It kind of changes things when you tell someone you’re close with that you’re leaving your husband. Maybe it doesn’t change things, but it certainly shows you how invested and in what ways a person is invested in you when you tell them a bit about what’s going on.

To be fair, no one really knew. It wasn’t supposed to be a big to-do or anything, keep things as normal as possible. Which means in the aftermath a lot of people around me were probably left going “But wait, what?” You see, I’ve made a very conscious effort to not write or speak ill of Cody or air our grievances for the world to see. It’s just how I operate and it works well, except when things go wrong — because that’s when people come back and say “But everything is going so well! You two seem like such a happy couple!” to which I say “HA HA! It worked then! I had you all fooled!”

Kidding. But in all honesty it is hard to come clean on something that is deep and ugly — be it marital struggles, an addiction, depression or some other foible.

What’s cool is there will be some people who will be all “Care to talk about it over burritos?” while other people will say some pretty stupid garbage that will show their true character more than it will say anything about your own.

It’s those people who don’t bat an eye (and then don’t betray your trust) that are worth holding onto. The ones with the judgmental opinions? Keep those guys at arms length, it’s not that they necessarily think you’re a bad person — they just maybe have a very narrow range of experience and opinions in life. (I’m learning this to be quite polarizing when it comes to church related relationships. The “clearly you’re not praying hard enough” people are just as active in regards to marital issues as they are with infertility and mental illness. Huzzah!)

I’ve learned I’m much more willing to take marital and relationship advice from friends and strangers alike because unlike parenting issues, there aren’t really “MARRIAGE WARS!” broadcast across the Internet in the same way the gag-inducing mommy wars are. I’ve learned most everyone takes their marriage, and it’s subsequent shortfalls and misgivings, much more personal than almost all parenting issues — which is why I’m more open to marital advice, there seems to be more hushed solidarity and strength when someone suggests a book or therapy rather than the demanding “THIS IS HOW I DID IT AND MY WAY WAS RIGHT AND I’M RIGHT AND WOE BE UNTO THOSE WHO DO NOT DO THINGS MY WAY” attitude some people can have with parenting.

First off is the Five Love Languages, we received it as a wedding gift and I read it immediately. I suggested that Cody read it early on in our marriage but being Cody, he didn’t. This is one book that both partners need to read for it to really make sense. And I’m sorry, but you also have to do the silly quiz towards the back. It can make a huge difference in your relationship if used correctly. Cody read it last month and it’s as though the sky parted and the angels sang for both of us.

Second is Hold Me Tight, a book that was suggested by several people, and people? THANK YOU. You know the attachment parenting theory that some parents are so willing to heap upon others? This book argues that attachment bonds, much like those between parent and child, are just as important (if not more important) in an adult relationship as they are to children. But what are we told? “You’re an adult, grow up and deal with your own problems.”  If you yell at your spouse because yelling has become the only way to get their attention — or  have taken to not talking to them because not talking is so much easier than feeling emotions? THIS BOOK.

In summary, going through marital issues has been SO. MUCH. HARDER. emotionally and mentally than anything I’ve had to deal with in regards to parenting, from infertility to present day. BUT, it seems easier to map out and stick to a long term course of healing because we are two grown adults who ultimately want the same thing. (If one or the other of us was one foot out the door? I would be in an entirely different head space than I am right now.)

One of the first mistakes I made was turning my heart and mind off to Cody when what I should have done was turn to him and say “Hey, I’m not happy.” The second (and very important part) of this is that I needed to trust that he would listen to me (which was hard for me because five years ago he didn’t listen until I threatened to leave.)

This afternoon dreams were reignited over chicken salad wraps and spinach salad.

Trust, vitally important yet wickedly scary stuff.

Comments

  1. I know how hard this is and thank you for the book titles. I’m going to find those for both me and Dillan.

    Please know that there is no judgment on my part. I just want to be there for you as you need me. I cannot express how your blog, your struggles with depression, and the challenges of just getting out of bed everyday have helped me. Just know my thoughts are with you. I would still love to have lunch soon. *hugs*

    You are amazing, beautiful, and I’m glad you are fighting for what’s important to you. You rock!

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I am also dealing with marriage issues and a newlywed in my church small group asked if I was going to get divorced. I said “No. Not at this point. Marriage is hard and it is a lot of work. You may find yourself in this position during your marriage.” She was shocked. You can’t pray it away. Also-as someone who is being treated for depression-also can not pray that away. It is hard work. It sucks sometimes. It’s worth it. Another potential book (that helped me) was Beyond Ordinary. And…end rambling comment.

  3. Fellow a Hoosier who’s been following you since your early blogging and depression days. I think I actually looked up blogging and depression and found yours and felt even closer to you since you lived very near by. I have followed you – maybe not daily or even weekly for all these years and I can say honestly the most recent posts about your marriage are some of the most honest I’ve ever read. You are being very honest, vulnerable and fair when speaking about your marriage and I really respect you for this. I went through my divorce (oh and depression trigger) in 1998-,3 children under 10- been there, done that. I wish my ex and I would (could have) done what you two are brave enough to do! Marriage Is HARD work!! Best to you two- your heart is in the right place!!

  4. There are times when I feel like church is a spiritual L.A. Fitness. You walk in, unable to hide your vulnerabilities and failings, while a certain group of people (inevitably with tiny waists and killer quads) dismiss you or worse hand you insults, cleverly veiled as critiques.
    Do your best, follow your heart, and I’ll always have your back.

  5. There are times when I feel like church is a spiritual L.A. Fitness. You walk in, unable to hide your vulnerabilities and failings, while a certain group of people (inevitably with tiny waists and killer quads) dismiss you or worse hand you insults, cleverly veiled as critiques.
    Do the best that you can in the moment you are in, follow your heart, and I’ll always have your back.

    Chrysta Reply:

    @Ami, What I’ve learned over the years is that the tiny waist/killer quads people either haven’t had to deal with *insert any given difficulty* yet, or they have and they’re desperately hiding it because they’re afraid of what everyone will think. It’s obnoxious to get the line about praying harder, but I deal with it better when I try to step back and see what might be behind it.

    I found out yesterday that my SIL left her husband after 30 years of what sounds like emotional abuse (disclaimer being that I’ve only heard one side at this point). It’s mind-blowing because they *seemed* to be the perfect LDS couple. And yet, there have apparently been issues all along that were never dealt with. Now they’re so ingrained it might be too late. As hard as the last few months have been for you Casey, I am so proud of you for facing the problem head on at a point where it’s fixable. You’re setting such a great example for your girls of how to deal with the hard parts of marriage. And I think your other friends/readers would agree that it’s a great example for us, as well. Love you, dear heart…

  6. Robby Slaughter says:

    Here’s what you need to do: You need to do whatever you think you need to do. Because while all of us have opinions (and if you’re reading this and don’t have enough opinions, call me, I have plenty of extra), none of us are in your situation.

    Good luck, old friend. Standing by to support you, no matter what.

  7. Burrittos indeed. For what it’s worth, as someone who also got married fairly young, it’s amazing to see another couple go through this, and decide to fight. Most people in my family (and circle) do not take marriage as seriously as my husband and I do. You are an inspiration to lots, if only because you are facing your problems instead of hiding from them.

  8. I really admire your ability to be open and honest about this. I think I did the same thing as you of never saying anything nasty about my ex, so when we split, a lot of people were completely blindsided by it.

    When I was recently separated, I had a divorced mom friend who was sort of my guidepost, who gave me lots of advice on coping and handling my new life. One of the things she warned me about was, “The Curse of the Overshare.” It seems that once your separation/divorce is publicly known, all of your friends who are secretly unhappy in their marriages will feel that it’s safe to confide in you, because they think you’ll understand. And honestly, 99% of the time I *am* sympathetic and I will totally listen and offer support in whatever way I can. (The other 1% are the people who want to complain to me about how their husband hasn’t gone down on them in the last 5 years, and hey, I’m super-sorry to hear that, but if I know your husband and have to look him in the eye at some point? Please don’t tell me that. Because awkwardness.)

    Anyway, point being, I wonder if by being “out of the closet” with your marriage issues, if you’ll also get your own version of The Curse of the Overshare. I’m guessing you will. But since you’re one of the most compassionate and loving people I know, I’m guessing you’ll handle it a heck of a lot more gracefully than I ever have.

  9. I loved the Five Love Languages book – and of course I married the person who falls evenly into every category and doesn’t have a “type” whatsoever. So frustrating.

    I think I’ll order that other book asap!

    Hugs to all of you.

  10. Katherine says:

    I don’t comment very often but I have to chime in just to say I’m rooting for you guys.

  11. Thank you for being open and honest on a topic that just doesn’t get enough of the right attention. Thank you for not giving up and giving me the hope to not give up either.

  12. Love you always. dearly, and then some.

  13. Thank you for your honesty. Last night I started reading “Five Love Languages” and then saw your post this morning. Ironic. I understand your feelings in a way that I keep secret from everyone I know. Thanks again for sharing and letting some of us know we are not alone (not just with this post…I, too, have suffered the pains of infertility… and live in the Indy area).

  14. I’m rooting hard for you, all good.
    I love your posts