If your wife left, or threatened to leave, this post was written especially for you.
“When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person that walked in. That’s what the storm is all about.” Haruki Murakami
James’ wife, Susan, had just made a pot of coffee and was standing over the breakfast bar drinking it, looking as though she was a million miles away. James was in his business casual attire that Friday morning, ready to head out to the office. He came into the kitchen, poured himself a cup and as he was ready to leave, Susan drops the bomb, “I want a divorce.”
His mind immediately went searching for answers:
What? Did she just say what I think she said?
Why? Why would she want a divorce?
What happened? Did I do something wrong? Is she having an affair?
He just stood there in shock, not knowing what to say or where to even begin with all the questions that were simultaneously racing through his mind. Knowing they both had a full day in front of them, he just said, “Let’s talk about it tonight,” and off he went.
That was the day that James contacted me.
A week or so later Susan left.
James felt blind-sided and considered that maybe she wasn’t serious and that maybe this was just a knee-jerk reaction to him being both overly stressed at work and generally irritated around her lately. As he re-lived that moment over and over in his mind throughout the day, he was convinced that he hadn’t seen this coming…or had he?
No one falls asleep next to their spouse deeply in love one night and wakes up the next day without that lovin’ feeling. Of course, love ebbs and flows over the years. Sometimes we feel closer to our partners than other times.
But when James looked more closely, he couldn’t remember the last time he felt really close and deeply connected to Susan. He couldn’t put his finger on the one thing that created that distance or that day that things changed between them:
Maybe it was when both their careers became more demanding.
Maybe it was becoming consumed in their lives and activities of their children.
Maybe it was something he hadn’t been aware of…but he could no longer deny that the distance had become so wide that James now didn’t think it could be bridged.
On most highways, just off to the right are rough treads or rumble strips – those bumps that are there to startle you awake if you doze off or aren’t paying attention. Their purpose is to alert you before you end up in the ditch.
Susan and James had been riding on the rumble strip for a while.
And as often happens when you disregard the warnings, now they’re off in a ditch.
It is possible that, through our work together, James will be able to find his way back to Susan – and he to her. But, the real point of our work is to make sure that even if the marriage remains in the ditch that James pulls himself out and doesn’t remain stranded and lost.
The problems in our marriages don’t happen in an instant, although sometimes it can feel like that. The deepest most damaging problems happen slowly over time:
Is your marriage or relationship on the rumble strip? If so, now is the time to wake up and pay attention, to take action before it lands in the ditch.
Is your marriage already in the ditch? Then, it’s time to pull yourself from the rubble.
Either way…I’m your tow-truck driver.