It was about a week after my ex husband and I decided to separate that I got a text from my sister with a link to a blog post by Glennon Doyle Melton. I had never heard of her, but what I read shot right to the core of my anguish and confusion.
"I do not believe that every marriage should be saved. I’ve seen too much and listened too hard to believe that. I do not value marriage more than I value the individual souls inside of marriage. And I do not judge a love’s worth by how it ends. I do not. I believe that NO LOVE IS WASTED."
Just slow down and chew on that one part a little more... "I do not value marriage more than I value the individual souls inside of marriage." Can you see why I, as a guilt-ridden and perplexed woman, burst into tears at those words? I clung to them like a buoy in choppy waters. I had so many people telling me I needed to stay no matter what, that I had no reason to leave. But Glennon , and I began consuming her blog like a tonic.
Her memoir, Love Warrior, tells the raw, honest story of her marriage and what happened to it when she discovered her husband's infidelity. Before her marriage she had been battling an eating disorder and alcohol abuse, and with the news of her husband's affair she his a whole new rock bottom. She spilled her guts so beautifully and unashamedly that I felt empowered by my own mess, realized that I wasn't alone in my current state of dysfunction. The reality is that we're all a bunch of misfits when it comes to relationships.
As I began reading this book I found myself underlining passages on nearly every other page. So much of my unnamed hurts were unbelievably sitting there on the pages. It was hard to explain why I felt lonely all the time, and then she described it with 100% accuracy when she talked about her husband's inability to relate to her.
"Instead of taking my words in, thanking them over, and building upon them, he seems to let them bounce off of him and fall away. His responses are so disconnected from what I've just said that I have to fight the urge to touch my mouth and say, "Is this thing on? That's not what I meant at all." "
That was it. That was what left me feeling confused and alienated every day. My words drifting off into space, never quite making it into the heart of the person who was supposed to be connected to my soul.
Another section that left a great impact on my soul was her account of being told that her choice to leave her husband was the wrong decision for her kids. She found the strength to stand up for herself and later came to the conclusion that "making decisions is never about doing the right thing or the wrong thing. It's about doing the precise thing. The precise thing is always incredibly personal and often makes no sense to anyone else."
Did that just grab you somewhere around the middle too? I still cling to that idea, still find I need it when things get all swirly and crazy. Like when I take a giant risk and bare my soul and total strangers make a judgement on my parenting. The choices I'm making aren't a product of something right or wrong, it's just the precise thing I need to do and it's not about making sure everyone else understands and approves. My story, my words, my ink.
This book is an invitation to walk through the pain of life to reach the prize, instead of side-stepping discomfort and settling for the mediocre. I would, of course, recommend it to anyone who has divorced or is going through the process of one. It is full of the kind of honesty that is simultaneously refreshing and cringe-worthy, because Glennon writes the truth without shame... something we can all use a little more of.
Have you read this book or anything else by GDM? Leave me a comment and we can chat about it!