If you know any couples, who’ve been married a prolonged amount of time—for the sake of argument, let’s say a minimum ten plus years—and they tell you they’ve never considered separation, or even thought about divorce—stop what your doing and run from them immediately! These people are dangerous, they cannot be your friends! Never talk to them again—they’re lying; they’re fakers, they’re putting up a front—Don’t listen to another single word they say!
Okay, I know– GASP! I’m being overly harsh and judgmental– if you’re thinking that, you’re right? Instead of being facetious, what I should have just said is this: When it come to marriage, until a couple has crossed over the threshold into the realm of facing the idea of losing one another, by calling it quits and walking away, they may have a nice love story to tell, but it’s one that’s nonetheless incomplete.
To drive this point home, let me tell you a story about a couple who ventured to the tip of a ledge, I’ll explain why they went there, and then give you a glimpse of what the two of them saw. Picture this: a brutal argument that’s lingered over the span of two days, leaving the wife feeling both shut-out and disrespected and the husband feeling exactly the same. When all communication, both talking and yelling, have ceased, they each retreat to their opposite corners, thats when the woman begins to think.
This is the last time he’s going to disrespect me……..I’ll be damned if I end up like her! The wife’s mind drifts back to the husband’s past offenses and to other wives she’s known, who put up with too many transgressions from their spouses. She decides that she’s going to be different. She’ll make sure she doesn’t end up like them. So she tells her husband– the person she’s laid with and loved on for the better part of two decades– that she wants to separate officially, and that henceforth, there will be no more talking—just writing demands through emails. Their correspondence thereafter went something like this:
I want to sleep separately, until we sort everything out…..(Her)
Okay, but, I think instead I should move, that won’t be fair to the kids…. (Him)
But, if you do, what will we tell them? (Her)
That things might not ever be the same….(Him)
I don’t want that! Plus, we need to decide what to do about money……(Her)
You know I’ll always be fair…. (Him)
How did we get here? This is all so stupid……. (Her)
It is, but you said this is what you want? (Him)
But was it what she wanted? Did she she truly want to loose her husband, devastate her children, ruin their legacy, and burden them financially? The answer, when she thought of it that way, was an resounding no! In that moment, she understood, in a way she never could have before, the grim reality of separation and divorce. How, once you get past idea of either being a solution, you get to truth of the pain they actually bring; so, she decided she wanted to fix things and to try her marriage again.
The couple finally agreed to talk, this time to actually hear the other; then word-by-word, through tears and emotion, they managed to inch their way off of that ledge. Back on level ground, the two made promises; they made love. They made reaffirmations and discovered much more; good marriages still struggle! Love only is never enough! Neither spouse has ownership over the other’s heart. Love from another is a privilege as much as a gift!
Just a few days after their reconciliation, the husband sent his wife a video clip—it was of the actor/rapper Will Smith discussing a hard patch in his marriage to his wife Jada. The husband was surprised by the similarities between their story and his. Just like them, Will and Jada’s marital mountain came after nearly two decades, the second parallel was how both couples had pretty happy unions up till then. In the clip, Will spoke of seeking counsel from Ruby Dee, an icon and actress who together, with her equally legendary actor husband, Ossie Davis, was were married an impressive 57 years. What she told them about having known each other 17 years, shocked them, “You two don’t even know each other yet” said Ruby, then she admonished both Will and Jada to simply “relax!” In the final part of the snippet, Will mentioned “deal breakers” for his marriage, and admitted that for him there are none.
Later that evening, the couple discussed the video, pondering the heaviness of Will’s words. “Nothing is a deal breaker?” they wondered, after which they began to blurt out relational offenses: What about Cheating? Lying? Blatant disrespect? Prison time? An outside child? These were the worst wrongs of which they could think. Then they considered the thought a bit longer, before returning in mind to the ledge.