the last three yearsSunday, June 19, 2016
The last three years haven't been the easiest. My husband and I have experienced our lowest point in our marriage and I have been diagnosed with a multitude of anxiety disorders. For two out of the three years, I worked two full-time jobs and was a full-time student. I think we were very much in denial to think our marriage would "easily" withstand the stressors of us working three jobs, raising two children, in addition to me attending school. That lovely little phrase, "hindsight is 20/20", came to bite us in the ass.
We became very disconnected. Passing ships in the night. We developed a roommate relationship. We went into survival mode. It was all we could do to get through each day. We didn't talk. We didn't kiss. We weren't intimate. That picture that I had of us growing old together, slowly started to fade. We had a zombie like relationship, putting the kiddo's needs first.
Isn't that what you are supposed to do?
A long time ago, when my first born was maybe a year or two old, a co-worker once told me that the her kids were second to her marriage. I couldn't believe she uttered such words. How can she possibly say that?! Let's just say, I totally didn't get it and was even appalled. It wasn't until the near end of my marriage did I finally understand those words.
It was close to the end. Were were in the midst of deciding if we weren't a good fit for each other anymore. Each night after the kids went to sleep, I would leave and sleep at my sister's house. I normally left for work before they woke up in the morning so they'd be none-the-wiser that I wasn't there. I couldn't even be in the same house as him. I needed space and so did he. I began to do internet searches on, cliche as it may sound, "how to save a marriage" or "can my marriage be saved". I kept finding things that were supposed to work and then I'd find articles contradicting the very things that were supposed to work. I felt like I was in a losing battle in more ways than one. Then I found one that was not like the rest. It said if your marriage is failing it is because of you. This left me insulted yet intrigued.
I kept reading.
It said to stop placing blame on all of the wrong doings of your partner and look at what you could have done differently to have prevented "that fight" or "that misunderstanding". How did you fail?
How I failed? Me do something wrong? Seriously? He never listened, he never paid attention. I could repeat myself 3 times and he'd still ask what I said. [I digress]
I kept reading.
The article discussed changing your own behaviors and to change your own outlook to see a positive change....in yourself and in your partner. As hard as it might be for someone as stubborn as me, I made a decision to begin my journey to heal our marriage. So I looked inward and of course, I could have done, said, did, acted, in a totally different way. The article said that the change was within you, not your partner.
After a few nights, I started sleeping at home again. I told him I didn't want to fight anymore, he didn't either. We both agreed that we had fallen out of love, but still loved each other enough to keep on going. We both valued our marriage and took it seriously. We both agreed that we would work on ourselves instead of focusing on the other. Slowly, but surely "we" came back. We became better people and in the process we treated each other the way we did before kids, two jobs and school. We fell in love all over again. Even deeper than before.
Our struggles aren't over. My anxiety disorders brought a new dimension to our marriage that we are learning to navigate. After all there is no instruction manual to this thing called life. So we take it day by day.
...day by day.