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The Day I Left My Marriage

The Day I Left My Marriage

(And the unusual advice that challenged my decision)
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The day had come. I'd lasted as long as I could in my marriage. Once my husband, Bill, left for work, I packed a bag for myself and our 14-month-old son and left our home. It was the only year in our married life when we lived in the same town as my parents. Obviously the convenience of being able to run to Mom and Dad made my decision to leave Bill easier.

With a tear-stained, angry face, I walked into Mom's kitchen. She held the baby while I sobbed my declaration of independence. After washing my face and sipping a cup of coffee, Mom told me she and Dad would help me. They'd be there for me, which brought me great comfort.

"But before you leave Bill," she said, "I have one task for you to complete."

Mom put down my sleeping son, took a pen and sheet of paper, and drew a vertical line down the middle of the page. She told me to list in the left column all the things Bill did that made him impossible to live with. As I looked at the dividing line, I thought she'd then tell me to list all his good qualities on the right-hand side. I was determined to have a longer list of bad qualities on the left. This is going to be easy, I thought. I started immediately to scribble down the left column.

Bill never picked his clothes off the floor. He never told me when he was going outside. He slept in church. He had embarrassing, nasty habits such as blowing his nose or belching at the dinner table. He never bought me nice presents. He refused to match his clothes. He was tight with money. He wouldn't help with the housework. He didn't talk with me.

The list went on and on, until I'd filled the page. I certainly had more than enough evidence to prove that no woman would be able to live with this man.

Smugly I said, "Now I guess you're going to ask me to list all Bill's good qualities on the right side."

"No," Mom said. "I already know Bill's good qualities. Instead, for each item on the left side, I want you to write how you respond. What do you do?"

This was even tougher. I'd been thinking about Bill's few, good qualities I could list. I hadn't considered thinking about myself. I knew Mom wasn't going to let me get by without completing her assignment. So I had to start writing.

I'd pout, cry, and get angry. I'd be embarrassed to be with him. I'd act like a "martyr." I'd wish I'd married someone else. I'd give him the silent treatment. I'd feel I was too good for him. The list seemed endless.

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Displaying 1–3 of 102 comments

Laura Menefee

September 16, 2014  2:40pm

Thank you for your article. Thank you for sharing your story. I am unmarried and praying for that part of my life. I have always wanted to be married but have also wondered how on earth I will ever be able to live my whole life with annoyances that don't change or go away. So this article really hit that thought on the head. I am now rooming with two adult women. One is young and the other is very busy. I am the oldest and in my "motherly" phase so I have spent several months picking up after them and getting very annoyed by it. And even though they should be picking up after themselves, I always hear God remind me "are you sure this is what you want?" It sounds so trivial to walk out because of clothes on the floor or dishes in the sink (when they could go into the dishwaster just as easy), but those things really do add up day after day. Thank you for the encouragement and widened perspective. God Bless!

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David carlos

September 14, 2014  12:18pm

Your blog is very well-informed.

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complete in Him

August 24, 2014  11:56am

Jennifer, I think your coffee table analogy is short sided dear and lacking the wisdom you seem to think comes from other alternatives. I also doubt that you left church for the reasons you blame them on. I encourage you to look to the root of your reasons in an earnest conversation between you and God and not finger point at the symptoms. Wisdom and true wisdom can only come from one supernatural source and that is God and His living Word. The world offers it's own false wisdom which bares death for its' fruit. The Spirit of God within us is the discerner of the lies from the Truth. Wisdom is not inherently in any of us.God knows where each of us are and I do not think it wise to criticize how God chooses to speak to other's hearts. This article focused on looking outside of ourselves and turning the gaze on our own relationship to God instead of being immersed in finding the fault in other's around us. I do not see that as a negative by any means..

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