Do you have an hour? I would need at least that much time to explain all the things I would have done in my first marriage to have prevented my husband from leaving our little family. The damage caused, the sadness and emotional trauma for my daughter, my own heart-break, the hours of sleepless nights, the struggle to regain my self-worth, the lost potential, the excruciating "soul pain," the humiliation, the sense of failure, and on and on - are incalculable. Did I find peace and joy eventually? - Yes, as much as possible. Am I survivor? Yes. Have I gained strength from surviving? Of course. Am I grateful for everyday of my life? Certainly. But if I had a chance would I have done that part of my life over again? Most Definitely! Would I have been less self-absorbed in my marriage? YES! Would I have tried to understand my husband's emotional needs better? YES! Would I have whined less and found more joy in everything we did together? YES! Would I have realized what I had and let my husband know often that I realized it. YES!
I answer this question not for sympathy - only to hope it is a message to those in good marriages (the kind without abuse, but with basic respect for each other - the good kind of marriages that life just gets in the way of) - for those in those type of marriages I would hope the message is to work harder, to not take one moment for granted - to look at life more positively and more hopefully, to openly cherish your partner even in times when you don't feel cherish, to laugh at little things and realize it's all "little things", to joke with each other, to never speak negatively of your spouse to another, and to just metaphorically hold each other's hands as your walk through every phase realizing that you most likely are very blessed.