Things in our neck of the world have been pretty crazy. We have been in a state of adjustment here and it has been, in a word, amazing. I struggle, sometimes, with what to say and how to say it on this blog and in this process because I'm torn. I want to share because we have so many people who have been praying for us. But how to share? If I talk about everything too positively, it feels like I'm sugar coating things and I may inadvertently give the impression that this is a walk in the park. If I focus on the hard parts, then I'm being negative.
I know that there are women out there who read my blog who have gone through or are going through a divorce and I want to be sensitive to that. I know when John and I were apart I would read stories of husbands or wives coming home and wonder what I did wrong that kept John from coming back. I don't ever want anyone to read this and think that there is anything better about me or my life than them or theirs. It's just not true. Conversely, I don't want anyone to get the impression that this is too hard to be worth it, or that reconciliation isn't a viable option. It's tough to find that balance since in the end, blog posts are simply a glimpse of a slice of life.
All that being said, things are pretty great here. The transition has gone so much more smoothly than I thought it would, and I know that is totally a God thing. We have been under plenty of stress in the past month but have handled it better than I could have imagined. We are seeing a great counselor who has been really helpful and just started going to a marriage seminar at church. John got thrown into the deep end with the kids when I was in the hospital with Coen and he did great. It's been amazing having help cooking and cleaning and kid wrangling.
I did not expect things to go this well. I thought it would be harder. Probably, at some point, it will be harder. Such is life. But I did shock myself one afternoon when I came home from an afternoon lending an ear to a new friend who was going through some tough things. I walked through the door, just gutted and sad from hearing about the situation she was in, and I walked up and I hugged John for a really long time and then I pulled back and looked at him and I said "Thank you for not coming home until you were ready."
Then we both laughed because it sounded so ridiculous. I think he thought maybe I was drunk.
But I meant it.
John had to hit rock bottom on his own terms, with me completely out of the equation, and decide what he wanted from his life on his own before rebuilding our life together would ever have worked. He had to want to be with us so badly that he had to work for it, not fall back into our lives because it was easy. We had to be what he longed for and missed, not his fallback plan.
And thank God, that happened. I never knew it would when I packed up the kids and moved to Indiana, but it was the absolute best thing we had every done. John has shared a lot with me about things that happened or things he went through after we left Florida that show that us leaving was a bigger wake up call than I could even have imagined. And my living in Indiana when John began to do the work in Florida to rebuild our relationship was a blessing in disguise. I can't tell you how many times I cursed being across the country from him those four months we were discussing reconciliation. I thought it would never work being so far away from one another.
But being so far away from each other for those months was the best thing that could have happened. We had lots of time to talk with no other expectations. We discussed what life would look like at length. We had about every conversation you could have on every topic we could think could ever be an issue. And interspersed throughout, we had visits. Three in all, two in Indiana and one in Florida, and we slowly stepped back into our life. Additionally, we didn't tell the kids anything at all until we were positive we were completely and utterly committed to making it work. No trying to make it work. No giving it a shot. Committed. Period.
And it's because of those four months and all the prep work we did that this transition has gone so well.
Well, that and God.
Well, that and God and the fact that we love each other quite a lot and we're both willing to do that work.
The first night of this seminar we are attending at church was awkward. We sat at our table with all the couples and the facilitator instructed us to introduce ourselves, tell how long we'd been married, and what we most love about our partner.
I won't lie. I balked. Did we really have to tell everyone, air our dirty laundry? Wouldn't it be easier to just gloss over everything?
But when has glossing over anything helped at all? And we weren't at a dinner party; we were at a marriage seminar, after all.
So I took a deep breath, and I looked at everyone, and I told them. "I'm Ellyn. This is John. We were married for six years, and then we got divorced. Now that's a funny story, believe me! And now we're back together."
And that's the beginning, not the end. If this were a movie, we'd be riding off into the sunset right now. Instead we're just starting out. Not from scratch, but starting out all the same. And instead of the fancy moving ending we'll have a full life. Screaming kids, disagreements, money problems. Cookouts with friends, yelling too loud at the kids' basketball games, date nights here and there. Someone to come home to.
No, not just someone. My someone.
Sounds pretty amazing to me.
Friday Fellowship - Amanda Jones
1 day ago