Saturday, 3 September 2016

Dear Husband Thinking of Leaving ...

Dear Husband,

I know that you have been thinking of leaving us.

I don't know if there is someone else.  I don't know exactly when or how you will go.

But I know you've been thinking about it.  Because I have too.

This marriage isn't what we bargained for is it?  It's not a happily ever after.  There's no more spark.

Remember when we used to love each other's company?  Laugh, tease, hang out?

Before sleepless nights and fights over who will get up with the kids.  Before bills that can't be paid and plans that don't work out.  Between exhausting days and broken dreams ... this wasn't what we signed up for, was it?

Or maybe it was.  Maybe they just didn't warn us.

For better or for worse, we vowed.

They like to skip over the "worse" part.  But we know now what that looks like.

Fights about who does more, about how to fold the laundry and where to store the cutting boards. Insidious, lingering fights that lead to tension and snappy, mean comments. 

And silence.  

"Worse" is two ships passing in the night. A marriage that has dissolved into a really cold business arrangement.  Two bodies avoiding each other. Finding their own ways to occupy their time.  Avoiding conversation.

Worse isn't one bad event, a tragedy or a day, although these things may play a role.

"Worse" is a feeling.  A tight gripping around your chest.  A lump in your throat.  A welling of tears that won't go back down.  And then nothing.  A deadness almost, where once there was life and growth and excitement.

So I know that you've thought about leaving me, because I have too.

This life we've built is full of commitments, anchors and responsibilities.  All of them tie us down, make us feel unappreciated, broken.

How did we get here?  Neither of us meant to create this life of burden and struggle.

I know you did not mean to shut me out.  To close me off.  To find new interests.

And I did not mean to lose my body and then withdraw my sexuality and my free spirit.  I did not mean to turn into a judgmental and resentful person.

But we are broken.

Nobody told us this beautiful and holy marriage would break us down into shattered pieces of who we were.

Nobody warned us that this would be the hardest, most grueling battle we would ever fight.

But it did.  And it does.  And that is the point.

You are not supposed to stay with me because it the thing that is the easiest and most convenient to do.

I am not supposed to stay with you for "better" alone.

We are supposed to stay when all we want to do is leave.  When life here is too much to bear.  Too hard, too boring, too unexciting, too stressful, too uncertain, too unsatisfying, too much.

We are meant to be broken.  So broken, in fact,  that there is no semblance of our former selves left.

And then, I think, we can rebuild. Together.  From the ashes we will form something.  Something completely new.  Something that will withstand the fire and wind and the hell that life may bring.

Something that will carry our family through the "worse".

Life fed us a lie Husband, that we are entitled to certainty and satisfaction.

But that is not true.  We are owed no such thing. We are not owed infatuation or ease or comfort.

This marriage is a gift, not because we will always feel from it a sense of happiness, comfort or complete bliss.

This marriage is a gift because it will give us space to be broken (which life will do to us anyways, regardless of whether we reside in a marriage or not).  It will give us a place to share our brokenness.

To connect authentically with someone who can truly say "I am down here, with you.  I feel hurt and shame and vulnerability.  And it feels bad. " 

This may seem depressing, but in fact it is liberating.  These dark places are where we find the deepest, strongest and most intimate connection we can with another human being.  The places where we say, "Can we be broken together?"

And suddenly, like the pieces of a puzzle coming together to reveal the final, bigger picture, we will see what we are here to do, and to be.

I know we are not there yet.  I know that our pieces are scattered and broken and we feel lost and torn apart.

But we would be robbing ourselves of a rich and deep experience if we walked away. We would rob ourselves of connection and relationship.

And so I will not leave.

And I ask you to consider sitting with me a while.  Even if we must sit in silence, staring at our feet on the floor.  Muttering.  Feeling hurt.

It is this hurt, this loneliness, this shame and this disillusionment that tells us ... We belong here.

We are in exactly the right place to bring our brokenness together and discover exactly what this life has for us.

It will be messy.  It will be gritty.  And we will write many terrible chapters before the story comes to a close.

But we will be together.  Broken.  Together.

(For more inspiration and information on reconciling with a life of uncertainty and discomfort, please check out the work of Peter Rollins.  Also, watch the video for Casting Crowns' "Broken Together". 

Also, although our marriage has been very tough, I would never advocate staying in a marriage where there was abuse or violence.  Please seek help if you find yourself in this place.)

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