you can see, understand and sympathize with both sides. But something has to bend. Something has to change. You cannot continue on this way and single-life has prepared you for nothing more than to back out and move on.
I remember at the beginning when we decided to get married thinking that healthy, happy couples must never think or talk about divorce. That it must not even come to mind or exist as an option for them. And that might be true for some happy couples. But I have to tell you that talking about divorce with my husband was the start of saving our marriage.
THE UGLY TRUTH: We've been in a place where we live with my mom to save money and Will's job has had him traveling non-stop for the past two years. During the time he is away, we have little to no communication. He's missed so much: birthdays, family functions, parties with friends. We talk briefly, mostly updates on the "need to know" and to say "I Love You", which can lose its umph after a while. When he is home, it's for a couple days (all of which we have no privacy, because we live with my mom - totally our doing and we are so grateful to her and she is out of this world great, but still), we don't reconnect and then he's off again. I have mad respect for those that can make the long-distance thing work or those who have spouses in the military. You lovely beings are made of stronger stuff than I am! I have struggled with his absence more than I care to admit. I was even at the point of feeling like it's too late to fix us. When you're that emotionally exhausted, you can't even say for sure that you want this anymore. And after years of what feels like waiting for him to come home so we can live life together, I got really tired of waiting. I began to imagine what my life would be like on my own again. It's the illusion of freedom. And in that moment, it feels like it would be sweet relief. You can't see through the blurred lines of the circumstances and you think that the problem is him. And without him, you'd be much better off. After all, you were young and different people when you got married. Maybe what he wants and what you want are too different now. Maybe we're just really nice people who love and respect each other but we've grown a part and there's no way to remedy the damage done.
OH YEAH, believe me, it's all real. And if you have ever felt this way, I want you to know that you are NOT alone and you are NOT crazy. Most people would feel this way given this set of situations.
So how do you fix it?!
For us, it started with the end. When you've cried all the tears, have a conversation of what you would do if you decided to call it quits. Amicably. Share those scenarios with each other. Then think about every break up you've ever had. Because as hard as those were, divorce would be a million times harder. And it's a harder decision to take back than those on-again, off-again relationships you may have had once. Divorce is not completely, but more similar to death. It's pretty damn final. For us, it helped to know we were both unhappy and that it wasn't one sided. We had to make a choice that we wanted to want to give ourselves a chance to want "us" again. That's a lot of "wants". But when you're at a place where you don't know if you want something to work, you have to at least want to want. Then we decided to do whatever it takes to remind ourselves that we like each other. For us that has meant, eating and drinking and doing every fun thing we can think of. (yes, that means we've gained weight!) William bravely spoke with his boss about taking some time off traveling. Just being able to spend quality time together has been a huge accomplishment for us. And we have found that the more we continue on this way, the more the love that binds us seeps through. The fondness returns. Sweetness and laughter return. Shared dreams get dusted off and revisited. And any resentment subsides.
Don't think for a moment we're experts at this, or even well versed. Our journey back together has just begun. As in, we started at the end of October 2016! There are still days I panic because we're fighting about something stupid and I stop in the middle of it crying, saying, "I don't want to fight anymore! I don't know how to apologize for the fact that you not using my towel is important to me, but I don't want to fight about it. I don't want to be the reason we don't make it." Still hairy days. It has been quite literally a labor of love. Choosing. Even now. But I promise you, it's been worth it! And the love and light that has seeped through the cracks where we've been broken continues to surprise us. It enhances the gratitude and appreciate you have for your mate. Passion is a wondrous thing in marriage, but it is just one of many unfolding attributes to this untamable beast.
Whatever side of the coin you're on in your marriage or if you're single and plan on being married, I just wanted you to be encouraged today that you can find each other again and most things are forgivable when you put yourself in the others shoes. And as long as you aren't causing each other harm, pushing through this place you thought you'd never be able to come back from will make you stronger. Hold each other dearly, love each other deeply in the good times and bad. You can make it through anything! You have to be willing to try and try and try, but it is possible. Always be open and honest even if it feels inconvenient. Give every effort to show how much they matter to you, have no regrets.
May the light and warmth of this holiday season wrap you up in its arms. Remember to be kind to yourself. And be kind to others. Everyone is doing the best they can. Much love to you my darlings, xoxo!
And to my William, I love you with my whole heart for my whole life!