I mentioned recently that I’m reading Liz Gilbert’s Committed. She talks about her first marriage a bit, and the “mere” sadness that ended it. Obviously her sadness was not “mere” at all, or it wouldn’t have ended her marriage. It was grinding and pervasive and permanent and all-consuming.
Or so it seemed at the time.
I know many people who have become that sad – that trapped – by their marriages, and been infinitely happier when they left.
Here’s the thing: I’ve been that sad in my marriage. I’ve had those days (weeks … months … years) where I honestly thought the only escape from my matrimonial hell would be divorce – or death.
Crying secretly, so no one finds out.
A hurt so real that it’s a physical pain that drives into your joints without relent.
And absolutely no prospect of light or joy on the horizon ever again.
Someone once told me that can sometimes happen in a marriage. And they told me it would pass.
I’ll admit that when I was buried in that mire, I didn’t let myself hope for a moment that it could possibly ever need, that anything could ever be good or right again with us.
But that dear, wise person was right. It passed. (More than once!)
Right now, we’re happier than we’ve ever been. And our relationship is deeper and more honest than ever before.
I don’t know if this heartbreaking, gut-wrenching agony is a natural part of marriage. I really hope it isn’t. But when I was there, I felt like I owed it to the love we had once, and the young and optimistic girl I once was, to see if – just maybe – my friend had the right of it and things could get better.
I certainly don’t think people should stay in a situation that is toxic in any way, whether it’s abuse of some kind, or it generates that numbing depression that slowly engulfs you in nothing from the inside out.
For me (for us) it was worth it to stick it out. And if it happens again, I hope I’ll remember the lesson.