On the Edge of Divorce
I wrote these words with the intention of encouraging any man or woman to consider carefully the fallout caused by divorce. Choosing divorce may be a personal decision, but it affects many people; family and friends.
Please don’t misunderstand; I am not in any way considering divorce from my beautiful bride. She's stuck with me until I die! :)
A few weeks ago my little boy entered the house with a downward stare. His chubby red cheeks smudged with dust and sweat, he attempted to slip through the living room without attracting my attention. A simple question stopped him in his tracks, “What’s going on little buddy?” He turned his back to me, arms tightly crossed, his little feet firmly planted and said, “Nothing… dad.”
I realized it was going to take some careful prodding to get the story out of him, so I proceeded with caution. After convincing him to crawl up on my lap, he recounted the events that had upset him. It seemed that in his 3 year old perception of the world he had been terribly wronged by his little friend Austin. The affront was so severe that he concluded that he could no longer “be his friend.” Austin had taken his favorite truck without permission and broke it. To my boy, this was an unpardonable crime.
After a few tears, he clinched his fist and proclaimed, “I am never playing with Austin AGAIN!” I reminded him that Austin had been his best friend since he had started walking. After a few words of encouragement and a reminder of times when he, too, had broken a few of Austin’s toys he began to soften a little.
“Are you sure you want to cut him off because he broke your truck? You can always get another truck, but best friends are much more difficult to find. Sometimes best friends are a lot of trouble, but they’re always worth it.”
He still wasn’t sure he was ready to forgive Austin. My attempt to reason with him didn’t sink in quite as neatly as I had hoped, but I could see the wheels turning in his sparkling grey eyes. He has his mother’s eyes and, thankfully, her beautiful thick hair.
After about 30 minutes of playing alone in his room, boredom encouraged him to give Austin another chance.
Reasoning with a three year old can be a challenge. His logic is based on a world view that is simple and pure. The complications and intricacies of adulthood tend to skew those simple, pure, and logical thought processes that we possessed as children. It’s a shame, really.
Today I sit in a house that does not belong to me. I needed a place to stay away from my little guy’s mother for a while. She and I have been at odds for months and I am not sure we will be able to make amends. She has broken my will to work on our marriage and I am not sure I am able to forgive her for that crime. And even if I could forgive her, she isn’t going to stop breaking my ‘things’ and I don’t think I want to be her friend any more.
Man does that sound juvenile! Even as I write the words I cannot help but ask myself if I am a man or a three year old. Maybe a few months of boredom in my ‘room’ here at my own place will bring me back to my senses.
Maybe not. Maybe I don’t want to behave like a grown up!
A little over 10 years ago I made a promise before man and God to love, honor and cherish this woman until death we did part. I was pushing thirty when I decided to leap into marriage. I was young and idealistic, yet a little wiser than some of my friends who married much earlier in life.
Today I find myself teetering on the edge of a life changing decision. I really don’t know what waits at the bottom of the cliff I now find myself standing on; I’m not even sure if I’ll survive the fall.
How I got here is complicated. Life has a way of altering the best laid plans. You see, I thought I had everything figured out. I thought my wife would always be supportive. I was cocky. I knew I could figure out any of the unexpected things that might surface as we navigated through the intricacies of marriage.
The specifics are irrelevant. Truth is, I am not sure I am committed enough to tackle the current issues that have pushed my marriage to the brink. My wife’s demands are nearly impossible to meet. She is far too controlling. Her disrespect stifles and emasculates my will to commit to our relationship.
I’m not saying I’m perfect. I’m not even saying I’ve lived up to the promise I made at the marriage alter. I’d even go as far as to say I’ve been a terrible husband at times. I won’t try to justify my actions. I just wish she would bend a little and work with me, rather than push me out of the way so she can control the direction of our lives.
She’s reckless! She doesn’t consider any of the consequences for her actions until after the fact! She tells me to take control then fights me every inch of the way when I attempt to do so. She’s an anomaly that I do not have the patience to unravel.
Well intentioned friends give me their considered opinions. They say things like, “Stay for the sake of your kids. You made a commitment. How will you explain your decision to your children? Do you want another man to take your place in their lives?” They don’t know what I have put up with for the past ten years.
I can survive without her. She smoothers me to the point that I hardly recognize my own reflection. Marrying her was a huge mistake and now I must decide how to proceed.
Today I sat watching my children chase each other around my parent’s backyard. My dad (a very proud grandpa) commented on how my little girl glides when she runs. Her little brother hops and lumbers after her, trying to keep up. He giggles as he rumbles along as fast as his little legs will go. I drink in the sights and sounds, yet I find the whole scene surreal. This is just one of the many events I will miss out on if I end my marriage.
I love my children more than anything in this world. I cannot fathom living my life without them- or worse yet- allowing another man to be a part of their shaping their ideas, morals, and life decisions. Yet, I am not sure if I love them enough to put up with their mother. Is the resentment and abandonment they are certain to wrestle with later in life worth my short term happiness? It sure does sound selfish when I think of it on those terms. Will walking away now for a little relief be worth it 10 years down the road? I’d rather not think about it. I’ve always been a “live in the moment” kind of guy and those tough questions can be dealt with later…
The thing is I have ten years of memories. Memories are nasty little buggers. They have this insidious tendency of weaseling into my mind no matter how hard I try to squeeze them out. I hate the fact I cannot control their relentless bombardment.
Don’t misunderstand, not all of them are bad: the birth of my children, buying our first home, first birthdays, vacations alone with my wife, and with the kids, are all memories I once cherished. Trips to the emergency room, first steps, watching my son step on to the bus the first time; these are just a few of the memories that sear my mind as I stand on the edge of this cliff.
Divorcing the mother of my beautiful children will bring me immediate deliverance from her onslaught of manipulation and free me to do the things that I want to do. Am I really too selfish to consider what is best for the three people in this world to which I have pledged my life?
In the end, it comes down to a one question; what do I value most?