Gratitude - Story

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We're surrounded by stories, and Sage Wolfsong centers on helping others tell theirs. What story are you most grateful for?

In this 40 Days of Gratitude blog post, a deeply personal story about marriage, forgiveness, and mental illness.

My choice for this is an odd one and is deeply personal. It’s the story of how Hubby and I came near the end, and how our marriage survived despite infidelity and bitterness.

Way back when I was still working and Hubby had recently gotten out of the Army, I knew something was very wrong, I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Hubby wasn’t working, and he spent a good part of his days playing games online. He’d found a group of people (mostly women) that he clicked with.

I didn’t realize at the time just how much his discharge had affected him - Hubby is one of those people who keep their emotions under a carefully constructed mask, and half the time he didn’t even admit to himself how bad off he was. As a result, I played my own part poorly. Rather than being supportive of efforts to feel better, I nagged and griped my way through every evening after another bad day at work. Work for me was becoming a nightmare, dealing with abusive coworkers and a mounting pile of tasks that didn’t fit into my job description, aside from “other duties as assigned”.

I came home one night and settled in to join Hubby online, only to be bombarded with nasty messages from one of the women Hubby spent time with in his game. And then her friends joined in.

According to her, she had more right to my husband’s time than I did, and I’d ruined her life by not leaving him. (I wish I was kidding. Sadly, this was the theory that this woman operated under - if she could just get a married man to leave his wife for her, all her problems would be solved.)

There was no fight. In the hour that followed, Hubby made his chat logs available, and I discovered just how bitter he was that I was working and he was not. I found entire conversations where he complained about how he wanted to leave, but couldn’t until something in the situation changed. Until then, I was just his rent and grocery money.

It would be an understatement to say I was hurt. But I wasn’t angry. Well, I was, but I didn’t yell and scream.

In this 40 Days of Gratitude blog post, a deeply personal story about marriage, forgiveness, and mental illness.

I offered him his choice of consequence:

He could leave and go be with this gal who was so irate at me for existing, or…

I could offer him my trust again on the condition that we figure out how to fix what was broken between us.

I wish I could say it was an easy fix, but it wasn’t. It took years, and during the therapy sessions I had early on in my Fibromyalgia diagnosis, we came to the conclusion that this may have been what triggered the chronic health issues that finally drove me out of the work-force. I don’t blame Hubby, as you’ve probably figured out from a post just a few days ago about who I’m most grateful for.

We’ve come a long way. It’s been a trail full of tears and sleepless nights. We’ve both taken our own mental health in hand and gotten professional help to manage depression and anxiety.

We’re not perfect, and I tend to point that out to those close to us who wish for a relationship like ours. Be careful what you wish for - this sweetness and almost-30-year-old romance has had some nasty pitfalls that left us both broken for a long time. We chose the hard road, though, and pushed through to find healing and each other.

I’ve been told that when we become “Empty Nesters”, we’ll face all kinds of problems, and perhaps this is hubris to say.

I don’t foresee any issues that we can’t overcome.

I saw that day coming, a few years back and decided that I didn’t want to be lost and out of my depth when the day came.

Hubby recognizes that it’s coming, too, and we’re starting to get out and (gasp) socialize once in a while.

Today, we’re good. We hold each other up, despite our inner and outer struggles.

When that odd person comes along, doing their damnedest to break our marriage, they get shown the door without hesitation, regardless of our relationship to that person.

We’re in it to stay.

Drop into the comments below and share your story. What story are you grateful for today?

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