With Strength, With Dignity

It’s Saturday. Oh friends, how I love my Saturday's. Last night Oliver was an angel which is a welcomed change from last weekend’s massive volcanic tantrums. I’m not sure what caused them, but so far this weekend we are tantrum-free. There was a bout of crying this morning which was due to Peanut mourning the loss of Mater’s Tall Tales. I turned it off as a consequence of his outburst directed at me. He was angry that I would not let him have soda. I know, I’m so mean. No soda. Stomp your feet? Well, then no Mater too. I gave him several chances to redeem himself. He took none of them.

Then Oliver’s daddy stopped by.

Let me back up. What I haven’t shared with you is how I have been feeling the last three days, this one being no exception, therefor I’m in my fourth day of this. What is this? It’s the inevitable valley that comes along with the peaks. It’s the roller coaster of emotions. It’s the process of grief. I knew this would come. And luckily it hasn’t been as low as many of the others, nor has it come with tears.

Until today.

Until just now.

Until Matt left.

His blue eyes. His voice. His laugh. His “just out of reach” self.... I hate it. I hate that he’s so close and yet so far.

For the last two or maybe even three months, I have not pursued my husband. I haven’t inquired. I have not reached out. I have given him space and in turn, have given myself space. I was focused on me. I was (and still am) moving forward with my life, preparing myself for a life without my husband, if that be the case.

So what I’ve realized this past week is that I still have feelings for my husband. I have strong feelings for him. And on Wednesday, I started to miss him. I let myself go there. I don’t go there. I don’t want to go there. Yet it’s only natural. I have to allow myself that space to grieve and time to wish.

Valentines Day was not so bad. I was prepared. I had plans that evening; good plans to take care of myself! And then I woke that morning to a text, at 6:56 am from my husband. It read, “Good Morning. Happy Valentines Day.” No sh*t. I couldn’t believe it. Now I didn’t react. I didn’t go and make room in my closet for him. It was a step, a small step and who knows what it meant. Nothing probably. I kept myself in check. I kept this all in perspective. But later that week I found myself daydreaming of a trip to NYC where I thought perhaps we could spend our second honeymoon, you know? The one we have right after we renew our vows? Yeah. That’s me staying in check.

I later dismissed those plans. But I felt a high each time I thought about that text. Pitiful in a sense, isn’t it? Pitiful that it would take so little to thrill me.

Baby steps. That’s all it was really. Matt let his guard down.

I thank God that Matt gives me hope. I do. And then I thank God that Matt takes my hope away at times, for it makes my dependence upon God all the more stronger. I have to rely on something, someone more dependable, more loving, more forgiving, more stable than Matt.

So I moved forward, not giving all those fantasies too much time in my head.

Here’s how my week went:

Monday — a fine day at work! A great meeting that evening. A quiet time alone at bedtime since Oliver was with his father.

Tues — still reeling off the great weekend I had. I wrote a gratitude list and it had 34 things on it that I was grateful for.

Wednesday — took a 1/2 day off work so that I could go on a field trip with Oliver’s day care class. They went to an indoor inflatable “gym”. That’s when it started, when I was starting to miss being a family. Starting to wonder what it would be like if we were a family unit again. Matt packed an incredible lunch for Oliver. I was impressed. My husband has really stepped up in the child rearing department. Since we parted ways, he’s shopped for clothes for Oliver, fed Oliver, taken Oliver to fun fun places, and now I can see that he packs a mean lunch. Wow. These are all things I used to do. It was bittersweet in a way. Good to know he is fully capable. Sad to know he doesn’t need me for these things.

That really turned something inside of me. Spending time around these other children doesn’t always help either for 99.5% of them have two parents at home. I feel like the only single one in the bunch.... until today when a dear friend reminded me that I’m still married.

Later that day I started yearning for my marriage back. I wanted it back so badly I could taste it. I could feel it. I could live it.

Thursday — was different. I was cloaked in anger, a feeling that I haven’t indulged too much in lest I grab hold of it and never let it go. I was enraged at what my husband had done these past 9 months; how he acted; what he said; how he up and left me and our son and our life w/o so much as a reason why. He put our son thru so much pain these past 9 months, and I was turned upside down. When I look back at last summer, I see how indescribably awful it was for me. I perceived my husband to be cold and unfeeling. I judged this whole situation as wrong. Just plain wrong. These angry feelings were unfamiliar terrain for me. I had thought these thoughts before. But I had never given them much life. In passing, anger and I had become acquaintances, but now we became intimate friends.

Later in the day on Thursday I spoke with a friend about my feelings, and she reminded me that some of what I felt was good and appropriate; that I just needed to ask God how much of it I needed to retain, and what parts I needed to let go of. She reminded me that all the things my husband did had nothing to do with me. I thought they did for so long. I lost weight. Got rid of the gray. Began to dress more like a woman instead of a “mom”. Looked deep inside myself and recognized those things that really needed to be changed. I got down on my knees and asked God for help so that I could be more forgiving, more loving, more supportive, more understanding, more kind! More sexy even! But none of that brought him home. I see now, those changes were good and very necessary. They made me feel incredibly good about myself. But my husband made decisions that were not in the best interest of our marriage. Those choices had nothing to do with me.

Friday — I began to get over it. I was no longer angry. I reminded myself that my husband’s actions were not about me. He has some unhappiness going on inside him. He’s dealing with demons, just like we all do. I was not angry. I was actually mildly missing him, and then I began to lose hope, putting some expectations on him that he didn’t meet, couldn’t meet. Having had a taste of something good, I naturally wanted more.

Saturday — That’s today. That’s now. This morning I missed him. I knew what I would do today if he were back in my life. I pictured it. I imagined it. I saw it, and I felt it.

As I was cleaning up the kitchen I heard a rap on the kitchen window. I turned and it was him, my husband. I went down the back stairs to let him in. He was here to drop off clothes for Oliver just like he said he would. He then headed upstairs to take care of some repairs for our tenants. When he came back down, I invited him in. He and Oliver had some hellos and kisses. Then Matt and I chatted briefly.

Then he put Oliver down for a nap.

I tended to the kitchen. I thought, “This is what it could be like if we were a family again.”

All was well. He left.

I broke down. I think it was because I wanted so much more. I wanted him to embrace me, to grab me, to hug me, to look me in the eyes.... I wanted him to initiate conversation, to be reluctant to leave. Altho he wasn’t in a hurry to exit, he made no effort to prolong our conversation, no effort to move closer to me physically.

I was heartbroken. What really happened when he was here? Today, I fell deep into the ocean of his bright blue eyes. I wrapped his voice around me. I took in all the details of his person; his hands, his face, every single detail. I wanted to look, really look at him. There wasn’t any part of him that I didn’t want. I wanted it all. I wanted to claim him back as mine.

That is my love for him. Thru our thick and thin, thru this separation, I never stopped loving him. While we were together,  before all this happened, I allowed anger and resentment to put a wall between us. I allowed my unhappiness to affect me, how I took care of myself. I allowed my expectations to rule my world instead of accepting my life circumstances and appreciating what was given to me. I wanted more. I wanted to change him. I wanted things before people. Specifically, I blamed Matt for not giving me a better life, materially. I’m not proud to share this with you. I wanted to satisfy Andrea instead of satisfying my marriage. I cannot tell you how badly my expectations, my critical eye, my resentments, my refusal to forgive eroded our love.

Look, I’m not blaming myself solely. Really. I’m not.

It took two. And now, just for today, in this very moment, I am owning my part. I have owned it over the last nine months, this is true. I have taken more than my fair share of the blame. I have handed my dignity and power over to my husband more times than I care to admit.

Today is different. With strength, with dignity, with regret, with sorrow, with love in my heart for myself and for my husband, I take ownership of my contribution to the demise of this marriage.

I buried it. Not single-handedly. But I helped to run it into the ground.


  1. Oh Andrea...this post broke my heart a little. So human, so vulnerable. But that's it, right? Humanity is knowing that a peak will come with a valley, and a high with a low. That being said, hang in there, stay strong, because you know who you are, and that is a gift that I think many people NEVER get. We're all pulling for you.

  2. DUH – of course you love him! Duh – anyone who knows anything at all about you knows that Andrea! And you should. Just because bad stuff happens and just because people do bad things and make we are perceivably bad decisions; this does not mean we up and stop loving them.

    Just love him anyways. I say love him! With everything God puts in your heart. So long as you love yourself, your God and your boy at least that much, then love Matt too!

    You are doing great and what you are supposed to be doing.

    Hebrews 10:36: Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

    The rest of that is doubt, which comes from the devil. Kick him out of your head and tell him you choose to walk clothed with strength and dignity today and he can not have a piece of you…. today.

    keep doing the deal girlfriend!


  3. Andrea, Who's to say he's not thinking those same things when he sees YOU? Why wouldn't he?

    You have both gone thru some profound changes these past months, both externally and internally.

    Love, J

  4. The parallels between us is scary! You write the words that I feel as well. Perhaps he will see the change in you because we certainly have. Yes the highs are good, the lows are bad, it is that middle ground that we strive for. You are doing great, it's a process which no one but you can achieve. All the advice and well wishes will not get you there, although we want you to get there! It is you who was done the work on you, Quite proud of you I might add! Our happiness does not come from others, we give that to ourselves.
    ~Be well~
    Love, Andy xo

  5. And the other thing is, Andrea, you don’t know what Matt thinks. Only Matt and his God know that. Maybe he does think you are awesome. Maybe he does love you to the very depths of his heart, and maybe his heart is breaking every single day you are apart. You do not know.

    The same way I can take the expectations to the top, I find I can bring them down to their lowest – and —

    A.) I don’t have that power
    B.) that is a me thinking of me


  6. Andrea,

    Remember the days when Neutral was what you hoped for? It was a good thing? Neutral is good!

    And how do you know he wasn't thinking the same things as you that day? You don't know.


    Love, ML


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