Just like that, I watched my wife cross that invisible security line at the airport as she walked away from me towards the direction of her terminal where she would board a plane to fly to L.A. I stood there on the other side of that invisible security line and watched as she walked away not knowing if I would ever see her again as my wife, so I made sure to watch her every step until she disappeared into the crowd. I wanted to catch every last glimpse of her before she was gone and possibly out of my life, my marriage life, forever.
And then she was gone — my wife left me.
Marriage is difficult, and it can bring unexpected twists and turns. My wife’s decision to walk out of my life a couple weeks ago came out of nowhere for me. I had no indication that anything was wrong or that she was struggling with any aspect of our marriage. So when I learned of her plans to leave, I stood there in shock as I felt the energy and feeling drain out of my legs.
Our marriage has come with its fair share of twists and turns. Our first year together seemed magical even though we were still learning to live with each other, but the next two years were difficult. There were a few moments in those two years where I didn’t think there was any way our marriage could survive, but somehow we made it through those years and we built on our relationship until it was time to head off to law school. Those three years of law school were hell for my wife and hell for me, but they were difficult on us for different reasons. My wife was stuck at home with a toddler Addie, constant depression, and no friends who lived by to support her. I was stuck at school most of the time doing everything I could to make sure I met those magical grade requirements in order to get a job at the end of law school that would secure our family’s financial stability for the rest of our lives — the stress of those years was nearly unbearable. All of those circumstances combined caused Law school to nearly end our marriage — my wife nearly left me only a few months after graduation.
The next five years all seemed to be good. We rarely ever fought, and we hung out together often and didn’t seem to take our marriage for granted. Vivi was born and Casey eventually began to travel for work more and more often. With those hurdles and a few additional hurdles along the way, going on dates and spending time together became more and more difficult. As I was warned many times by many people, her travel and my work stress caused a distance to grow in our relationship, and before I knew it, that distance damaged our relationship.
It’s still difficult for me to pick out exactly what went wrong over the last six months to cause my wife to leave. I knew we needed to start spending more time together, but I didn’t feel like we had let too much distance get between us yet. And that’s where I think our different lifestyles came into play and caused me to miss all of the signs that my wife was struggling. Casey traveled a lot, and she had a lot of time to be alone and to feel lonely. I wasn’t traveling with her, and staying in contact via text messaging or phone calls didn’t happen like it should have for a number of different reasons. Meanwhile, the stress from my job picked up tremendously over the past six months, and when Casey would leave, I would put my head down as I tried to power through the added stress of being a temporary single parent and full time attorney for those 7 days alone with our daughters. I think I was so stressed from everything going on that I completely missed the signs that my wife felt lonely and needed more emotional support from me than what she was getting. There’s probably a lot more that went into her decision than that, and I’ll have the next forever to try to figure out what those other things were.
Thankfully, seven days after my wife walked away from me for what I thought might be for the last time, I picked her up from the airport and brought her back home to stay. Over the past month as we emotionally struggled with her decision to leave, neither of us stopped loving the other. We both suffered physically and emotionally from the turmoil in our marriage, and we both lost quite a bit of weight — I lost about 30 pounds. We didn’t fight, and we didn’t spout off mean comments to each other. Instead, we held each other and comforted each other trying to make each other feel like it would be alright in the end. Even after all of the emotional turmoil and my wife actually getting on a plane to leave, there are already aspects of our marriage that now seem stronger than they ever have before, but that doesn’t mean our marriage has been magically fixed either.
We’re both fighting for our marriage, and I’m fighting for my wife. I’ll be fighting for her for the rest of my life. We’ll go through some marriage counseling to make sure we’re doing things right, and when we’re done with that, we’ll make sure to meet with a marriage counselor every so often to make sure things stay on the right path.
At times over the past month I’ve wondered if marriage was worth all the pain it has caused me. Then I’ll catch a glimpse of my wife as she enters the room, and I know it is all worth it because I get to be with that lady. And that’s all I really need or want in this life.
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