Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pouring My Heart Out....A Broken Marriage?



I couldn't help but fear the worst.  This marriage is beyond hopeless, I thought to myself.

Was our marriage truly irreparable?  Had I done enough to try to save it?  Could I really walk away completely guilt free, knowing my children's security and happiness were at stake?

Those questions plagued my thoughts every single night as I tossed and turned in my bed.

I tried with all my might to remember why I fell in love with Tim 16 years ago, aching to recapture the once fierce beating of my heart at the mere sound of his voice.  Missing the rousing feeling of butterflies deep inside my core at the very thought of being in his company.

Now, we were just two people living in the same home...raising our children together, desperately trying to keep our sanity in tact.  Survival mode, at its best.

When was the last time he heard me say "I love you", I pondered.  Had he wondered if I meant it?  Did I mean it?  Or had those words rolled off my tongue as easily as, "Take out the trash, please"?

I wanted our marriage to be easy...effortless.  I wished we could read each other's minds, never having to guess at what the other wants or needs.  Never having to ask for anything at all...simple connecting on all levels, all the time.

Instead of coming right out and telling him my concerns and fears, I took the passive/aggressive route...making him watch movies like "Hall Pass" with me and then grilling him afterwards.

"What would you do if you had a week off from our marriage?" I asked.

He shrugged his shoulders and responded, "I don't know, sweetie.  I wouldn't do anything."

Suspicious, I continued, "What do you mean?  You wouldn't take advantage of a FREE week off...you could have sex with any woman you wanted!"

"It just wouldn't be worth it to me.  Why would I want to be with another woman?" he stated, obviously growing more and more uncomfortable with the topic at hand.

"So you're saying that you're 100% content with me...completely happy?  You have no desire to score with the first woman who offers herself to you, even if there were no chance in hell that I would ever find out?"

Nothing but silence on his end.  Except a sigh.  A long, exhausted sigh.

From there, we retreated to our separate spots.  He in the family room, me in our bedroom upstairs.

When was the last time we had spent any time alone, where we could really focus on one another without being interrupted by a child who needed immediate attention?

I honestly couldn't remember.  That's what we needed, I convinced myself.  We need a few days alone together, where we can just relax and have fun...away from the kids, away from his work, away from the hustle and bustle which had consumed us.

So away we went, after a good friend agreed to watch the kids.  As hard as it was to be away from them, I knew our marriage needed this....it depended on it.

After turning the radio off, we talked the entire drive up to the lake.  And then it came out....

He quietly asked, "Do you even love me anymore?  Sometimes I don't even think you like me."

There it was.  His concerns, his fears, his beliefs...in plain sight.

The door had been opened and it was finally time for us to each put it out there and deal with the monster rearing its ugly head.

Were we going to fight for this marriage?  Or were we going to call it a day and make arrangements to separate?

Over the course of the next couple days, we talked...we laughed....we reminisced.

Clearly, there was still a foundation to build on, even though that same foundation had become warped and wobbly years ago.

More importantly, we enjoyed each other's company.  Before we were were parents, before we were husband and wife, we were friends.  And we still are...the best of friends.

A broken marriage?  Yes, perhaps it was.

But like anything worth saving, it needed to be nurtured and rejuvenated, as we breathed new life into our relationship.

It's a constant work in progress, I now understand.  One that has to be constantly regarded and acknowledged in order to function properly.

So, we move forward, on the same page.  Happily and willingly.



"Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new"

--Ursula Le Guin



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54 comments:

Merri Ann said...

Yes. To me that is the is strength of a good marriage ... you have this crappy time ... but neither strays or calls it quits ... you build again on the foundation and move forward...because in the end ... you are best friends. To walk away is giving up too much good.

It is an important lesson I hope to teach my kids. No relationship is perfect. Sometimes it's really great, sometimes it's really bad, but most of the time it just is ... normal... somewhere in the middle.

Thanks for posting this ... it's a good reminder about nurturing our marriages in the midst of the craziness that surrounds us raising our kids. Keeping a marriage strong is more than just a date night.

Kmama said...

Oh wow. This brought painful tears to my eyes. I'm sorry you had to go through this, but I'm so glad you found that the foundation was still there, and began to rebuild on it.

Evonne said...

I can relate to this post. I never realized how much work needs to go into a marriage.

I'm glad you were able to find that foundation and can build upon it.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Marriage is hard work. This post makes me think of the book I'm reading right now - Distant Shores. Sounds like you still communicate well, which is the most important thing.

Jenny said...

life is hard...marriage is work. God handed you this man, and you to him. God trusts you will return him in better condition than he was given to you. Its hard but worth it. Glad you 2 are in it for the long haul xo

Jenny said...

http://ablessedkindofchaos.blogspot.com/2011/07/your-other-half.html

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

I SO understand this. I'm glad that you both were able to hit "bottom" and realize that what you have is worth fighting for.

J and I are having to work hard on our marriage with having three of his 4 still with us. We literally have to choose to make our marriage important so that the kids will respect and give us the space that at times, we really need.

You both need that. As much as you adore your kids, it was just the two of you before them. Find the glue that brought you together from the very beginning!

Loved your honesty. I know you've helped a lot of people.

blueviolet said...

There's no question that it needs constant nurturing to stay healthy. Marriage isn't easy and it does get dull over time, but that's when you have to stir up those ashes and stoke the fire again...just like you did! I'm glad you two are fighting through it.

Natalie said...

You are so right...marriage isn't easy...and with the kids now it just totally changes the dynamic. Thank you so much for sharing, and I'm glad you guys got to spend some quality time together.

Lisa said...

Marriage is hard. We've been having some hard times too but whatever we get through makes us stronger. XOXO.

The Mommyologist said...

I can SO relate to this post! We have been through more ups and downs than I can count...and there are days when I thought we wouldn't make it either. Marriage is SO much harder than I ever thought it would be!

Jenny Lincoln said...

I can SO relate to this. SO MUCH. My husband and I are at the same place right now in our marriage. We love each other but are more roommates raising a child than anything. You are totally inspiring me to try and "get away" to work on us. Glad it worked for you!!

MamaHen Em said...

You are so very right. Marriage takes work and as long as both people are on the same page, it CAN be saved. A foundation is a foundation and something to build on. I love the quote at the end, for it is so very true.

ashley @ ashley's adventures in alaska said...

We don't have children yet, but I can totally relate to what you're going through. Working all day, every day for months straight (summer really is busy in Alaska) means for little time for relationships, short tempers, and no time to focus on yourself to help bolster the relationships. I'm glad you got some time together to talk and remember why it is you chose each other. We get that chance... in September. If we can ever escape from this boat. :)

Barbara said...

That quote at the end is beautiful! Marriage is hard and it does need to be nurtured to stay healthy, it is so hard for me to remember that and to not take my husband for granted! Thanks for the reminder! ;)

Singedwingangel said...

I hear you loud and clear, been there done that wrote the book. TD Jakes said he once asked a woman who had been married for over 50 years how they had stayed together that long. She replied, " There is going to come times when you think you no longer love your spouse, and they will feel the same. As long as ONE loves still in those times that love is enough to bring both of you through the storm. "

What Now????? said...

Visiting from Shell's. This is a great post!! Enjoyed reading it very much.

Shell said...

I have chills and I'm practically snotting on my keyboard from crying. Because I've been there. A few times. And sometimes I think we're there now, too... but I'm too afraid to push and see right now.

I'm so glad that you were able to have that time together and see that you have a marriage worth working on. xo

Minivan Mama said...

How a couple survives the bad times defines them. Good for you realizing that it takes work and it can get better.

wonderchris said...

I'm so glad you made it to the lake!

This was a painful read, but tears of relief and happiness followed.

January Dawn said...

This hit me in the heart. It's a relief to know that every couple goes through these peaks and valleys....some valleys deeper than others...some peaks higher. The most important thing (for me) is remembering what I want for my children. John and I both come from divorced families and it's the last thing we'd ever want to put our boys through. That being said it takes a LOT of work...and you're so right - having time alone to remember who you were as a couple before kids blessed our lives is incredibly important. Thank you for being so open once again Helene.

This Daddy said...

You know ever since you did a post about Tim calling you over and over from the store (Tracy read it first and made me read it) I have been a huge fan of your family. You, Tim, the kids. I am glad you neither of you quit trying and you will continue to work on it all. And if you dont work on it, I will personally fly out there kick your ass and then come back to tell about it. Be kind and rewind to your happy place. Live, Love and annoy.

Peace out.

Jennifer said...

I think it's fantastic of you to share your story with us. I would imagine it happens to a lot of couples out there (myself included!) and it's not easy, especially with the daily grind and kids. I'm glad you guys took/are taking your marriage into your hands and working it out. It's so easy to give up, but it's worth it! :-)

Dena Soileau said...

I have been married 25 years and have 5 grown children to keep our marriage strong when they were young once a year we took time for our marriage and each other it does work wonders.

Babygirl said...

I love your ability to share, and I love that you are so brutaly honest. I know that as I enter a new marraige, I greatly appreciate this, and I can only imagine how many others out there appreciate this and are taking something very meaningful away from it. God bless you!

Twins Squared said...

So brave of you to write this! I feel like most of the time we are just going through the motions. Nothing bad really, which is why I don't think of divorce, but just blah. I find it much harder to focus on the positive these days. The negative seems to just jump out at me at every turn. And ever since kids I have often felt like it is us vs him. We do go out once, probably twice now, a month. I think that helps a lot.

Having seen how horrible my 4 siblings/step-siblings have all turned out, all I think because of the mere fact that they are products of divorce, makes me resolved to never put my kids through that unless there is abuse or something involved. But then does that mean you are stuck? Not really fun either.

I find most of all that we are closest when we make Christ the center of the relationship (which is often hard to make that effort) but it humbles us and brings us on the same page. I recently read the Power of a Praying Wife and I thought it was great. Very quickly I saw certain changes. Of course I have to keep praying if I want those changes to stay. And this week at church we talked about marriage and how that really is the GREATEST of all of our earthly relationships and how we shouldn't always put our spouses needs behind our kids. When they are little (and coming out 2 at a time) that was pretty much impossible, but now that mine are getting older I can surely find ways to suit his needs (other than at night!!). In fact, he has been wanting to redo a certain room in the house and I've been doing others first and I just decided to give him a room and start the process, because it's one of the only things I can actually do for or give to him.

Anyway, love the quote at the end. So true. Glad you two had the getaway that you needed.

Twins Squared said...

One other thought - giddy love/passion fades. I have always thought that yeah, we could divorce and I could look for that again. Ultimately, if I ended up with someone else I would just be trading in one set of problems for another, plus the whole mess of what it would do with my kids. It is so not worth it (in my opinion - not judging anyone, just speaking on my own family experience). Marriage is ordained of God and I think in most cases He wants us to work together, learn, grow, sacrifice, etc. Our society is all about the here and now but I don't think that's what our Heavenly Father deems important.

Okay, I'm done with my book now.

Lauren said...

Wow, so powerful. Thanks for being courageous and sharing with all of us.

Love is a choice we must make each and every single day. If we rely on the feelings and emotions of love our marriages will surely fail.

Heather said...

Can totally relate! I know children have made a huge impact on our marriage, and it is hard. I'm glad you guys got some time alone together. Loved your post!

Shelly - Tropical Mum said...

Every marriage has its ups and downs. Getting away for a couple of days without kids recently, made me realise that we really do enjoy each other's company. It sounds like you have realised this also in your relationship.

Good luck, I hope that you have more opportunities to spend on your own to keep the fire alive and keep those butterflies aflutter.

Missy said...

SUCH a great post, Helene. And I don't think any marriage that "stands the test of time" doesn't have these things happen. You are right. It takes work, a LOT, but it is so worth it. Thanks for having the courage to write about this!

Aimee said...

Great post. After 25 years we are still working as hard as ever. First it was the children and now the grandchildren...but work can be rewarding. Thank you for putting it out there in a way that allows women and men to know it isn't "just" them.

Adrienne said...

Oh! Marriage is so hard! I'm so glad that the two of you can communicate! That's such a key that you have! SO many couples don't ever make it to the weekend you did. What a blessing you did!

Emmy said...

Yea! So glad this had a good ending- or beginning in some senses. People give up on marriages too easily sometimes. It is work- but it is worth it.

Karen Peterson said...

Helene, I have to admit that I worry about you guys sometimes. I'm so glad that you took some time to do what you needed to do and that you were able to find the answer you needed. I hope the best for you guys. You really are both so great.

Jen said...

Reconnect and put some effort into your marriage. Its hard but so so worth it.

Jessica said...

Wow, what a brave post. Glad that you are reconnecting and finding your way together. I hope things continue to become stronger.

MommaKiss said...

I've had this very same conversation. The questions. Do you love me, even like me. And we talk it through. Marriage is hard work. But us? We're all willing to put the effort in to work.

Amber said...

I can't say that I know anything about marriage, but I do know that it takes a lot of hard work. A lot of hard work that not many people are willing to put in anymore.

This was a great post, and I hope anyone that is questioning their marriage comes across it or takes a minute to think of those things. :)

Di said...

There have been occasions where I have told my husband that even though I love him I don't like him very much at that time. Marriage is so hard and it takes constant work. You have to take the good with the bad and hope that the bad times pass quickly!

Zeemaid said...

Thank you for sharing this. I was so worried at first as I was reading this that everything wasn't going to be okay. I'm glad you two were able to connect again and so glad you took the steps to get the time away together.

I've gone through stages where I haven't liked my husband very much and it's amazing how two people can get locked into a sort of ambivalence and never say anything to the other. After watching the train wreck Jon & Kate + 8, it sure made me realize how much more we need to be respectful in how we talk to one another. Snapping and taking each other for granted is not okay just cause we're stressed over the kids. Very important to show the love if we want to be loved back.

I'm so glad you found your best friend again!

Tiffany said...

First I want to thank you for sharing this post with us. I wondered if it was going to end in separation but I knew there was something still there the more I read.
Marriage is a tough thing and I have been there too. If it's built on a strong foundation, it can weather almost any storm. You are blessed to have a husband who willingly opened up his emotions. Most husbands continue to ignore their feelings because they are taught from the time they were little boys to not show emotion or weakness.
I'm happy for you that it has turned out so good so far.

Kristen said...

Yeah, well now I'm sitting here crying at your post. So how is that for fair play?
I think I relate because we were both blessed "special" twice. Most people say... having _____ was the hardest thing I've ever done. (And it usually is in terms of their marriage) I've heard it from my twin moms and I've heard it from my fellow soul mates in the WHS world. Well, you got twice the blessing with twins and I was twice blessed also.

Truth is... sometimes I am scared for my marriage. The stress... the pressure... And, I find - that like you - even a night away gives us a refreshed "clean wash." Ray would DIE if I ever posted a blog post like this - so thanks for completely reading my mind.

Have I told you that I LOVE your blog? ;)

Kristen @ www.alittlesomethingforme.com

Jenny said...

You are so awesome for sharing this. Most marriages (probably all) have struggles and I'm sure you are helping tons of people know they aren't alone!

Jessica said...

I think it's very brave of you to share this story. I think all marriages post-children go through their fair share of challenges, and many marriages do not make it. It can be that tough. Those that survive only do so because the two people committed to that relationship believe that there's something there worth salvaging, something worth seeing again.

I Am Not Superwoman said...

Great post! My motto is anything worth having is worth fighting for. Thanks for sharing this!

Tiffany said...

Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt. In a few different sizes even. :)

Anything worth its salt is worth fighting for. I remember when it finally hit me that marriage takes work. A lot of work. It changed the game for me.

Your honest is plain awesome.

KSK said...

I love the quote at the end. Jerk Face and I need a getaway.. badly. We're getting to that point, I think... and I need to fix it - stat!

Holly said...

It's easy to fall into the routines of family life, focusing on the children. One time, my husband told me he felt like we were roommates. I'm glad you both are fighting for it!

PLU said...

Brave of you to share. thanks :) We are going thru a great book... her love his respect it has done great things for our marriage. God bless!!

"Cottage By The Sea" said...

You are a wise and wonderful woman. Grace is what keeps a marriage together and constantly working on it is what makes it good or bad. Keep making those opportunities for time alone to be with the man you are married to. It will save your friendship, and your love. Someday it will be just the two of you again and you don't want to look at each other and say, "who the hell are you?" Thanks for being so honest. We've all been there.

Christina said...

We went through that at the beginning of the year. We were in a tough spot. We spent one night together, I romanced him on Valentines Day....ever since then our relationship has been stronger. Sitting back and looking at what's most important, who got you to where you are now. Before kids, before all the BS. Its hard to keep it alive, but you have to at least try.

Jodi Truscott said...

Wow ~ I just lived this....I too got teary just reading it. Been there, been there, been there. Sadly - I went the "let's emotionally and almost physically reconnect with a jackass former flame from high school and let him do a number on your sense of 'belonging' and then watch him freak out and bail when your hubby found out" route. More power to you sister for finding out what really was going on and trying to work through it.

"Cottage By The Sea" said...

Marriage is like that. But, very few who make it through wouldn't say it wasn't worth it. Keep nurturing it and it will continue to grow. Ups and downs yes, but the downs get fewer and farer between once you start figuring out that nothing stays the same.

I re -followed you now that I've figured out you changed your domain name. Your blog looks so great and by the way, I'm exactly like you regarding change. One more reason your marriage will last forever. You'll hang in there through the rough patches and be stronger and better for them in the end.

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr



 
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