“I married a man I probably shouldn’t have married for nearly 12 years.” He never hurt me physically, but he made me feel unloved and unwanted. It would get better if I just loved harder, worked more, and focused on the positive. But that never happened. He never came close to touching me. He was notorious for working late. We fought over my weight, my goals and ambitions, and my finances. I lost count of the number of evenings I wept myself to sleep. In March of 2016, I finally found the courage to leave.
That was by far the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make. Injuring someone I had spent so much of my life trying to love nearly ruined me, whether it was right or not. Furthermore, I felt as if everything I had ever believed in had been a lie. I honestly don’t recognize myself for a short period of time. I injured individuals I cared about and made poor decisions. Except for pain, I was impervious to everything. Thankfully, that period of time was brief. In May, I started using Tinder and told a friend about my hunt. He inquired as to why I was in such a rush and why I didn’t want to spend time alone after such a lengthy relationship. While it may be difficult for others to comprehend, I had felt more alone than I could ever convey in the last three years of my marriage. I was ready to commit to a long-term relationship.
On Mother’s Day, Adam sent me a message. He was invigorating! He had a terrific sense of humor, made me laugh, and spoke in a nice southern boy’s mannerisms. However, because he worked midnight shifts, it was impossible to work around his schedule. We were able to meet for our first date after three weeks. He took me out to supper and told me everything about his family. It was difficult to keep up with him because he is one of nine children. To keep me organized, I ended up drawing his family tree on a napkin. We talked some more, and I learned more about him, his life, and who he is now. Despite the fact that we come from quite different walks of life, I felt closer to him than I have to anyone else. He was divorced as well, and neither of us wanted to be married again. As far as we could tell, our marriages kept us in bad relationships because we didn’t want to divorce. I wanted to be in a relationship where the other person genuinely wanted to be there, and I wanted them to be allowed to leave at any time if they no longer wanted to be there.
Throughout the summer, my ex tried to persuade me to reconcile with him, and my guilt weighed heavily on my mind. Even though I was falling for Adam, I couldn’t bring myself to abandon my marriage. More than anything, I felt as if reneging on my vows was eroding my faith. Several people assisted me in overcoming these emotions. ‘There is simply nothing you can do to make God love you any more or any less than He already does,’ one of them said. Don’t waste your life hating your religion. ‘Do whatever it takes to obtain happiness.’ My family and friends were a big source of encouragement, reminding me of all the reasons I was making the correct choice. I kept a running list on my phone that I referred to whenever I felt tired. Adam, on the other hand, was a unique individual. He urged me to make the best decision for me when I told him I was struggling and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. He stated that he would always support me and that he understood my desire to fight for my marriage. He told me I could take as much time as I wanted and that he wouldn’t get in the way. I finally broke down and told my ex that I was going to pursue counseling with him. I started crying very immediately after agreeing and couldn’t stop. More than anything else, the prospect of letting Adam go crushed my heart. I prayed and prayed, and I went into that counseling appointment teary-eyed and heavy-hearted. The counselor then did something unexpected: he offered me permission to depart on my own terms. He stated that we must finally decide what is best for us, rather than making decisions for others, because that is how it would play out in the end, whether it occurred today, next week, or fifteen years from now.
I finally discovered the calm I was looking for and decided to leave for good. In late November, we formalized our divorce. Adam and I continued to date and visit one other whenever we had the opportunity. His job schedule remained tough, but he made frequent visits to me and vice versa. In April, when my lease was up, I moved in with him. We were talking about kids by May. Losing his stepson was the most difficult part of his divorce, and I had been wanting children for ten years at the time. I knew Adam would be an amazing father even if we didn’t stay together, and I was more than ready to be a mother.
In June, I was hired as the principal of an elementary school in Flint, Michigan, which was my dream job. It took me an hour and a half to go to work each way. In October, I bought a property 30 minutes from work. In November, we found out we were expecting, and I told him about the napkin from our first date! (I made a new addition to the family tree…)
We bought a new car in May to suit our growing family, and our gorgeous, perfect little girl arrived in August. Adam went above and beyond to ensure that I did not suffer from postpartum depression. Everything was coming into place, and I was witnessing the unfolding of God’s plan. Then, only four days before my maternity leave was to finish, I received word that I would be laid off. I was crushed by the news.
Life changed dramatically, but Adam remained a constant in my life. He was unflappable. Despite our world flipping upside down, he continued to offer me love and support. To support us, he worked 12-hour shifts with just every other weekend off. He continued to be his amazing self. He’s the type of guy who will buy me a Slurpee at the gas station without asking, or send me a dozen roses and a note or a box of my favorite Oreos on the spur of the moment. He always asks if I need anything before leaving the room. Before I go to sleep, he says, “Goodnight, gorgeous,” and he always acknowledges the goofy things I tag him in on Facebook. He sends me inspirational texts on the spur of the moment, and he always, always responds. He encourages me to pursue my biggest aspirations, such as building a new school and investing in my photography business, all while parenting two children (the second is due in July!).
He cleans, does laundry, and is a fantastic cook! But above all, he loves me and our family with all of his heart and soul. He drove an hour each way today after working midnight shifts – he went for work at 9:45 yesterday night after only having a 2-hour nap because I was gone all day and he was responsible for our daughter. He came home this morning at 8 a.m., kissed me good morning, kissed my pregnant belly, and woke up our baby girl so I could sleep a little longer. He was singing our baby girl to sleep with country music when I awoke two hours later to a handmade omelet waiting for me.
There are some amazing males in this world, ladies. Stop putting up with the nonsense and choose a spouse that loves and respects you and will always prioritize you and your family. You’ve earned it!
Having a true companion at your side is the best gift in the world. Whatever life throws at us, I know that God placed this man in my life to be my rock. I would never have settled for anything less if I had known that love like this existed. “All I can hope for is that one day, every woman will find her Adam.”