what I want you to know: forgiving a spouse

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face.  If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. This guest post is by Sue.

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What I want you to know is that my husband is the love of my life and we have been married for 30 years this summer. But we hit a very big bump in the road during our 8th year of marriage. That was the year my husband declared that he didn’t want to be married anymore and just like that, we were separated.

What I want you to know is that I didn’t want to be separated, but, just like that, I was. Because it only take one spouse to leave the other to be separated. For me, it was like being in a foreign country and not being able to ask for directions. I was desperate to connect to my husband and get through to him---to tell him that I loved him no matter what and we could work through anything as long as it was together. But, the truth is that he had to work through a lot of issues he was struggling with on his own. I couldn’t help him no matter how much I wanted to. The truth is that I let him go, so he could figure his life out. And it was the hardest thing I had ever done. The truth is that I was soooo mad at him, yet I loved him and wanted him to be whole again. I wanted the best for him. Even if it was without me. The truth is that I knew the man I married, and I believed in him and in us. But the man who left me was not the man I married. The man I married was my best friend. He pledged his love to me. It was real. The man who left me was broken and could not love---me or himself.

What I want you to know is that the year I was separated from my husband was the hardest year of my life, and yet it was the year I grew so much as a person. It was the year I realized that no matter what, God loved me, and that with or without a husband, I would make it. It was the year I lived on my own, with my toddler, for the very first time ever. It was like climbing Mt. Everest without any training, but I did it. I realized during that year that I really wasn’t alone because God sent me real life brothers and sisters to help me through this trial. He was with me all the way.

What I want you to know is that I prayed so hard for God to change my husband’s mind and bring him back to me. And with every month that went by and he didn’t come back, I felt angry and abandoned and worthless. But then I turned the corner, and realized that I could be a whole person and that people loved me for me. I want you to know that my year of separation was a year of discovery. I shed a thousand tears, but I also learned so much about myself.

What I want you to know is that through it all, even me not understanding how I could be separated, I realized that the vows I took when I got married were real, and I loved my husband and this was the “for worse” part of the vows. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the love we had once pledged was real; I was not ready just to give up on that even though the hurt this separation caused was worse than anything I had ever experienced. I finally came to realize that I was not the one who could change anything. It was up to God. And my husband.

What I want you to know is that when I least expected it, when I was moving on with my life, and at peace with who I was, my husband re-entered my life. And he was completely different and so was I, but the love we had once promised to each other was still there and it came back with a fire and a fierceness that wasn’t there before. We both realized how precious true love is and we knew that that was what we had once found in each other. It wasn’t hard work to bring it back. It came back naturally. Because the truth is, we pledged our love when we were young, but it was real and solid and built on a faith that was solid. But, what I want you to know is that we both had to take a risk, take a chance, and be willing to forgive.

Yet, when we did, it was like….wow….. falling in love all over again, except better. Way better. And so, what I what you to really know is that life is not perfect, love is not perfect, but when you really know the person you love, then it is possible, with God’s help, to forgive, to forget and to find love again---and the blessings that come afterward are definitely worth every hour, every day of struggle and every heartbreak that you go through. What I want you to know is that you can begin again, and the blessings that come from being able to truly forgive are so much more than I ever imagined. My marriage and my relationship with my husband are so much more than I ever dared to hope for. It’s not perfect, but it’s real and it’s solid. What I want you to know is that in the end, a love that is true is worth it all. It is definitely worth taking a chance at forgiving and starting again.


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