I loved my husband with a ferocity that sometimes rattled my soul. There was so much of him to love, oh, not in any NEGATIVE way. He was brilliant. He was funny. He was a comic genius. He was a singer. He was an actor. He could do absolutely ANYTHING that he wanted to do, he had virtually no limits beyond the normal physical limits of a 50 something man.
Now listening to the above words you might get the idea that our marriage was always smooth...never any friction between us. You would be very wrong in that assumption.
Nyle and I both had huge egos. We were both actors, youngest children in our families, and we both LOVED the spotlight. This caused many problems as we both reached for that nebulous spotlight of life.
To make matters worse we faced so many challenges that I heard a frequent reference that we were very much like Job of the Bible. It's REALLY hard when the chips are down to stay united, to spare each other anger, pain, and sorrow that are conjoined twins to stress and adversity.
We made the angry decision to divorce. We both felt that our relationship was toxic. We were ready to make a break and move on. We knew that it would be hard for our two lovely daughters but children are adaptable, right?
Nyle had worked in the "Family Law," field. That term is a euphemism for the "Break Up Family Law." I was delighted when Nyle left that post and got a job as Associate Dean of Career Services at a nearby law school.
So....Nyle called his former associate from his "Family Law" days to inquire about the process of getting a divorce. Imagine my shock and surprise when Nyle gave his recital of Fred's advice. "Fred told me that he was going to be brutally honest. Then he proceeded to say that "YOU CAN'T AFFORD A DIVORCE." Yes, I put those letter in caps on purpose. Please read on.
Fred said, "Split the house in two and each of you live in your half. Stay away from each other as much as you need to. Then he repeated the above words, "YOU CAN'T AFFORD A DIVORCE."
So...we did what he advised. We each took half of the house, and only came together when our children were around. The thing is, when we each had space and time on our own we remembered all the reasons why we fell in love in the first place.
We made the decision to go to couples counseling. Nyle told me that in an individual session with our therapist she said, "OK Nyle, do you want a divorce?" Nyle said that in that minute the realization came to him that if he divorced me he would NEVER have a wife that had known him in his youth, a wife that had born him children, a wife that was his youthful sweetheart." He answered in a loud and affirmative voice, "No, I don't want a divorce."
So...we learned, we studied with the help of a wise therapist. That's when we came to understand that when the storms of life had been battering us hard instead of uniting and pulling together we were splintering, and projecting our negative emotions on each other.
We also learned years later "There are things about each other that you will never be able to change. When you are in the marital relationship you have to take the entire package, not just the romanticized ideal."
Yesterday I spoke to a sweet friend who is going through a miserable divorce. I told her about Nyle and my experiences. She was so surprised. Seeing our relationship for the last four years she had NO CLUE that we had face such heated times in our marriage.
I share this post in the hopes that somebody else going through "changes and rearranges," that life inevitably brings to the marriage relationship will not just give up. Nyle shared some other advice with me in his "Family Law," days. I don't remember the source of this advice. "A mediocre marriage is far superior to a grand divorce."
Now that Nyle has made the mortal transition that all of us will make some day I am even more determined that there are only two reasons for divorce. #1. Abuse, sexual, physical, or emotional. #2. A partner that perceives that they have no problems...everyone else does, and they refuse to see any need to change or compromise in a relationship. It is simply IMPOSSIBLE to live with such a person.
Nyle and I had finally gotten much of our relationship right. We loved each other. Oh we still weren't perfect. Remember that whole idea above, "There are some things about each other that you will have to live with because they will never change."
Yet, how I miss him with every breath that I breathe. I would even be happy to go back to those hard times, just to see him, to hear him, to feel that particular energy that was only Nyle's.