Yesterday, I shared Mama J’s philosophy about the importance of fighting in a marriage. While her first husband didn’t see it that way, it’s a lesson that has served her well in her second marriage. And it’s a lesson her mother reinforced early on when Mama J thought about leaving her second husband. Here’s Mama J telling the story.
I remember SJ and I had this huge fight. It was when my eldest was about four, my son was almost two and my second daughter was just a couple of months old. I left all the children with him and went to a coffee shop. I sat there, with a tablet writing pros and cons: why I should stay with this man, why I shouldn’t. I definitely had more pros than cons and I felt like we needed to work things out but I couldn’t deal with him right then.
This was before any of us had cell phones so he had no way to contact me, no way to know where I was. So I went to a neighbor’s house and hid my car so he wouldn’t know I was there. I called my mom and said,
“We had a fight. I want to come home. I’m done. I just want to come home. I’ll bring the kids and we’ll just move back.”
“No, No, No,” she said.
“What do you mean?”
“No you can’t come back. That’s not the way a marriage works, Mama J. You need to take some time, think about it and then go work it out. Work it out and it’ll be fine. “
That was huge. SJ and I had been married about the same amount of time as my first marriage had lasted and I didn’t want to be divorced again because I never ever wanted to be divorce. I just felt that SJ didn’t understand what I needed. But it was a big deal for me to have to suck it up, take a breath and go work it out.
I did go back and I said,
“You’re gone all the time and when you are here, you do stuff for yourself. I’m here 24/7 being a mom and changing diapers. You need to help more.”
I think that was the first time I really spoke for myself. That helped me. I’m glad she did that. Yay Mom!
Why are we so afraid to express our feelings?
I was the breadwinner in my marriage and my ex was very sensitive about it. He was jealous that I got to go to fun resorts for business conferences and he would get very angry. I think his anger scared me so rather than really talk about it, I’d just make the trips as short as absolutely possible (so I rarely had any free time to explore those resorts). I thought that he would get used to it and he certainly didn’t object to the money I was making. I also thought that if we talked about it and we couldn’t resolve it, then we would end up breaking up and I did not want a divorce. So we didn’t talk about it and the issues didn’t get resolved. They just festered. If we had confronted those issues earlier on, the outcome for our marriage would have been very different – in what way doesn’t really matter but I think I wouldn’t have spent so many years being unhappy inside our marriage.
Tomorrow is the last in this Mama J series – it’s a post about the stigma of divorce…