It hurts to confess this.
Many times over the past three years, I have thought this would be easier on my own.
If I just took the boys and left, things would be easier. The bulk of the responsibilities would still lie on my shoulders, but no longer would there be someone in the other room to feel bitter and resentful towards. I would still have little time to pursue my own interests, but not because someone else filled up hours with his own. Things would be my responsibility and mine alone, by the simple fact of there being no one else. That, truly, would have to be easier to accept than this life I currently live, wouldn't it? Easier to be alone and wholly responsible, than to only feel that way?
I needn't share a list of my husband's supposed wrongdoings. I know the list of my own is at least as long. He could reconsider his priorities; I have horrendous communication skills. And we are, both of us, selfish and human.
I find I have far more patience for the immaturity of my children than I do for that of my husband. I also communicate far better with the kids than with him. I set boundaries with them better than I do with him. I don't tend towards either permissiveness or punitiveness with the kids, but too often with my husband I enable damaging behaviour because I don't want to be the nagging wife, and then I get angry and swing to the other extreme, punishing him with my silence and hostility. There are days when the neediness of children deeply wears on me, but more often than not it's the wife part that I really struggle with.
And I catch myself imagining what it would be like. What if I did just...leave? Take the kids and leave a note? A time apart to think, to consider priorities, to establish a set of healthy boundaries before coming together again? I could go back home, spend time with family...I could move near his own parents, a gesture to say I'm not gone forever...I could find my own way, just the boys and I, a small place, we could get by on my modest income from the work I do at home.
Bitterly, I think, that would teach him. He would lose us and then he'd realize, then he'd change.
Last night, I got my wish.
Praise God it was only a dream.
We were fighting - odd enough in itself; we never fight, not out loud - when he straight-out asked me if I wanted a divorce.
I hesitated for only the briefest of seconds before saying, yes.
He left. And when he came back, I had what I "wanted". I was on my own.
As he told me, casually, amicably, I first felt shock. It was over, just like that?
This was followed almost immediately with a feeling of bitterness. Of all the things to take initiative on, he chose this? All the times I had to remind him to do this, prepare everything so he could do that, or give in and just take care of things myself - this, this, he just went out and did on his own?
Finally, I felt a deep and abiding sadness. Loneliness beyond imagination. Ripped in two. We had torn asunder that which God had joined.
We spent, for whatever reason, the rest of the evening with his family. Everyone was so laid back, so friendly, so relaxed. As they talked together, I curled up in a chair, needing no blanket, wrapped in my own shock and loneliness. He was there - right there - and yet, no longer one, it felt as though he were a world away. I couldn't reach him, couldn't talk to him, couldn't claim him as my own, my husband, my darling, who had always been so kind and gentle and loving despite his tendency towards inattentiveness and solitude.
No longer would I be able to curl up against him, to rest my head on him, to be gathered into his strong and safe arms.
No longer would he be there to talk to, that man who had heard my deepest thoughts and shared my daily life.
No longer would he live with me, patiently enduring my own faults, loving me despite my own poor behaviour.
I felt I would never be whole again.
As I woke from my dream, escaping what until then had been nearly a fantasy in my mind, I felt such relief and gratefulness. He's not perfect, and there will always be issues to work through together, but I am deeply blessed to have him in my life. He is patient, kind, loving, and gentle; he desires the best for me and for his family; he is an amazing father; he is accommodating, understanding, and compassionate towards me.
I have married a man. He has weaknesses, yes, just as he has strengths. Just as I, too, have both. We compliment each other well, our strengths accommodating the other's weaknesses. He is my closest friend and constant companion. I am grateful for his presence as we journey through our life together.
No more will I longingly and bitterly imagine my life without him. I am sorry that I ever did so, ashamed and repentant. I am grateful to have been given this glimpse into that reality, the deep sadness and loneliness that follows the tearing apart of two lives joined as one.
I must take my eyes off his weaknesses and look instead to my own. How can I better communicate with my husband? How can I let my needs be known? How can I support and encourage my husband? In what ways am I seeking fulfillment from a man instead of God, as it should be?
Pray for us, if you will. Pray that I will not hold to my self-righteous silence in place of honest communication. Pray that I will not sweep hurts and angers under the rug instead of striving to work through them. Pray that I will not forget the immense sadness and loneliness of having our marriage torn asunder - for I know that the reality of it would be no less painful than that of the dream.