I'd like to share with you how to find strength in your relationship through telling you my own story.
It had been a tough few years.
I've known my husband since I was 5 years old, We practically grew-up together. And, after being together for 10 years and married for 9. My husband and I no longer looked like the doe-eyed, fresh-faced newlyweds who eagerly got married on Christmas Morning. We no longer looked like that young couple you'd see at the restaurant completely enamored with each other across the dining tables fiddling with each others hands. And, we certainly didn't resemble the couple who used to stay up all night talking to one another and texting each other all day because we simply missed each other too much to put the phone down.
You can tell that years of sleep deprivation, job stress, and possible resentment had built-up. Little things would annoy us and at times, these annoyances would just be pushed down and buried only to be worried about another day. These foreseen annoyances would eventually re-surface and an inevitable argument would occur (like clockwork) that would leave us hurt and angry for days. As always, we put on a bright smile and were civil in front of our kids. But, it was unbearable. You could feel the underlying tension between us. In some instances, we would see glimpses of our former selves and it would happily remind us of who we used to be. It was US, before the kids, before a mortgage and bills, before life moved too quickly and we lost each other along the way. Back to the easier, lighter days when our relationship didn't seem so forced.
The day finally came when resentment took over and brought us to a breaking point. The day I knew we were broken beyond repair, and there was no way around the anger, the hurt. Days after the argument seemed like a blur. We tiptoed around each other and were completely unsure if we would be able to put our lives back together.
After a flood of discussions, we ultimately decided to work on ourselves apart, hoping that at some point we could find ourselves again. It got us both thinking on how we could ever fix us again, and how we could make things better, stronger. It didn't seem possible, but, we were both willing to try.
As we began packing for a getaway trip with some of our friends to go snowboarding up in Flagstaff, I felt angry at even going on a trip with someone I wanted nothing to do with. But, he insisted that this would help. He quietly packed his own suitcase and I didn't even realize that he had helped me pack my case. He would place items I completely forgot to pack. He carefully laid out clothing on top of my suitcase that would keep me warm, extra items in case my first pair of clothing got soaked by snow. He would do this quietly, without making eye contact because he knew I was I hurting. But, it showed he still cared. I was so engulfed by anger, hurt that I forgot other people were in the house with me. That I wasn't packing items I really needed. To be honest, I really didn't care.
After packing, I got ready for bed, and I got under my covers, and slowly felt myself going into the fetal position. I felt my breathing become shallow, and everything around me became hazy. I felt my heart beating rapidly and in that moment, that's all I could hear...
Thump, thump, thump, thump.
Before, I could stop myself, I fell apart. I couldn't stop the tears from coming out, and I couldn't steady my breathing. I couldn't stop quivering, and I couldn't stop the pain. I felt the weight of my life falling apart, the reality of my marriage came crumbling down. Memories kept flashing in my head, from our first kiss, to the birth of our first son, to our first home together. These were all memories of a life that we had struggled, and fought for over 19 years. The thought of packing my things, packing my children's belongings, and sharing these moments separately, made my heart ache. I lost it. I completely lost it...
Then something made me slow down my breathing, something made me calm my nerves. I felt this pressure, like a hug. I lifted my head, and opened my teary, puffy eyes and saw my husband. There he was rubbing my back, and hugging me. I saw the pain in his eyes, I could feel the love radiate from his arms. I looked at him and suddenly without any explanation, in that moment, I knew I still loved my husband. I knew that we were going to make it through our marital struggles. It would take time, and it wasn't going to be fixed overnight. We still have to work on each other, and do what's best for our family. But, I knew at some point we would find each other again, because of love. Love is what brought us here 19 years earlier...