Things have been quiet for me online for the last few months, and that’s been very intentional. Time is a limited commodity, and I needed to invest it in my marriage and my faith.
When I turned thirty years old, I had a birthday dinner. Thirty is kind of a milestone, so I decided to go a little fancy: a dozen friends and colleagues at a upscale bistro. I look back at pictures from that night.
I was smiling. Glowing. Maybe even radiant.
Some people dread turning thirty. I looked forward to it. It had a sense of accomplishment. Of being grown up. Of responsibility. Stability.
Well, thirty fooled me. There’s been little stability. Little accomplishment, at least personally – and let’s face it – that’s what matters most. Lots of mistakes. Lots of grief, hope, and uncertainty. Right now, I’m extremely afraid of what the future holds. At the same time, over the last year, I’ve never felt more cocooned in a loving and warm community.
I guess that’s a paradox of pain and vulnerability.
This month, I turn thirty one. There’s no fanfare around thirty-first birthdays. There’s nothing special. And for me, this birthday is more infantile in some regard. I’m awkwardly pulling myself up and trying to take my first steps (again).
You see, I never expected to be divorced at the age of thirty one. Or ever.
But I am.
Yes, I am.
(As I sit and type these words, it seems surreal. If it weren’t for my heart racing and the deep breaths I am struggling to take as I type and re-read this post, I would think I am having some sort of out of body experience.)
Chris and I got married on June 27, 2003 in Kansas City. An almost eight year marriage was a flag I waved loud and proud. I thought we were strong. I thought we were invincible. And as a wise man once said, it’s pride that comes before a fall.
As a friend of mine shared with me, I can see why the Scriptures say God hates divorce. It’s not that he hates either of us (although at times, it’s easy to believe otherwise), but he hates what the brokenness of divorce does to the very souls of a man and his wife. He hates what it does to the people who love them. And even the people who maybe they’ve never met.
We both are extremely heartbroken. The last year has been a roller coaster for us and those near us. We have felt helpless. We have felt hopeful. We have been hurt by each other. We have been helped by each other. And we both love each other. And we both support each other as we continue to walk forward.
But our relationship has changed. Our marriage is over.
I realize this news may disappoint some of you. If it does, I’m sorry. I am disappointed. Chris is disappointed. As many have said, nobody goes into a marriage thinking it will end because what you have is different and is special. You never would imagine there will be a season when your body aches and you are desperate for the relief sleep brings because of how much you’ve wept at the death of something so sacred, so familiar, so full of expectation.
In order to respect both mine and Chris’ privacy, I would ask that you not make assumptions or get involved in any conversations that make assumptions on “what happened?” I know that is the question of the hour when things like this are disclosed and I have seen (and at times spoken) ugly and untrue things when others I know have not lived up to my (or even their own) expectations.
I ask myself that question often, too. It’s complex, as most life-changing decisions are. As we have walked down this dark road, we have been surrounded by family, friends, spiritual mentors, counselors, and groups. We have been entirely open and truthful with these people, and some things – like the details of ending our relationship – aren’t meant for public consumption. Please trust me when I say we have not taken lightly the many consequences the decision of a divorce brings, and without any further explanation than this, I will simply say that our marriage was broken. It’s odd to type that, as if a marriage is a toy or a gadget that just “breaks.” But because it is layered with so many things, that’s the only word I can find to describe our circumstances.
We, along with God and others in our lives, have tried desperately to fix it, to bring it back to life, to see a broken covenant redeemed. But in order to preserve peace and love in our relationship, our marriage ended.
With a broken heart, that’s all I can say.
What about “Permission to Speak Freely?” I still believe it — now more than ever. The details, the pain, the mistakes, the frustrations are meant to be shared and as stated earlier, have been shared. But they are to be shared privately with those who are closest to us. That is what we have done.
And it’s with an unspeakable pain that I share this news with you.
With this change in life, I’ve decided to take a considerable amount of time off from a busy schedule to allow myself to love and be loved. To take time to listen instead of talk. To heal. To continue fanning the flame of the fire that is burning up any kind of ego I had tied to my identity. To continue getting help and counseling.
I wrestled with writing this, but Chris and I both agreed it was a good idea because we have shared much of our lives with you, and you have shared much of your lives with us. We value that, and don’t take it for granted at all. Thank you for that privilege. I also wrestled with turning comments off on this post, but am taking the advice of others and leaving them open, hoping and praying regardless of your view on this decision, you will exercise grace and humility in your words. I am not the only one reading these comments. Please keep that in mind. Obviously, our hearts are broken and grieving and I will openly admit I am terrified of what could potentially be said. But I take full responsibility for my decisions and actions and with my faith, family, and friends, take one shaky step at a time as life continues down a new and different path.
We appreciate you, your prayers, and your grace during this time, and the times to come.