Monday, October 5, 2015

Should I Stay?

 Sometimes I look at the views on my blog posts and I'm stunned that 100 of you (and often times more) read my words.

My words. 

I feel blessed that you'd even want to go on this journey with me, through the ups and downs of my chaotic life.
Sometimes it feels weird, blogging openly about my life, but I'd be doing it even if you weren't reading. I'd be sitting at this same chair, typing these same words, even if no one read them.

A part of me feels like they are for you but I know they're really for me, for my healing and sanity in the midst of all the crazy.

I wanted to touch on a subject that I've written about many times---probably more times than most people are comfortable with.

I've had a lot of people over the past two years tell me the bits and pieces of their story and then ask if I think they should stay or go.

Each time this happens, the answer is the same:

I cannot answer that.

Or maybe it is that I will not answer it.
I guess I could very easily tell someone that their marriage sounds like a train wreck and that they should move out and file divorce paperwork.

But that is not my advice to give. In fact, that is nobody's advice to give---except maybe a licensed professional. Maybe.

Maybe I feel so strongly about this because I got opposing advice after my husband left me.
You should file. You should fight for him. You should_______fill in the blank_______. 

And although maybe it should've helped, all it did was confuse me more. Because I wanted to please everyone and take their advice but I couldn't make both opposing decisions.
The truth is that the decision was only mine to make. It wasn't anybody else's---except for my husband's. {duh}
The people who were telling me to fight for him---they weren't there for the nights I cried myself to sleep, wondering what was wrong with me and why I felt the uneasiness that I did.
The people who were telling me to file for divorce---they didn't witness the times my husband supported me and I saw glimpses of a happy future together.

Nobody knew the full story. Nobody knew what I was feeling inside or what answers God had given me.

Nobody felt the pain that I felt or the anxiety that stopped me in my tracks on countless occasions. Nobody saw how truly scared I was that my life was over.

And really, nobody knew how deeply it hurt to feel so abandoned by the person who had promised me eternity. Nobody could see the turmoil that churned inside of me as I put my brave face on each day.

They couldn't have. I never expected them to.

But because they didn't have the knowledge that I had, nobody could make that scary decision for me.

Because of so many personal experiences, I know that I cannot decide whether you should go or stay. I know that I cannot tell you that my story is similar enough to yours that you should mirror my decisions.

No two stories are alike because no two people are alike.

Your heart may want to stay and if it does, you'd have my blessing.
Your heart may want to run away and if it does, you'd have my blessing.

Both choices are brave. 

One does not make you weak while the other makes you strong.

I've been told many times that I'm brave for being a single mom {not that I really had a choice} and I am. I am brave to be raising my kids the majority of the time and going to school and working.
But I've seen women who stay, who fight for their marriage and learn how to trust when they didn't think they could ever trust again and to me, that is equally as brave.

Either one might will most likely cause you to break for a while. 

But as surely as I know that the sun will rise again tomorrow, I know that you won't break forever. I know that you are capable of carrying on with or without a spouse by your side.

If you have children, your decision might be messier but I know that children can be ok. They can heal.
It might take extra late nights or therapy or them spewing their hurt and anger at you daily---and it might even take all of those things. But they can be ok.
For us, it didn't fall into place in a day. In fact, sometimes it still seems out of whack.

I watched as my children became different, less trusting of others and more angry at the world. I watched as the light in their eyes seemed to darken and tears poured out daily. I watched their confusion and pain.

And I've watched it slowly repair. I've watched them show empathy toward others who are hurting. I've watched them love harder and become closer to each other.

It's hard when you're faced with decisions that seem daunting and life-altering. I get it and I'm here for you.
I cannot tell you what decision will be right for you in the end but I do know that you're capable of making that decision---and you're even allowed to change your mind.

Life is a lot more fluid than I used to believe it was. Although it is filled with highs and lows, it is filled with so many second chances.

I remember what it was like to feel like I was in a deep, dark pit where the sun did not exist. I remember how scary it was to separate from my husband and figure out how to live independently.

If you're there, I'm here. 

My biggest advice would be to reach out and let others carry some of the burdens you can give up for a while.
Keep yourself safe. Make your decision based on what will keep you physically and emotionally safe.
Remember to care for yourself. So often, we get caught up in helping others or raising our children that we forget to take care of ourselves too.
Create boundaries with the people in your life. Speak up about what you need and what you don't need. Tell them when they offend you and when they're being helpful. Teach them how to help you---they won't always know what to do.

Marriage is hard. Divorce is hard.
Life is pretty dang hard.

But you are stronger than you think. 


Angie said...

There is so much wisdom in this post. Thanks for sharing.

LPoulsen said...

Suzanne, this was such a wonderful post! I am so proud of you and your courage. We are all in this crazy world together. Love you. :)