How a Separation Saved Our Marriage.
We were not even 3 years in to our marriage with a one year old daughter when he said he wasn't happy.
"What do you mean you aren't happy? Happy about what? Not happy just today? Or for how long? Is something wrong? Not happy? What????"
We had just had a baby. What was there to be unhappy about? We hadn't been fighting. We didn't have very many arguments at all.
Was this really happening? Was my marriage over? Was he in love with someone else? Could I make it as a single mom? Did he ever love me?
And the more I questioned why he wasn't happy, the more I realized....neither was I. The problem is...happy is hard to put in to words. Happy has different meanings for everyone. If someone could just give us the recipe for being happy, life would be so easy right? We spent days going back and forth before he moved out. The next couple of months were a blur. Depression hit me out of nowhere. I dropped 20 lbs in a month. My 125 lb body was now barely holding on to 105. I hadn't weighed that little since I was 13. I remember crying all night after putting my daughter to bed and then drinking myself to sleep every night. Every night. By this point....I had contacted a divorce lawyer and we were both ready to start the process of legally ending our marriage.
Want to find out who your real friends are? Tell them your marriage is falling apart. Tell them you're getting a divorce. And then try to move forward with your life. I had friends that never called back. I had friends that were convinced one of us had cheated because that's the only reason marriages end right? *insert eye roll* The rumors were out of control.
Ten months went by. Yeah. It was really over. Ten months of trying to figure out how to move on. And then one day....a conversation changed everything.
We fought hard that day. There were tears and screaming and things said we never wanted to say to a person. There wasn't any censoring or suppressing of emotions because at this point....what did we have to lose? And for the first time in our marriage everything was laid out on the table. How we felt about each other and what we had realized we could change about ourselves. The ways in which we both felt we hadn't been honoring our vows. And I think in that moment we realized we had married eachother believing we had married a perfect spouse. Somehow when we entered our marriage we expected perfection but that's not what we got. That feeling that if we loved each other we just wouldn't mess up. "Two people that love each other don't treat each other like that." That was the attitude.
That approach is so toxic. You don't marry a person you believe is perfect. You marry someone you have made a CHOICE to continue loving despite the imperfections. You go in to a marriage KNOWING this person will make mistakes. They WILL treat you unfairly. They WILL mess up. They WILL say things they don't mean. You WILL forgive things you never thought you could. At different points in your marriage you will have to take a step back and re-evaluate what needs work. You will have to look inside and ask yourself how YOU can improve your marriage. And you work on it. Everyday. Both of you.
And we did. And 7 years later we are expecting a third child and have never been "happier". We fight often if I am being honest, but it's different now. We fight knowing this is forever and that these little things are worth the cause. We fight knowing the person on the other end of that bed is nowhere near perfect and that it's OKAY. We fight and don't hold feelings back like we used to which means every day is a new chance to work on our marriage and make things better.
We fight for this marriage.
The lesson here? Society can't tell you what will work for your marriage. Society will make you believe your marriage has to look a certain way or it's wrong. Society will judge you for having an imperfect marriage and making mistakes.
Your marriage journey will not be smooth and if you go in to it expecting perfection of your spouse and someone that will never make mistakes...it will be more than just rocky.
You married a human being after all. A human being that will change and learn and grow and fall down and get back up. A human being with flaws and areas to improve and selfish tendencies at times. A human being that will mess up. Period.
Live your life knowing that all marriages look different and have ups and downs that look different than yours.
Believe that forgiveness can move mountains and you're definitely on the right path