As I read Hurt By Love’s post, It’s All About You, tears begin filling my eyes blurring the words on the page and I felt an all too familiar tightness clench at my chest
At the beginning of our life together, things weren’t so bad. Or at least I thought so. Maybe I had to start convincing myself early on that it wasn’t so odd or out of the ordinary for him to act out like he did or say those hurtful things with his jaw clenched in obvious unleashed anger. He was just stressed from work I’d reason as I tried to brush it off trying not to be too sensitive. Maybe it’s just who he is I’d justify as I tried to accept the behavior as normal for him. But the more I tried to reason or justify his behaviors, actions and words, the more my shoulders became weighed down with the burden of making things work.
As the years slipped silently one into the next I became determined to make each new year better. Somehow I kept this little glimmer of hope. Surely the beginning of a new year with it’s fresh start and hope looming large, would reveal the key to having a happy, loving marriage. I prayed diligently that I would say, do and be the right thing because after all, it was all about me changing — or so I thought.
But year after year, the weight of making things better became overwhelmingly heavier on my shoulders. Hope stopped looming so large and finding a fresh start never seemed to happen. Some days the fear of failing once again just became too much and it seemed easier to stop trying — to stop hoping. There was no key to happiness — there were no answers which magically made things better. My time became occupied with wondering what little trip wire I would stumble over on any given day or how many more eggshells would need to be swept under the rug. Those were the things which turned the hand of the clock, causing hours to turn into days and the days into years. Time lost trying to fix something which was not meant for me to fix alone.
I was tired of tripping, tiptoeing and bearing the weight of something which I truly could not change by myself.
Submit more, pray harder and respect fully no matter what — those words whispered in my ear or said out loud for others to also hear, only added more weight to my already slumped shoulders and I was so very tired of hearing it. Whenever someone poured that rhetoric over me as if to cleanse me of my terribly wicked thoughts of leaving my marriage, I felt myself drowning a little more.
I was tired. Tired of trying. Tired of reasoning. Tired of justifying.
Tired of it being all about me.
So the day came when I was so sick and tired of trying — trying to make something work which truly wasn’t about me at all — that I stopped. And on that day — I chose to let go of my marriage.*
I don’t consider myself strong or courageous, but the day came where enough was enough. While doubts would often stifle me, I knew — I truly knew deep in my heart — that nothing had or was going to change. And I knew with certainty, that all which had happened over the years was truly not okay. It had a name — abuse.
The decision to stand against abuse cost me a lot. Some say that divorce is the easy way out. To divorce instead of staying shows lack of faith. But divorce is not easy no matter the circumstances. And I lost because of it. I lost friends, people I thought I’d known who knew how my ex had been towards me and our sons, walked away. I was sadly surprised when some from the church we had attended put the burden of keeping a marriage fractured from abuse together on my shoulders while supporting my ex. I endured hearing the lies about myself spreading like wild fire through my small town and literally having people turn the other way when they saw me. And the worse part was losing the close relationship I’d had for years with my oldest son as he was pulled deeper and deeper into his father’s manipulation turning him against me.
But I trudged forward knowing that by allowing my then-husband back into my life the loss would be even greater to my heart and soul. And I was ready to live life fully no matter the loss along the way.
Some would say I didn’t have enough faith because I didn’t stay and allow God to work a miracle, but He did work in an amazing way — He set me free and that was my miracle. He saved the child who was crying out to Him to be rescued. Isn’t it so backward to think the only way God works a miracle is when a fractured marriage stays intact while the people inside continue to be hurt, and their hearts and souls destroyed? I believe the greatest miracle He does is bringing forth beauty from ashes which can mean destroying something which is destructive in order to save His children and rebuild something more beautiful and amazing than what was.
My heart has been broken many times over; I have cried countless rivers of tears; and I have swallowed my pride while facing those who think little of me because I chose freedom from an abusive marriage. But despite the heartache and loss, so much more has been gained.
And the biggest gain of all has been the freedom to breathe in hope once again!
May we always remember that a relationship should never imprison someone. Marriage should allow us the freedom to be who we are without the fear of not being good enough and allow us to walk freely without the worry of tripping or tiptoeing. Marriage should be a journey we take traveling side by side in harmony with another while building a life together. And today by the Grace of God, I live in a marriage of freedom and harmony. There is no fear of tripping or tiptoeing, no need to justify or reason away abusive behavior — I live in harmony with a man who sees me as more than good enough, who never puts anything in my path to purposely make me trip or fall, and loves me in a way I never knew. And it’s to God I give my praise and gratitude for making beauty from the ashes of my life and showing me how to breathe in hope again.