I have been going along, feeling fairly sure of myself. I was a great mother. A friend to many, near and far. I was a respectable member of my community having run a nonprofit organization and volunteering as often as I possibly could. I was a woman who had withstood trials and tribulations than many folks not even dare imagine. I was superwoman.
Sure, my husband wasn't happy. He was probably depressed. He needed to deal with his issues and I'd just sit here and wait until he wanted to come around. In the mean time, I'd go about my business continuing to be superwoman. Respected by many. Loved by many. Admired by many.
Then a couple of weeks ago, my husband walked into the kitchen, sat down in a chair, laid his wedding band on the table and said, “I want a divorce.”
With those words, I was no longer superwoman. I was a complete failure. What difference did it make if everyone on earth admired and looked up to me? If my husband didn't want me, I was worthless.
I could have just let him go. I could have said, “Whatever” and let him walk out of my life. In a way I wanted to. But I decided that saving my marriage was the most important thing that I could possibly do with my time. If my children could grow up in a home with two happy parents and I was even a little bit in control of that then I would do whatever I could to see that it become reality. I was not going to give up without a fight.
It didn't take long to see a change. I put a call out to my prayer warrior friends and I started giving him the things that he said he needed from me... attention, hugs, kisses, less time on the computer. He wasn't really asking so much. I started being present for him. Together we worked out a plan for homeschooling the children instead of sending them to school. Suddenly we were no longer unschoolers but that didn't really matter to me. My children would be eclectic relaxed homeschoolers with two parents paying close attention to what they were learning and how they were doing... this was far better than having one tuned in parent and one parent totally tuned out.
And suddenly my husband was being nice to me. And it wasn't hard for me to kiss him and hug him and tell him what I wanted and what I liked about him. It was easy to love him. It was easy to give him what he needed because I was getting what I needed from him... kindness, approval and respect.
We still have a long road ahead of us. Our family has been through hell and back over and over again for the past six years really. And two weeks ago my husband made an announcement that could have easily led us down yet another road to hell. But instead it has been a catalyst for change. We are no longer on a road toward divorce. We are traveling a road toward more love, more togetherness, more happiness. And I'm proud to know that my choice to respond to his announcement with love, humility, and kindness has made me a champion in our marriage.
In the end, does it really matter what everyone on earth thinks of me if my husband wants to leave me? I choose to measure success by the number of kisses that this man gives me in a day. The number of smiles he gives me. The number of times he says he loves me and I know he means it. The fact that he's still here. That is success.
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