This past year my husband and I grew apart
I’m not talking about this ‘falling out of love’ stuff you hear people talk about sometimes (which I think is a crock anyways).
It wasn’t like what happened with your best friend from elementary school either. There was no falling out where you decided not to be friends anymore but the older you both got, the more you changed and you naturally grew apart.
We grew apart this year when we started to do some marriage counseling.
We had some issues to put it nicely. We focused a lot of time and effort into our marriage to work through some things.
It helped. A little bit. But only so much.
We found that the real reason our marriage was struggling and having problems was because we had some major problems, individually.
Our marriage wasn’t so much the problem as we were.
So we went to work. Separately. And everything started to unravel.
I was confronted with my codependent and controlling way of relating with my husband.
He was confronted with his lack of understanding about what he was feeling and then verbalizing what he wanted, which led him to silently grow more frustrated and resentful of me each day.
Marriage is a delicate dance. But dancing doesn’t work when you are crippled. Our ways of interacting with one another were crippling.
We disengaged and temporarily, it was easier that way. Because when we did engage it was in scorekeeping, blaming, shaming one another.
We still attempted to dance in our disabled state. Stepping all over and knocking one another over, clumsily and stupidly, hurting one another deeply in the meantime.
Enough was enough and we decided we didn't want this anymore. Not our marriage, but the ways we were interacting and the crippled state we lived in.
But when we tried to set aside our crippling ways of interacting, we found that we didn’t actually know how to dance with one another.
Conversations dwindled. A new silence descended.
Silence has in interesting way of strengthening bonds at times when words are not necessary, while at other times, silence has a way of taking up space and squeezing out the sense of connection.
This time, the silence squeezed out our sense of connection because it was so strange and uncomfortable.
We didn’t even know how to talk to one another, to relate to each other, in a way that was genuine, honest, and true to ourselves.
So we grew apart in the silence that grew longer and wider.
Yet individually, we grew tremendously in big and bold ways.
When you’ve changed and they’ve changed, it feels awkward. When you’ve grown apart, conversations feels more forced. They feel robotic. A lot less natural, even if the natural was unhealthy in the first place.
But when we did speak, our words were intentional. Thought out. Purposeful.
I stopped seeking to control through my word choice and tone. He said what he wanted. It felt really weird and it felt really good.
What we had known began to disintegrate. And it was the best thing that could have happened for us.
All we had known, years of interacting in unhealthy ways finally pushed us to the brink. As we sat in silence over dinner many nights, the old patterns began to die.
We became brave and bold in separate ways. We became real in ways we’d never known.
We grew apart in the best way possible this year.
We grew apart in a way that anchored our marriage more securely and more surely that I could have ever imagined.