She said it in such a whisper I could barely tell she was talking. “I still love him,” she said with a shiver of shame running over her. My heart moved over to make room for her. I had met this sadness before – from the hims and hers who came in throughout the years ahead of her.
They told me about the struggles living with a spouse addicted, with a spouse turned paranoid, or with a spouse now violent. Their sadness you could nearly cup in your hand it was so palpable. They sought options to end the cycle they were in: a drunken episode resulting in destroying their daughter’s Halloween costume that was to be worn in three days time, then apologies and more apologies followed by a devout resolve to make amends and change behavior only to have the cycle return in an endless orbit.
Now they arrived opposite me at my desk to stop enabling, to stop this season of co-dependence, and to look at a different future for them – a future devoid of the draining tiptoe around the shattered glass shards that were now their relationship. When they looked at the mess around them they could often see beauty if the light caught the pieces just right, but one step could mean a painful slice and more bloodshed.
How do you divorce when you still deeply love your spouse despite the bad behaviors? This is the question they confront. They are asked to look past the bruises – both physical and mental. To look past the promises that piled up over the years without action. They are asked to surrender to this love and let go.
Surrender. Sigh. The hardest of love lost lessons. It feels counter-intuitive that loving them can mean the need to let them go. It means stepping into the realness – the wholeness of your world. If you choose a path other than the cycle, you are called upon to surrender to reality.
You do not want to end this marriage and you do not want to stay in this cycle of hurt and hopelessness. In facing the realness of your circumstances, the choice becomes clearer. The path is paved ahead of you with the clarity to step away from the cycle of despair in which you currently reside and move toward fiercely loving yourself.