Saturday, May 2, 2015

GUEST POST (Ex-Husband responds) - A Return Ode To My Wife

Us in 2000. (22yrs old)
Hi, my pseudo name is "Josh Andrews," and a few weeks ago on the eve of my moving out of our house, my wife wrote a three part tribute to our 15 years together.
Our names in cased in the ceiling
on dollars at “Peggy’s” bar
in Des Moines, IA.

It was beautifully written, and wonderfully expressed so many of the lovely aspects of our relationship and parenthood.  We really were best friends, and pulling a pile of personal baggage we bravely charged through life together, created three wonderful children, while laughing, dancing, and singing. 

And now, we are still holding onto our friendship (some times easier than others) for two reasons; the health of our children and deep love that we still share for each other.

It's taken me a few weeks to respond. Couples don't always keep the same pace, and when a marriage is unwinding, it's even harder. Reading those posts brought too many emotions on top of all the emotions I was already feeling as I packed the uHaul. 

Despite all of our conversations, her clear communication, my rationale thought, like others that probably read her posts it was hard for me to reconcile all of that beauty with the ending that was coming. Her point was to celebrate many of things that were (and still are) beautiful about us, not to delve into the things that didn't allow us to work.

I am a deeply private man, so this is probably my first (and last) guest blog. Except when I would get really angry (my face turns bright red), I have tended to keep my emotions in check and I've talked about my problems and feelings to very few people, if any.

This is a defense mechanism of mine that goes back to childhood. The "stiff upper lip" mentality. This has not served me well. 

And Lulu, to her credit, has for years helped to prod and pull feelings out of me. I always thought we created a nice balance for one another, my even-keeled nature and her broad range of emotion.

In hindsight, it's a two-sided coin. That juxtaposition has definitely had it's utility many times, but it's also created a rift of loneliness and disconnection, especially for my wife. 

The catalyst of our demise has been excruciatingly public fodder in our town over the last five months. It's messy, ugly, and she has been the focal point of a lot of gossip and shaming. 

Did she make mistakes? Yes. But our situation was not created out of thin air, and it doesn’t change any of her wonderful qualities like being funny, whip smart, and an incredibly intuitive mother to our children.

I am no saint, and she is no demon. 

My list of transgressions includes being depressed and emotionally void for several years, being largely absent (work and school) during some of the most difficult times of young parenthood, and infidelity of my own. (I had an inappropriate relationship with another woman.) 

Does any of that mean I didn't love her, or not want to be with her, or not want us to make it? No, it just proves that I am fallible, selfish, human and share blame.

Marriage is the toughest, most humbling, and most rewarding thing I've ever been a part of. I would never change choosing her, loving her, and creating life with her. 

 Do I like where we are at the moment? No, not what I pictured and not what I want. I am sure she would say the same.

But we are keeping our kids as happy and healthy as possible, trying to support each other through this transition, and keeping our friendship in tact.

Maybe we weren't the perfect match from the beginning, maybe we aren't compatible in every way, but we sure as hell tried everyday and always loved each other. 

And as she showed in her poignant posts... there was a lot to love about us.

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