Monday, February 11, 2013

The "D" Word

My church is doing a series on marriage, and last weekend and this upcoming weekend the topic was specifically divorce.

Wow.

My parents are still married, and so are Jeremy's. Jeremy and I are each other's first marriage. I have no firsthand experience with divorce. But I understand from friends who have gone through it that it is excruciating. And after last weekend's sermon and the Facebook conversation on the Flatirons page this week, it looks absolutely horrifying.

Our marriage wasn't always easy, but we've persevered and found ways to support and love each other through the tough times. Jeremy and I agreed a long time ago that at the first sign of a rough patch, we would get right into marriage counseling. And we have done that religiously. Three rounds in five years, including the grief counseling, if you want to know the truth. We view counseling as the ultimate preventative medicine -- like taking Zicam or Airborne at the first sign of a cold. I realize that counseling doesn't always work for everyone, but it has kept the "D" word out of our vocabulary quite well.

In this moment I am feeling very proud of my friends who are in difficult marriages who are pushing through and fighting to keep their vows. And I know a lot of you look at Jeremy and I and wish you had what we have -- but you know the truth of it, don't you? I know you can see underneath the gushing blog posts. You were there when we separated after a year of marriage. You were there when we left Colorado Springs to focus on our newly mending marriage. You were there when we made the transition to Jeremy being a stay-at-home dad. You were there when we lost our daughter. You know some of the difficult times we made it through.

But you weren't there in the hours that I was sitting on the red wingback chair by our front window on Feb 23, 2012. When I was staring out the window, waiting for Jeremy to get home. You weren't there when he was walking to the door and my heart was beating out of my chest. When he opened that door, and I stood in front of him, and I wasn't sure if he was going to swing at me or hug me.

Right or wrong, any other man might have blamed me for Scarlett's death. I know it wasn't my fault -- the doctors, coroners, and counselors have all beat that into my head. But any other man may have looked at me and thought, She was your responsibility and she died.

Jeremy didn't. He chose love on that day.

Jeremy walked in the door that afternoon, threw his bags on the ground and hugged me tighter than he's ever hugged me. He sat with me on the couch and cried with me until we had no tears left to shed.

And he's been there for me every day since.

In the same way, right or wrong, I could have blamed him for not being there. But I was so thankful he wasn't there. I am, to this day, so thankful that the memory of finding her, and calling 911 and then having to call my spouse to tell him his only child died is mine to bear alone. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy, much less the man who gave me my beautiful daughter. I chose to love him on February 23, 2012 -- and every day since.

A year ago, divorce wasn't in our vocabulary because we worked our butts off to keep it out. Now divorce is not an option because our souls have been laid bare. In our worst moment, we chose to love one another. And there is no breaking that bond.

With your partner or spouse, you always have the choice to love them or shut them out. Sometimes it may be that you are the only one expressing love, and your partner isn't. It may be difficult to express love to someone who has shut you out. But please, take that chance. You'll never be sorry you loved someone -- but you may be sorry if you didn't.

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