Do You Believe In God?
I was married for 10 years. Like any marriage, we had our ups and downs. However, our downs were so bad for my wife and I never saw how bad it really was. Yes, I started to take things for granted. I did not always tell her how much I loved her. I did not always thank her for everything she did to keep our family running. I no longer did romantic things like give her flowers or surprise her with a gift. We no longer went on “dates”.
But, when she announced that she was divorcing me, I still felt like I was blind-sided.
I begged her to change her mind; not for me, but for our children, our family, our home, our dog. We actually had a long history together that started long before we were ever married. I acknowledged to her that it would be difficult for her, but I thought that even our dog would make out better than me if she agreed to stay and try to work it out.
But, she would have none of that. She felt that our children would be fine because they were resilient. She knew that I would be there for our youngest.
She was a breast cancer survivor and she had a recent scare that the cancer came back. On top of that, her father was very ill and in a nursing home back in our hometown. Then she lost her job. She felt like she was not receiving any support from me – emotional or otherwise. She felt like she was unseen and unloved.
So, she went back to our hometown for nearly a month to “sort things out”. She came to the realization that she had many regrets of not doing things that she should have done for herself all these years. She felt that she had given all that she had to give to everyone around her except herself. So, she decided that now it was time for her.
In order for the kids to have a somewhat stable transition, she came back and lived in the same house with me for more than three months while papers were filed to proceed with the divorce. I moved all my stuff down to our spare bedroom in the basement.
We went from loving each other to having a struggling marriage to not even liking each other very much on the verge of hate. Nothing that I did to improve the things that I was able to improve were seen by her as improvements. Each misstep that I made along the way was added to her many reasons for ending it now. All she could do was “see red”.
We pretty much agreed on almost everything having to do with dividing our assets. So, the papers were drawn up pretty quickly with just a few things to shake out.
But, along the way, there was issue after issue that came up and the result was that it actually slowed the process down.
At first, we were going to sell our house and split the proceeds. But, I figured that I could afford to keep the house if I refinanced for enough extra cash to “buy out” my wife. This agreement had to be reflected in the papers and that took time.
I was going to allow my wife and my step-son to live in my house until they were able to find residence elsewhere. However, my lawyer advised me to put a time limit on that allowance. This agreement too had to be reflected in the papers and that took more time.
My wife found a new job, so she would be able to eventually find a place of her own.
But, in the middle of all of this, my mother-in-law back in our hometown was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Since my wife had undergone chemotherapy herself, she wanted to be there for her Mom.
In order to do this, we needed to find a way for my step-son to legally live with me for the remainder of the school year. But, to make it legal, this agreement also had to be reflected in the papers and that took even more time.
And because of my wife’s extended absence from her new job while she was back in our hometown with her Mom, she was let go from her new job.
My wife came back home to attend some of her son’s band competitions. The last competition was the state competition on Halloween. Since she had no more real ties here, the next day she headed back to our hometown to be with her Mom while she underwent chemotherapy treatments.
Even though the divorce was not finalized yet, I planned on following the visitation policy that would be in place for our youngest. Since Thanksgiving was “my” holiday, I planned on taking my son to my brother’s house near our hometown. And since Christmas was her holiday, I planned on dropping off my son with her and not being around during that time.
We came back a day early from my brother’s after Thanksgiving so that we could all go to a movie together. Then we spent the rest of the day at my soon-to-be ex-mother-in-law’s house. When I told my wife my plans to not be around during Christmas, she convinced me that I need to be there for our children regardless of what we were going through. So I agreed to spend Christmas at my mother-in-law’s house.
My wife planned to come back home in early December in order to give our youngest a surprise trip to the Polar Express Train Ride. She made arrangements for the three of us to attend.
When we returned home from our Thanksgiving trip, my step-son had his first high school semi-formal coming up. When he talked with him Mom on the phone, he was disappointed to hear her say she could not come back home for that since she already had plans to come back home the next week for our son’s surprise trip to the Polar Express Train Ride. She knew he was disappointed, so she checked with me first to see if it would be OK for her to come home a week early. This way she could be there for her son’s semi-formal and also already be there for our trip to the Polar Express Train Ride. Of course I agreed that she could come home.
All of this time I had been praying to God to help me do the right thing even if the right thing was not what I wanted, but what I needed. I asked many friends to also pray for ALL of us and I asked them not to necessarily pray for us to get back together, but to pray that God’s will be done. I told my friends to not ever let their own relationships get to where we were because I could not imagine a single thing in life that was worse than what we were going through. I was attending Divorce Care support classes for myself. I told the others in that class that I did not want to be divorced and that I was thinking of not signing the papers when the time came. But, they all told me that it would not matter what I wanted. There was nothing I could do to stop the process. The law would force me to be divorced even if I did not want to be.
Little did I know that since my wife moved back to our hometown, she had started attending a church there very much like our own church. Before this, she had thought that she did not need God in her life. She felt like she was unneeded & unloved. But, the very first time she went back to church, she found herself crying throughout the whole service. She thought she was going back for herself. But, she prayed to God and asked that God forgive her because she did not turn to Him in the very beginning. She was consumed in His eternal love. As each week passed, her hardened heart became softer & softer.
When my wife came back that weekend, I did not see her the first day because I was with our youngest boy at a Cub Scouts tobogganing outing. We got home late and my wife had already gone to bed (in our daughter’s room) because she had a sinus headache from the flight. On her pillow, I did leave her a couple of chocolates that I took from my company’s Christmas party the night before.
next day was Saturday, and my wife went with her son to the other couple’s
house to take pictures of them before the semi-formal. But, later that evening,
we all went to our church for a Town of
And on Sunday morning, we all went to church together. At the point in the service where we all exchange a sign of peace, my wife pulled me in and gave me a kiss. I was totally surprised and very confused.
When we got home, my wife asked me if she could read me a couple of passages from a book that she had read. The book was “The Heartache No One Sees” by Sheila Walsh. After she read the passages, she began to cry and she said that she missed me and the kids and the house. She did not want to be divorced. She asked me if it would be OK if she came back home. I agreed that I thought we could work on our problems. But that night I went to sleep in my bedroom and my wife went up to our daughter’s room.
The next day we had our first real snow of the season, but the schools were not closed nor delayed. So, I headed off for work. When I took my usual route, I got to a huge back up. So, I turned around and tried another route. When I got to the road that would get me towards work, it too was already backed up. So, I turned the other way and tried another route. As I approached the next intersection, I saw that it too was already backed up. I planned on turning, but I slid right through the intersection. At this point, I decided it was not worth it to keep trying different routes to work. So, I headed back home.
When I got back home, my wife was just leaving to take our youngest to school. I told them to get in my car and I’d take him; his school was right nearby.
When my wife and I got back home, I planned on trying to get some work done from home. So, I set up my work computer in the kitchen. My wife set up her computer in the kitchen too. But, instead of getting work done, we began to talk about everything. We talked like we never talked before. We talked for hours.
By the end of the day, both my wife and I agreed that “there is nothing more important – no matter what!”. I went and got her ring from my room and came back to the kitchen. I got down on both knees and I asked my wife if she’d marry me again, not for 3 years, not for 10 years, but forever. She said “yes” and I gave her back her ring.