Tuesday, July 3, 2012

How Will I Measure Success?


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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13 comments:

  1. You are not the only person who has been down that path. There are others. Some I know are bloggers, some I know personally, and some are both. I think we all want to be supermom. We want to make a difference in our world, not just in our homes. But the reality of it is that, we can only do so much and our husbands need us too. I'm still trying to do both, because our area needs me, but I'm just not doing as much. My husband hasn't put the wedding band on the table yet, but I could see it coming a couple of times and I have seen it happen to friends. I caught it before it happened to me. We are also not unschooling as before, but just relaxed. Good for you for knowing what you want. I find by giving those extra hugs and kisses in a day it relieves so much stress in our home? Keep that chin up and be proud of yourself. You are still a superwoman, but you just changed your priorities.

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and for the kind words. I appreciate the encouragement!

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  2. I'm a cryin' hot mess right now, Mandy. I am so happy for you and your family, and will continue to keep you all in prayer. Blessings, precious sister! --DT

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  3. I love this post! Well, not the beginning of it, but the end. You knew that though!

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  4. What a beautiful, honest, transparent and humble post. I hope that it will inspire others to react to such a situation with the same kind of courage and tenacity as you have shown. I pray that you would have continued strength to commit to the journey, and for love, joy and peace to be grow in your marriage.

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    1. Thank you Karen. That is why I decided to write this... to possibly inspire others. :)

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  5. Mandy- thank you for sharing your heart and your struggles. I will be praying for your family. There was a point in our marriage (early on) where it was either decide to divorce or fight for our marriage. I'm glad to say that fighting paid off, and I'm asking God to bless you with the same.

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    1. I'm sure that the fighting did, indeed, pay off. Thanks for the prayers, Aadel.

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  6. Ah - Now I understand some of your posts from a few weeks back. The kinds of stresses you've both been through makes this unsurprising. The wonderful thing is that you both are willing to do the work. A lifetime of marriage takes continual growth and renewal of commitments, but it's worth it, particularly when it began with love. Your ability to keep transforming and growing to meet the needs of your family, and yourself, is beautiful. Lot's of love to your family and lot's of joy. - Serena

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