I am proud of the accomplishment but have always approached the subject with some hesitation. Even as I sit here, trying to put my thoughts into words, I hesitate to fully-disclose my story. But, I believe the truth, not the silence, will set us free.
My only hope is that this story will help at least one other person find their way back home.
Three years ago, I was divorced. Actually, it was three years, four months, and 19 days ago. It was the absolute worst day of my life, and it completed a journey that started years before I even realized it was happening.
For more than a year leading up to that fateful moment, I felt like it wasn’t the right decision. I felt like I should give more, do more, be more (or less, really), so my marriage would work. I loved my husband, but I didn’t like him. I didn’t like who we were when we were together, and neither did he. We tried a lot of things to fix it, but it was broken beyond repair… at least, that’s what we thought.
When I received the papers in the mail with “DIVORCE” stamped across them, I died… a lot… inside. I felt like an absolute failure. I worried for my kids’ future, my future, and their father’s future. Nothing in my life felt right or made any sense.
But, this story isn’t about how the marriage failed.
For 10 months, I worked on myself, supported my family, created new friendships, and said goodbye to a few friendships as well. I mostly stayed at home, wallowing in the emptiness I felt from my family’s breakup.
Then one day, I went to a birthday party for a friend, and she told me her brother and sister-in-law were actively working to fix their broken marriage. I talked to the sister-in-law, and she ignited a glimmer of hope in me that I could also repair mine.
It was a stretch, though, because I believed there wasn’t a chance in Hell that we would get back together. I thought he hated me. After all, I was the one who left.
But, that night, I made a decision. I put my wedding rings back on, and vowed to never take them off again. That week, amid the feeling that I was going to puke, I called him and told him my intentions. I thought the conversation went well… he didn’t hang up on me.
That call was two-and-a-half years ago. It’s been an amazing, challenging, rewarding, precious journey. We are now remarried, relocated to another state, and working every day at becoming better partners.
The whole reason for sharing my story with you, is that I believe there was one critical component in starting down the road back to each other. It was the moment that I took ALL RESPONSIBILITY for the failure of my marriage, relieved him of all wrongdoing in my mind, and decided to love him unconditionally.
It was the only way it would work. And, it did.
Through his rejection, questioning my motives for reconciliation, and moments where I wasn’t sure I could go another day not knowing if it would work out in the end, I kept the end goal in mind. I knew we were meant to be together, and FAILURE wasn’t an option.
So, I loved him. Without question. Without requirements. Without exception. Without feeling loved back (for a while). I. Just. Loved… enough for both of us. Until he felt safe enough to show that he loved me back. And, he did.