“My broken marriage taught me a lot…
No one enters a marriage to eventually divorce. I’d heard of the ‘7-year Itch,’ but was surprised to learn that it existed, at least in my situation.
Grady and I had been married for seven years when things began to go apart. Our marriage was first idyllic (aren’t they all?), and I couldn’t get enough of being around him. I had finally discovered not just my husband but also my best friend on the planet. I saw that our connection began to shift when we had our first child.
In practically every situation, my son came first because I was so preoccupied with being a first-time mom. I was so determined to be the greatest mom I could be because my upbringing haunted me so much. I had two parents who failed me as a child, and I was determined to be the best parent I could be. Grady and I’s marriage began to lose its lustre over time. After a year of parenthood, we stopped going on dates, and sex was practically non-existent. I was also dealing with postpartum depression and trying to find a sliver of enjoyment to get me through the day.
Baby #2 arrived about four years after we married, and I gave birth to my daughter. By this time, I had begun to sense my husband’s resentment. We didn’t have a sex life and were simply roommates who shared parenting duties. He sat me down and spoke with me about his requirements. I remember tossing it aside because I had just given birth to a baby and was juggling a 2-year-old while trying to run a business from home, so the last thing I wanted to do was have sex because it had become a chore. As time passed, his wants remained unmet, and his irritation mounted. Instead of prioritizing our marriage, I prioritized my children and work, leaving him on the backburner.
Even though we lived together, we eventually became strangers who seldom saw each other. He made me cringe every time he touched me. For years, I saw a therapist about it and tried everything…or at least I pretended to do everything. I saw that my focus shifted to other things and people, and I began to ponder what my life would be like if I lived with someone else, as I’m sure he did as well. We understood that the romance and spark had been lacking for years and that there was no way to rekindle it, so we chose divorce.
We’ve been going through our divorce for six months now, and I’ve learnt a lot. It’s been a difficult six months of self-discovery and thoughts of failure. Whenever I look at my children, I feel a great sense of guilt that I should have been more present or tried more. It’s too late to fix things now, but the time apart has made me realize how much I needed and loved him. You don’t entirely appreciate what you have until it fades from memory. I was driving the kids to school yesterday morning when I noticed an empty house in our neighbourhood where we had once been stranded under the porch while it rained during a family walk. Or the time Dad took a Bible and sat on a bench by the beach in downtown Fort Walton Beach to read with me. Don’t get me started on Facebook memories since that’s a whole other level of mental torment regularly. These tidbits bring back memories of happier times, days worth fighting for. When we are in a relationship crisis, we tend to look for ways to get out of it and avoid repairing it.
I regret leaving my marriage every day, but I can’t change the past. All I can do now is use what I’ve learned to a brighter future.
Here are my suggestions for enduring the Itch for the next seven years:
1. Have a fling. My therapist even encouraged me to picture having sex with someone else, which I didn’t enjoy at the time, but now I understand why she said it. Because anything that takes you to that level of intimacy with your partner is worth a shot, as mothers, we are frequently too exhausted to do it, but please do it anyhow. Schedule the sex if you’re serious about it.
2. Please don’t give up on dating. When you quit dating your spouse, you lose sight of what brought you two together in the first place. You lose sight of why you’re in this relationship in the first place. I wish I could go back in time and relive our first dates and do more activities with him, but I remember feeling guilty for leaving my child with a babysitter, so we never went.
3. With someone else, the grass isn’t greener. I was frequently intrigued by other individuals throughout my marriage and wondered what life would be like with someone else. I’ve made some mistakes, and I can tell you that life isn’t much better when you’re married to someone else. It’s preferable if you genuinely put out the work required to restore or grow your marriage.
4. Prioritize your relationship with your partner. I used to believe that my children should come first. Therefore I placed them first while my husband was put on the back burner. This should never have happened because I would not have had my children if it hadn’t been for my hubby! Your marriage is a gift because they gave you children, the most precious gift of all. Your children should always come first, followed by your spouse. There are no ifs and or buts.
5. Always bid farewell. We slept in the same bed throughout the last year of our marriage (with a child in between us, which is another marital killer), but we stopped saying goodnight to each other. Why? I don’t know. Imagine our dissatisfaction at the end of each day going through the motions only to wind up with the same results. Goodnight, and don’t go to bed enraged. The next day is a new day, and you want to start fresh.
6. ATTEMPT. I don’t mean try; I mean genuinely try. I wasn’t exhausting every possibility to get us through this tricky patch the entire time I thought I was trying and visiting my marriage therapist. Yeah, I couldn’t rescue my marriage on my own, and he had pretty much given up by this point. But I want you to do everything you can to try.
I hope these suggestions are helpful to anyone who is attempting or considering saving their marriage. Marriages aren’t ideal, but if you’re both ready to put up the effort, I believe it’s possible to save one. Living with the guilt that I could have done more to salvage my marriage is unbearable, and it will likely haunt me for the rest of my life.”
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