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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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March 01, 2014  5:11pm

My husband is a good Christian but he is a useless husband and father. He is utter garbage because he is a lazy man who doesn't want to work in a real job. We have four children and my clown of a husband delivers pizza for a living. We nearly lost our house because I work a steady, good job and he was too lazy to work and wanted to be a stay at home dad. Now, rather than get steady employment he is doing some pyramid scheme type marketing garbage and delivering pizza. My parents think he is a useless, lazy lowlife and I am sick of him and I am thinking of leaving him and living with my parents. My four children need better than he has to offer.

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December 07, 2013  1:55pm

I would have said to my mom, "Mom, go to those ashes and bits of dead embers in the fireplace from last week's fire. Put a match to them. If you can cause them to catch fire again, then I will stay with my husband. But if you can't, then I want you to understand that the laws of physics and psychology dictate that once a fire has gone out for a number of weeks, months or years there is no law on earth that can bring that wood back to life".

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December 01, 2013  3:07pm

This is why it is so much better to get an education and career before you get married. If you want to leave your husband you have the paychecks to get your own place instead of running to your parent's house. One minute your husband will be talking to you and treating you like you're a child and then he will run off and be a child with his boyish behavior and needing someone to take care of him and pick up after him.

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