By Andrea Napiontek
“I love you…but I’m not in love with you. I don’t think I want to be married to you anymore.”
And like a blow to the head with a metal bat, life as I knew it forever changed that day with those few words. As I stood on the front porch of our home, a monument to the hopes and dreams we’d worked for the past 10 years, I realized it was all about to change.
In my mind, the world was about to end.
My head got cloudy, my throat tightened, tears fell uncontrollably down my face and I begged–pleaded–for this to NOT be the answer.
But it was. In that moment it was his answer. Nothing I could do was going to change that.
Even though I felt like all hope was lost that day, the world didn’t stop. I didn’t die. I walked around almost 4 months feeling like an empty shell of my old self.
I saw friends and family living life as they always had. Some never knowing what was really going on behind my fake smile. But the real me? I was just going through the motions. I was staying strong for our children.
You know that quote that says, “You never know how strong you are until you have no choice but to be?”
Yea, that was me.
So I did the only thing I knew to do: I prayed.
I prayed HARD every day during those 4 months. I prayed for God to take the hurt out of me and fill it with His love. I prayed for my husband who had become a stranger to me. I prayed for God to soften his heart and for positive communication to start flowing back between us.
At this point it was real. We were there. We had attorneys. We talked custody. We talked child support and visitation. We went back and forth with each other fighting blood, sweat and tears.
I can tell you my friend: You DO NOT want this.
My family was ripped apart in every form imaginable. But my storm didn’t end with destruction. I was one of the lucky ones who got a rainbow.
Remember those prayers? They worked.
On a Sunday afternoon at the ball field, my husband and I talked. We even shared a laugh or two. Despite all the heated phone calls, jabs from our attorneys, and endless headaches we’d caused each other…sitting on those bleachers, watching our son play ball, talking like friends…it just felt right and we both knew it.
That next day we texted one another and admitted what we both knew. And that rainbow started to peek through the heavy storm clouds that had been lingering over us for months.
The final decision? We were going to try to pick up the pieces and work through this. Together.
I’m happy to report that things are better than ever and we are growing and, more importantly, learning from the past everyday.
It’s only now I can look back and answer that question I had during those 4 gruesome months: How in the world did we get to this?
The answer? Life happened.
We became mom and dad. We got careers. We became less of those crazy college kids in love and more of work, kids, eat, sleep, repeat people. We were more like roommates than husband and wife.
I’m here to tell you now: That’s not what we are called to be.
You have to make time for your relationship and yourself. Go on dates with your spouse, find a common interest and explore it with friends, sit and watch Netflix after the kids go to bed alone, DO SOMETHING to keep yourself sane and keep that spark in your marriage. Do it for him, do it for some girl time, do it for yourself.
However you justify it, just do it.
Don’t lose your identity or your marriage to a five year old, a dirty house, and a diploma.
About the Author: Andrea is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mommy of two handsome little guys, one cat, and a lab (who thinks he’s one of the boys). In her past life, Andrea was an elementary teacher/school counselor, but thanks to someone greater than her (and a 3rd handsome guy at the house)…she walked away from that life and hasn’t looked back.