When my marriage almost ended two and half years ago, the fact that neither of us placed blame on the other or used our shortcomings as weapons to hurt the other in the aftermath was one of the greatest keys to our recovery.

We had both done things on our own to screw up our relationship and all of those things acted as wedges that pushed us farther and farther apart until we barely even recognized each other despite the fact that we slept in the same bed every night. We could go days without speaking to each other and being sent away for weeks at a time with Addie while he studied for finals seemed perfectly normal. Once we moved to Indiana I learned not to rely on him, school was his first priority and we had agreed to simply stick it out until the end, after all, it was only three years.

Addie and I did everything together. I don’t remember doing many things with Cody that didn’t involve mundane errands on Saturday or church on Sunday. The truth is he was gone all. the. time. so I pushed my way through the loneliness knowing that he was doing it for us and for our future, but I felt abandoned. “He was working hard for us. He was putting in his time now to give us a better future later. This is how he shows his love, he could be a complete deadbeat.” Is what I would tell myself.

I did everything for and with Addie. She was my entire world and I was hers for those three years. She never really expected her dad to be around which was good, because he wasn’t. Cody and Addie have always loved each other fiercely, but he missed out on a grand majority of her life because of school and work. It becomes more and more evident how much he missed as he sees Vivi grow and change.

I can tell it hurts parts of him he doesn’t want to talk about that he missed so much of Addie’s baby and childhood.

I took care of everything because that was my job. His job was to get good grades and get through school, I did everything in my power to make school as easy as possible for him. I wanted more kids, but more than anything I wanted a husband, my husband. I wanted him to notice me and everything I did, I did desperately seeking his approval. When it came to a point where I couldn’t get his attention I became more and more entrenched in the online world. I had friends that lived in the computer that understood me. They liked me. They said nice things to me. They said I looked pretty and they offered words of comfort and condolence when I was down. I was never alone as long as I had a computer and an Internet connection nearby. I began to ignore Cody more and more, our lives became even more distant from the marriage we had once had until finally I decided I could do just fine without him. If he wasn’t going to tell me the things I needed and wanted to hear, I was going to go out and find someone who would.

I had been alone for three years, alone was familiar, being ignored hurt.

He kept promising me that one day things would get better. After this semester, things will get better. After this year, things will get better. Once law review is over, things will get better. After I graduate, things will get better. Once I’m done with the bar, things will get better.

Things never got better, and I kept waiting for that magical day when things would, in fact, get better. We wasted three years of our lives together waiting on things to get better, they never did until I decided to leave. I had a plan. I had an escape route. I pulled him aside one Sunday and said “I’m leaving you.” I could tell it hit him from out of nowhere. He truly believed we were fine.

He didn’t get angry. He didn’t beg. He didn’t try to reason with me.

He saw that I had been beaten weary by the last three years of waiting and that I couldn’t stand to be alone and ignored anymore. I had every right to leave, he had every right to tell me to.

But he didn’t. He promised me that from that moment forward I would never go a day without knowing how much he loved me.

We spent much of the next three months in silent recovery. Both scared that one or the other of us would change our minds and leave. We talked about everything, about what a disappointment I must be to him that I couldn’t give him the big family he wanted. He talked about how that didn’t matter, that Addie and I mattered and that more kids wasn’t something I needed to worry about, we needed to worry about saving us and doing everything possible to make that happen.

We moved from our apartment into a hotel for a month as our home was being finished. We decided we’d hash it all out in the hotel, leave it all there and start new in our first home together. We got in a fight one night, shortly after moving in, or perhaps when I was pregnant. I realized that this isn’t  what we do or who we are. I can remember looking up at him screaming “WE DON’T DO THIS HERE! THIS HOME IS OUR SAFE PLACE! WE DON’T FIGHT HERE!” It ended then and we haven’t fought here (or anywhere) since.

I got my husband back in late 2009 and he got his wife back around the same time. We had made it. We had survived the horrible ugly that is the near end of a relationship built on love. We started over. Things are equal now. Things are discussed. Family comes first and as soon as Vivi came into our lives it’s as though she sealed all the cracks shut between the three of us who had been wandering through life without her for the last decade.

I have a good life. I have the best husband I could have ever asked for, I thought I was in love on June 16, 2001. But as I sit here today I am more in love with him and us together than I ever have been in my entire life. We are so good together. We still have our stumbles here and there, he’s learning to be the dad he wasn’t for the first 6 years and I’m learning to be comfortable in my own skin and reveling in how far we’ve come.

If there’s someone or something worth fighting for, fight with all you have. Believe that you are worth fighting for as well. You deserve all the happiness life can give you despite the horrible pains and disappointments that will be handed to you along the way. Without the dark we wouldn’t have light. Without the bitter we wouldn’t have the sweet. Without pain we wouldn’t have the relief of eventually collapsing into love and finally, for the first time, feeling like we can catch our breath and be ourselves.

Comments

  1. Beautiful post! I am so glad you and your husband found each other again. Marriage is so much work, but if you’re with the right person, it’s so worth it in the end.

  2. Thank you for your honestly. It encourages me in my own marriage.

  3. I wish I could convey how much you sharing your story means to me. My husband and I have hit a major rough patch over the last year. Late last year was awful and I started to think we, the people who had always said that divorce was not an option, were not going to make it. All I could think about was how my oldest son was the same age I was when my parents divorced, and how much it screwed me up. Things are not perfect now, far from it, but they are better. But without hearing from people I admire and care about that they have been through it too, I don’t know how I would make it. I know I’m not alone, and I AM worth fighting for. Thank you.

  4. Thanks for sharing this Casey. I don’t think people talk enough about just how hard marriage is. And that it’s worth fighting for.

    When I told Adam I wanted to go to counseling because of how horrible our marriage had become, he had NO idea. He really had no idea that things were so bad. His response? “Let me make it better.” And he did.

    Marriage is still hard. It always will be. But it’s worth fighting for.

  5. Lindsay says:

    Amazing. Both of you. Muddling through the swamp is hard, but so very worth it.

  6. I love this. And you.

  7. It is wonderful that you are taking the time to write about marriage. We live in a culture that is very against sticking it out and it is so refreshing to see couples work through it. Praise God!

  8. Beautiful post, Casey. And congratulations to you and Cody for working so hard. You’re amazing.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing a very personal moment. I know it must have been hard writing this, but I know it will help others. You are amazing and so is your family.

  10. Sunshine says:

    Hooray for happy endings!

  11. I’m so proud of you both.

  12. Breaking my never commenting streak because your honesty is so appreciated. Grad school nearly broke us and we are still trying so hard to get back to our “normal”. Not easy but so worth it. You are lovely and wonderful and give me so much hope and strength purely by just being you and putting yourself and story out there. Thank you Casey <3

  13. Every time you write a post like this it resonates with me. It’s like we’re living parallel lives a lot of the time. I’m glad you were able to get to this place with Cody. Let’s hope we can all get there. And stay there.

  14. Even tho you guys are doing so much better, I’d like to recommend a book to maybe put the finishing touches on your everyday married life – The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.
    The one book that I read that made the biggest difference in my marriage, gave me to tools to help save it. It’s super worth the time.

    Thank you for your honesty in this post, it’s hard to talk about isn’t it? Good for you both.

  15. ::tears::

    So thankful that you were not only able to make it through this but share it too.

    You both deserve it. x

  16. Such a beautiful post. Thank you for writing it. I’m getting married at the end of the summer and while I know it won’t always be the best thing, I know we too will be able to make it through anything.

  17. So glad that you both fought so hard for yourselves and for each other. I’ve had really rough patches in my marriage as well and I’m so glad that we fought for the place we’re at now, because it’s amazing.

    <3

  18. So glad you both fought so hard to save your marriage. Your honesty is admirable.

  19. So very, very lovely. Thank you for sharing. I know lots of people who need to hear this.

    xoxo

  20. Beautiful.
    The best piece of advice I ever received about marriage was that it was a choice. To wake up & choose to love the person beside you, no matter what that day brings. Some days it will be easy, some days it will be hard – but you have to make the choice.

  21. Amen, amen.

    You have a beautiful, perfect way with words.

  22. I’m a pretty new reader and I’ve never commented. I just felt compelled to say thank you for sharing. It takes guts to put something like that out there. And yet it’s something that will speak to so many people. I will be a regular here now 🙂

  23. I love this. Very precious. SO much how I love this… <3

  24. It’s never easy. Anyone who says marriage is easy is either delusional or a liar. But you never realize that other people find it hard too, til they tell you.

    Thanks for telling.

    xo

  25. Wow. What an impressive example you have set for your children. I’m so very glad that you made it through the valley.

  26. The best things in life come from hard work – especially marriage. Thanks for sharing.

  27. Law school is definitely a test of marriage! My husband went for 4 years, working his regular job 40hrs/wk and going to classes at night and studying the rest of the time… We had never fought before those years, and we haven’t fought since (he graduated in 2008). After the birth of our first son mid-way through, our relationship got shaky. As much as I loved being with our son, I was stuck at home every night and it was terribly lonely. When he WAS home, it was stressful because we were both tired and not on the same page at all. There were several occasions I thought about leaving… I’m so grateful we were able to work things out together.

    Looking back now, when he decided NOT TO PRACTICE LAW after all that (lol), he talks about his own regrets on “losing” that time and how hard it was on us, and he has given 150% to our relationship and our kids ever since. Maybe it was something we both needed to go through to appreciate what we have… and it was incredibly hard then, but I wouldn’t trade our “now” for anything.

    I’m so incredibly happy that you guys made it too. Thank you for posting something so honest. You have a beautiful family and I hope the coming years are even better.

  28. I could blubber over this one. You’ve done it again, Case. <3
    xoxo

  29. I hope desperately for this one day. I hope beyond hope beyond hope. I love you with big alligator tears in my eyes.

  30. What very few people say is that there are very very few marriages that don’t experience this. We all worry we’re the only ones and we are so not alone in this. The co-existing/roommate stages of pain and loneliness. I have wanted to leave and I have said “we made a mistake” and I have believed it in that moment because it felt so hopeless. Then someone said, “all I can say is that I know it’s hard but I know you will never be sorry for hanging on and waiting to get through it. It WILL get better if you each strive to be less selfish.”

    Someone was right about that. And I’m guessing we’ll go through this sort of thing again and again because forever is a long time and love never promises ease.

    Thank you for truth-speaking. xoxo

  31. I’m so glad you wrote this. Our marriage fell to pieces during this adoption. Shortly before my husband came home we decided that once he was here, we were going to stop everything and focus only on us as a couple and on us as parents. Everyone else gets to sit on the sidelines until we’ve healed our little tribe and worked out the stress/adoption/life related kinks to our marriage. You give me hope that we’ll recover completely someday.

  32. My favorite quote (by the least likely of persons) is “Marriage is the glue that holds you together until you fall in love again.” ~Zsa Zsa Gabor

    Thanks for sharing this one hon. It’s a good one.

  33. I’m soooo glad you found your way. You both and your girls deserve it. A happy marriage isn’t always easy but it is always worth it.

  34. It always frustrates me when i read things like, “if your marriage is hard you’re not doing it right.”

    Being, and staying married is hard. Things change, people change and life can serve us some big curve balls. Add children and it’s even more complicated sometimes.

    I’m happy for you both!

  35. Casey,
    After reading through some of the Babble dramaz last night, I realized that it never would have occurred to me to think anything but the very best of Cody because I “know” you, and just trust that anyone you love would have the best of intentions and a kind heart. Every picture you post, post you write, and time you talk about Cody just exudes love and respect and admiration for him. I admire that very much. I’m so glad that you two worked it out and stayed committed. You guys make an awfully cute couple…. and you make some pretty cute babies too. 🙂

  36. “Believe that you are worth fighting for as well. ”

    Wow…..just wow……lightning bolt moment here for me……beautiful post…..

    Thank you

  37. I read your blog every day, but I rarely comment. However, this is the most honest assessment of marriage I’ve ever read. It is clear how much you love each other, and that honesty is an inspiration. Thank you.

  38. wow. this was actually a really timely read for me. you are inspiring and strong, lady. thanks for that. xo

  39. Well said. Thanks for sharing

  40. I’m so glad y’all came through. Thanks for being brave. Happy being married in the best sense of the word.

  41. Casey, I love this. I love this, and I love you and how open you are about your relationship and your family.

    Your love story is one of my favorites.

  42. Your message is string and hopeful, and I’m so very glad that you wrote, for whoever might need to read it.

  43. Yay for two good people working through their problems together and making it work.

  44. You never cease to floor me.

    You’re so brave.

    Thank you for sharing.

  45. My marriage nearly ended, too. While my husband was working and in school. It was HARD and AWFUL. And then we got back together and had a baby.

    I’m glad both our marriages worked out. I like happy endings.

  46. You have me in tears. My marriage is suffering and has been since our son was born 14 months ago. This gives me hope but also makes the situation I’m in feel so much more real somehow. I hope my story turns out as happily as yours has:)

  47. I’m so glad you decided to try and gave it real effort. And I’m impressed by your words and ability to share. You’ve got real talent.

    Marriage is work. We celebrate 10 years this summer… Still the best decision I ever made.

  48. <3

  49. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s beautiful to read about a couple who fought for their marriage. I know it’s not always possible for everyone to do that, but it’s good to know that it can be done.

  50. Thank you so much for sharing this story. My husband and I have been going through a very similar situation (him at school/work and me at home with the boys)for five years now. We nearly called it over in January and have been fighting to rebuild our friendhsip and marriage since then. It is a hard road, and it isn’t over yet, but reading your words reminds me that there is hope as long as we are willing to keep working on it.