Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

They say each marriage goes through seasons, and mine is currently in transition after a biting, years-long winter that neither of us could say with certainty would ever end. Each storm brought the same predictable pattern of conflict, and by the time we could shovel ourselves out, a new blizzard was already in the forecast.

Our cycle of conflict was frozen on repeat, our patterns so deeply rutted, that salvation from the bitter cold felt impossible. He yelled at the sky. I went into hibernation.

He chose fight. I chose flight.

The problem with flight is that eventually, you have to land, and when I did, I crashed right into my therapist’s office. I wasn’t hibernating anymore. I was jarred awake, grappling with the reality that my coping mechanisms of denial and repression had me in a perpetual state of survival mode and escape. I couldn’t stand to be present in my own home.

In the safety of my therapist’s office, I experimented, attempting validation and acceptance instead.

I admitted aloud that, at a gut level, I believed my marriage was destined for divorce.

That terrible truth, that secret shame, was exposed to the light of day for the first time.

RELATED: 5 Things To Do When Marriage is Hard

The condemnation of my marriage came out calmly and succinctly, nothing like the emotional tornado that had been wreaking havoc inside. I thought the state of affairs was so ugly that even speaking it would destroy me, my family, and everything around me.

Instead, the opposite happened. The winds exhausted, the danger dissipated, and I was left staring at a debris-littered field, able to clearly acknowledge my reality for the first time.

In that stillness following truth, I could get curious and begin sorting through the wreckage.

Denial and repression led me to this mess, so I leaned on acceptance and courage to guide me home. Disclosing my suspicions of our doomed relationship to my spouse became my next right thing. This time, from a place of vulnerability and humility rather than blame and self-righteousness.  

I set my ego aside, brought my truth to the kitchen counter, and painted my imagined life after divorce for him.

In my divorce fantasy, I answer only to myself. I prioritize making my own dreams a reality and bad vibes are checked at the door of my small, lovingly curated apartment. I have consistent solitude to prioritize my mental and physical health, and I parent with patience, instilling the values and boundaries I find most important, without compromise. After divorce, I never find my “other half” because I’m already whole. I don’t ask permission to have needs, they live inside me guilt-free.

I paused at this point and turned inward, and it was like someone handed me glasses, and I could finally see from a different perspective. With this new vantage point, I realized that those ideals I spoke ofanswering only to myself, taking times of solitude, setting boundaries with my kids, pursuing my dreams, feeling wholewere all needs I could fulfill in my marriage if I stopped trying to control the reactions and perceptions of those around me and took responsibility for taking care of myself.

Divorcing him didn’t have to be a prerequisite to finding me. I could prioritize that right here, right now. 

Twice now, I’d spoken honestly and directly despite the voice inside whispering, Here comes rejection. Instead of destruction, I found liberation. The oppressive grip of codependency around my throat relaxed.

RELATED: What Brought Us Back From the Brink of Divorce

After two months of learning, unlearning, and consistent truth-telling, I’m feeling more connected to my self. The eggshells no longer shatter under my feet, and I catch myself looking longingly at my husband across the room for the first time in a long time. 

Falling in love the first time was a euphoric rush of fizzing chemistry and grand gestures and naive promises of unconditional love. It’s different this time. I’ve learned unconditional love doesn’t mean unconditional tolerance and that I can only love and respect someone else to the extent of which I love and respect myself. 

That never-ending, bitter winter of our marriage wanes, and I can now feel the sunshine of hope upon my cheek with the promise of a stunning spring.

His healing looks different from mine, but together we shelter from the tornado of our own egos. The earth thaws, exposing fallow earth, fertile and ripe for new growth. We begin cultivating it . . . together

Originally published on the author’s blog

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Bobbi Cummings

I’m in the midst of a life unraveling and am very much “Under Construction” while I navigate the messy middle of marriage, parenting, and womanhood. Struggle with me while I work to get out of survival mode and find myself. I saved you a seat in the back of the bus.

Stop Being a Butthole Wife

In: Grief, Journal, Marriage, Relationships
Man and woman sit on the end of a dock with arms around each other

Stop being a butthole wife. No, I’m serious. End it.  Let’s start with the laundry angst. I get it, the guy can’t find the hamper. It’s maddening. It’s insanity. Why, why, must he leave piles of clothes scattered, the same way that the toddler does, right? I mean, grow up and help out around here, man. There is no laundry fairy. What if that pile of laundry is a gift in disguise from a God you can’t (yet) see? Don’t roll your eyes, hear me out on this one. I was a butthole wife. Until my husband died. The day...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, Even When Our Marriage Feels Hard, I Am With You

In: Relationships
Dear Husband, Even When Our Marriage Feels Hard, I Am With You

I promise to be here with you when things get hard. And they’re gonna get hard. There will be nights—scratch that, years—when we don’t sleep. When one of us is always nursing, or rocking, or cuddling, or consoling in the darkest hours of the night. There will be moments when I look at you and feel like maybe I don’t really know you at all, and you’ll look at me and feel the same. We’re going to misunderstand each other. A lot. We’re going to feel unheard and untouched and unloved. We’ll come to realize that the reason we always...

Keep Reading

Getting Divorced Doesn’t Mean We Didn’t Fight For Our Marriage

In: Living, Marriage
Woman twisting ring

I encountered it again and again, from family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances. Wow! What? You? Really? I didn’t see that coming! Have you tried counseling? What about the kids?! (My least favorite.) Does (ex-husband) know? (The most offensive.) I had no appreciation of how interested or even invested other people (apparently) felt in our marriage or family until they found out it was ending. My ex-husband and I used to joke that we didn’t believe in divorce; it was something for other people, not us. We weren’t the type of people who gave up. We weren’t the type of people who...

Keep Reading