There I was sitting on the floor in the middle of my bedroom crying my eyes out telling my husband I wanted a divorce.
I can’t say there was any one single moment that led to that point, it was, however, a culmination of things that often left me lying in bed at night wondering if he and I even still loved one another. There were some days I would look at my husband, and to me, he looked like a complete stranger. *Cue Tamia’s “Stranger In My House“.
In hindsight, I feel as if that was a defining point in our marriage. We had only been married for two years at that time. Yet here I was wanting to throw in the towel because things just weren’t going the way I wanted. Before we wed, I pictured endless days and nights of grand romantic gestures or at least small ones that I could continuously gush over; much like I did while we were dating. But there was nothing. We both were working, coming home to kids, exhausted from the myriad of early days and long nights. We were constantly on the go, so much that we could barely keep things together. Not being able to do so, caused a rift between the two of us that grew and grew until things just fell apart.
It was in that moment of yelling, screaming, and crying that my husband kneeled down and said to me “we’re going to get through this, no matter what”. Of course being pissed off I said to him, I don’t want to get through it, I want you to leave. With a firm no, he told me I needed to pull it together. He acknowledged my pain, he understood how overwhelming life had become and that for both of us, it was obvious we were just longing for the other to make the first move.
But it never happened.
Modern people make the painfulness of marriage even greater than it has to be, because they crush it under the weight of their almost cosmically impossible expectations. -Tim Keller
There were so many days where we felt like we were just treading water. Then there were other days where one (or both) of us just completely sank. Long exhausting hours going to work and dealing with shitty bosses then coming home and literally wiping shitty butts, cooking dinner, and dealing with bedtime meltdowns made it impossible to put anything extra into making sure one another was happy. Yet we each had this expectation that the other would shower us with compliments, foot rubs, premade hot bubble baths, and whatever else it may (or may not) lead to.
Once again it never happened.
It was that night that he and I promised one another that we work to strengthen our marriage and that we would always put each other first-even before our kids. I know that statement in itself isn’t very popular with some people. But I am of the mindset, that once my children leave the home, it is my husband that I will be left with. I don’t want to be one of those empty nesters sitting in silence, while my spouse is sitting in a different room. We both said we want every day to feel like it was the first day we met. Has it been like that? NO! But the fact that we have been making the effort, makes all of the heartache and tears we went through well worth it.
Our life still isn’t 100% perfect. We still argue, as most married couples do. But what we have learned is how important it is for us to take time out for one another. There aren’t deliveries of flowers on my doorstep weekly, no little blue boxes from Tiffany’s and I can’t even say he went to Jared.
What I can tell you is that on Saturday and Sunday mornings he wakes at 7 am and gets the girls dressed, cooks breakfast for the family, so that I can sleep in and will take them out the house for a few hours so I can have alone time. Then coming back home with a Reese’s cup and Mountain Dew, because he knows that I’m on a diet, but they are still my favs. On Friday nights he will call on his way home from work and tell me not to worry about cooking dinner, he has it taken care of. It’s him loading the dishwasher after dinner at night, and putting them up at 5 am, before he leaves for work in the morning.
It’s me making sure every single night when he gets home from work his favorite meal is on the table; and that the kids are already fed, so he and I can eat together. And for those nights that I can’t deal anymore, he takes over even when he has just spent the last 16 hours at work.
Whether he is sacrificing a Bull’s game or I’m missing the latest Golden Girls marathon or Live PD episode (guilty pleasure, don’t judge me), we both have come to realize that in order for us to maintain our marriage, that it’s just something we have to do.
And we are completely okay with that.
Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.