I’ve had to take a step away from writing for a few days so I could process and be present with all of the things that have happened.
You are here. I don’t know exactly what changed, but you’ve told me enough for me to know that you are here. You are making a decision to try this one last time.
My heart is elated at the news, but I know that there are a lot of things that need to happen to make this work.
The changes I have made are real. They are genuine.
And I’m not going anywhere this time.
What I have done these last 6 weeks is just the start of what’s to come. I have poured my heart out to my loved ones, and they have been so receptive of it. I have rebuilt relationships with my children in a matter of weeks. I have processed a lot of the things I was doing wrong and started working on those issues.
But now the hard work begins.
There is a lot of trust that needs to be rebuilt from both of us.
There are a lot of insecurities that we have both developed over the course of our marriage, and very recently for me.
Our attachment styles have flipped and we are both trying to navigate that.
We have some big areas of pain that need to get worked through.
But I’m here this time. I’m all in. And now that you are by my side again I know we will be able to work through anything that comes our way.
Marriage counseling is going to be really good for us to learn new and better ways of communicating with one another. I have my own personal therapy sessions, but I also hope in our counseling we can work through the way I am feeling insecure, and how I need a lot of reassurance now.
It seems like we have switched roles again in some ways.
I can see our future together. And I can see us healed and building a new life for ourselves.
It’s going to be a lot of work, but I truly believe this is all worth it.
What I’ve done these last 6 weeks was not a game to manipulate you into choosing me. You made this decision on your own, after having to figure out some of your own things. But you chose me. You chose us. You chose our future. And I’m grateful to have the rest of our lives to show you that things are never going back to the way they were before.
So let’s keep communicating. Let’s over communicate. Tell each other how we are feeling. What our wants and needs are. Concerns we have. And things that could potentially be an issue in the future.
This post is long overdue. There’s going to be a lot of happiness that you will read, but I’m also going to address some bad moments as well. I don’t like putting on a mask and only showing the “good” side of life. A lot of growth comes from the struggles.
So I hereby, finally, dedicate this post to the one who has been with me through it all – my amazing wife, Allissa.
My wife and I have been married 13 years this year, and I can honestly say in those years I have only spoken poorly of her maybe once or twice, and only to my own mother (who quickly set me straight). Therefore, I’m not going to start with this post. Don’t get me wrong, there are things that she does that drive me crazy at times, but never to the point that I would belittle her to others.
No, this post is going to be about how much of a patient and understanding person she can be, especially when I am being such an idiot. I’m going to discuss some things about my past that I am not proud of, but I am not that person anymore and I will never be that person again. Basically, I’m calling myself out on my past bs. So buckle up. There will be moments where things get bumpy, but the end result (where we are today) is beautiful.
I met this beautiful girl when I was 13 years old…
For those of you who don’t know me, most of my childhood I was this incredibly skinny, awkward (but adorable) kid. I was really active, could eat anything, and never gained a pound. Until I hit puberty entering middle school and I got fat. Like, really chunky.
But, and this may surprise some of you, I was incredibly social. I was friends with everyone! Mostly the girls (I mean, I was a 13 year old boy… duh!), but basically I got along with everyone. And I had silly crushes on a lot of the girls, too (better chances with a bigger selection, right?!). Little did she know (or maybe she did since she is a girl and they always seem to truly know) she was one of the girls I had a crush on.
We, of course, were fast friends. We shared a lot of the same friends and classes, too. But do you think anything came of any of that? Nope, that’s where the middle school story ends. Never dated, never admitted to liking one another (or rather I never told her, I doubt she liked me as I was an annoying overweight teenage boy). We ended up going to different high schools after that. I “chased” a lot of girls, but I’m pretty sure I’ve only ever had a handful of “girlfriends” in my life, and only one of which was actually serious. I was always in the friend zone. As someone recently so astutely pointed out, I’m really good at being there for other people and helping them through their rough times.
Anyways, our story jumps 4 years to 2006 when we finally got back into each others lives. Allissa had a serious relationship before me and had Maddi earlier in that year. I was off at Purdue having a grand ole time (not really) when this cute girl starts sending me messages on MySpace (yeah let’s throw it way back!). She reached out to me first and asked if I remembered her, and of course I did. She was really good friends with one of my close friends, so getting back in touch was pretty easy.
I wasn’t a very religious person at the time, but looking back she came into my life right when I needed her most. We started talking seriously early in my first semester. I think we were “unofficially” dating for awhile, but it all happened really quick after my grandparents passed away. My grandmother passing was one of blessing as she was in a great deal of pain and suffering from a long battle with cancer. My grandfather less than 2 weeks later was not so much. I was completely devastated as I was extremely close with him. Allissa was the one person that got me through it. She stayed up with me for hours on end and just listened as I cried.
We “officially” got together shortly after my grandfather passed away. A lot of people thought I was just filling a void. And, to be honest, I was. 13 days later we got engaged. Yes, you read that right. 13 days. About a month later I got Lis out of a very toxic environment with her family and she moved in with mine… while I was 4 hours away at Purdue.
She gave me a sense of purpose that I did not have at the time. In a few short months I became wanted. I became a father to a 7 month old. Real honest moment? I fell in love with the idea of being a dad and having a family before I actually fell in love with Allissa. There were things that both of us did that filled in the gaps for the other person. I don’t think either of us will deny that we likely were not in love when we got married only 8 short months after being engaged (so, less than 9 months from being together if you’re keeping track).
Insane, right?! 19 years old getting married and having a family after being together for such a short amount of time. Most of our families didn’t really agree with the expedited marriage, but my parents became grandparents and I think that’s what made them more okay with it.
And because of that, do you know what was missing? A whole lot of growing up!
We struggled for a long time in life. We were perfectly content with having very little money, not having any goals, and just getting by. Because that’s what we knew. We were broke. As in, dirt poor. We had jobs where often we wouldn’t get paid for weeks at a time.
Anyways, our relationship wasn’t the best. We fought a lot but we always put our children before everything else. It was always a good buffer for us having the kids to prioritize over fixing underlying issues. And that’s how it was for a long time.
When we first got together I was starting to shut out all my relationships while Allissa was the one with a lot of close friends, most of which did not like me. At all. Because she always chose me over them and I basically stole her away from them.
She quickly started to give away parts of herself that weren’t centered around me. Her close relationships, hobbies, etc.
It wasn’t until our 3rd child was about to be born that we started to take life seriously. I got my first “real” job right before he was born and that has since grown into the amazing career I am in now.
But this amazing woman has sacrificed so much of herself for me to be where I am today.
The rest of this post is probably just going to jump around a lot and seem random as I try to discuss some things. Sorry in advance!
I am just now in less than a month, finally going to be finishing college with my third degree. Which means I have spent a lot of time over the last 13 years taking classes and being away from my family. She gave up all of her social life to allow me to finish something I believed to be important for the future of our family.
She was the one at home, caring for our children. Cleaning the house. Scheduling appointments. Cooking meals. Exhausting herself for us.
We, jokingly, had a saying that she was the primary parent and I was the secondary parent. But it was 100% true. I had no clue what was going on with my kids. I was only focused on what I was working on.
Here’s some more brutal moments of honesty. I’ve had moments where I’ve been a pretty terrible husband. I’ve never physically touched my wife. The closest I’ve ever come to it is aggressively grabbing a cup from her hand that scared her. But emotionally I’ve done some serious damage. The next few things aren’t going to be easy to read, but I assure you they are definitely harder to write and admit.
I’ve had moments in my life that I was so sad, depressed and in pain that I wanted others around me to share in my misery. Unfortunately, I didn’t have anyone else in my life except Allissa so she got it all. I was extremely good at saying things in ways that would make her feel less than. Or not worthy.
She’s had a rough life, not filled with love, but full of abandonment. When the rest of the world made her feel that she wasn’t worth loving, her own mother, father and sisters, the one person who should have been there the whole time reminding her of how special she was made her feel like it was all to be believed.
I’ve told my wife on more than one occasion that I wasn’t as attracted to her because of her weight.
I’ve told her that I wasn’t sure if I still loved her.
I’ve told her that I’ve had lustful thoughts towards other women.
I’ve told her that she wasn’t enough, even when she was giving me everything she had.
A lot of the things I’ve said to her came from a place of pain and I didn’t truly mean them. Some of them I did really feel but never should have said. Do I like admitting these things? Not even a little bit. In fact, they make me cry even thinking about. Do I think I will be judged by the things I’ve said? Yeah, from some of you I will be. But that’s okay. It is my past, it is not my present or my future.
For the longest time, she found it easier for our life to just give me my way. I didn’t catch on to this for awhile (about 9 years of our marriage) but once I did I foolishly pushed that threshold as far as it would go. And let me tell you, it goes pretty far. This woman, who I was taking advantage of, would go to any lengths to keep me happy. We talked about doing things in our relationship that I’m ashamed to admit. Two positives that came from that situation: 1) we never actually did anything more than talk about those things, and 2) it made us both realize that we really did NOT want those things at ALL in our relationship. Regardless, a lot of damage came from that.
I wanted her to hurt like I hurt. Little did I know that she was in more pain than I ever could have imagined.
I broke her. After I had her cut so many people out of her life for continually hurting her, I turned around and did the same thing. I stole her safety that I am still to this day working on giving back. And I destroyed her trust in me. Because I made her change every part of who she was as a person just to turn around and tell her I didn’t like the person she had become.
Why? Because she became me. And I didn’t like it at all.
There were two of me when I didn’t even want there to be one.
Through all this pain I was causing her, I didn’t even know who I was. And, the idiot I was, I never communicated to her. I built everything up and stored it all in until one day I unleashed hell on her. Instead of opening up to her and letting her help me fix my own brokeness I let her believe it was all her fault. I pushed her so far away so I could peacefully walk away and end it all (literally). She eventually grew tired of me constantly putting everything on her that I ended up with an ultimatum. Which probably to this day was one of the best things she has ever done and a moment that I am more proud of her for than any other moment before or since.
I tore this woman apart. I put her in a situation where she could do no right no matter what she did or said. I made her give up parts of herself that she didn’t want to give up.
And yet, she loved me anyways.
When I get really upset I retreat into my own mind. I don’t yell, I don’t cry. I give this prolonged silent treatment and give the dirtiest facial expressions. Yeah, I know I’m real childish. But I also know it drives her insane.
And yet, she loved me anyways.
For long periods of our relationship, longer than I care to admit, I’ve treated this amazing woman like she was less than me. I made her believe that we were not equals, and that she was beneath me.
But let’s be honest. I wouldn’t be who I am today without her. She has been the only person in my life who has supported me every single step of the way. She has called me out on my bs and has given me insight on things that I was too blind to see on my own. In fact, I could have missed a major period of depression if I would have left my job years ago when she told me she didn’t trust my previous boss. Fortunately the situation has worked out well in the end, but it took a lot of pain to get here.
I literally would not be here today if it weren’t for her. She often thinks that I never actually went through with ending my own life, or leaving her, because of the kids. But, the truth is, it’s always been because of her.
She was the one person who I felt so comfortable crying to that I eventually thought I needed to stop showing so much emotion to her. I thought my emotions were wearing her down so I stopped showing them to her entirely.
She’s taught me to love myself even when I felt unlovable.
I took away a lot of the things that she did to make me a better person because I wanted to be miserable and I didn’t want to be a part of this world.
So, I’ve told her that I no longer want her to give me my way any longer. Her voice needs to match or be above my own. Me making my own choices and decisions leads to stupid consequences and a whole lot of pain. She is my better half that keeps me going.
She is finding her voice. I still push her when she struggles with her own feelings of self doubt, but I no longer try to make her into someone she is not. I’ve learned to be patient. I’ve learned to open myself up to her. She’s recently admitted that she has held stronger religious beliefs because of the things I’ve put her through. I wish I wouldn’t have stolen her voice so she would have been comfortable enough with me to share that. I strongly believe being Jesus followers earlier in our relationship would have avoided a lot of problems. But then again, I also believe these things happened for a reason.
As I know I will never be able to say it enough, I am so sorry for all the pain I have caused. For not being your unconditional support system. For breaking your trust. For making you question my feelings for you.
Neither of us grew up having great relationships in our lives to model our own marriage after. We never really had a sense of direction on how to approach situations. Now that we have people in our lives that encourage and foster our relationship growth, things have been really great for us.
This story is far from over, but I will bring you up to speed on where we are in the latest chapter of our lives.
Now, Allissa comes first in my life. And the biggest thing is, I now make sure she knows that. Some things I don’t necessarily agree on, but out of respect for her and for our marriage, I do them. I make an effort to make sure she feels loved. I’ve tossed out the silly notion of “secondary” parenting. I take her out on date nights when the time allows. I let her be the first person who reads these posts, because in all honesty it’s the first time she’s learning these things about me. I seek her feedback and opinion and give it more weight than I do my own. I listen to her gut instincts more often (not often, because I know sometimes it’s still coming from a place of doubt). I do not have lustful thoughts for others anymore, nor have I for a very long time. I encourage her. I support her.
We have built a beautiful life together. We have a bright future that we are working towards. We have a beautiful family. We have amazing friends that have become an extension of our family and have taught us what unconditional love for others is. We pray together. We dream together. We do life, together.
I am loving her unconditionally as she has always done for me.
This amazing woman has been so patient in my life and I’ve never understood why. I’ve treated her so poorly at times and yet she’s always loved me anyways. But I guess that’s what they really mean by unconditional love. Through the good times and the bad. And the times when your husband is just being a complete moron and jeopardizing the best thing in his life.
She does so much for this family, especially for me. She’s a natural caretaker. Food, home, children. Even after a long day she will often still ask me to lie in her lap and play with my hair.
When you see this amazing woman and wonder why she’s being so quiet, or is hesitant to let you in to her life, just know it’s because she has been put through a lot. She is still working on believing how special she truly is. Just know that once she lets you in, she’s giving a big part of herself to you. Be careful, she’s fragile. I would know. I’m the one who broke her and is still working daily on putting the pieces back together.
And please do not judge me on my past. I, again, confess these things so you will know how far I have come and will love me despite my faults and flaws for they have brought me to be the person I am today.
I met this beautiful girl when I was 13 years old… She would grow up and change my life forever for the better…
Thank You for blessing my life with this beautiful soul who tries to make my life better every single day. Who sacrifices so much of herself for others. Who has been torn down and broken so much, and yet still puts on a smile every day.
Thank You for never leaving her side throughout all the crap I put her through. For comforting her and giving her peace. For listening to her prayers when I didn’t even know she was praying.
Thank You for putting so much into her. She is an incredibly special and beautiful person.
Thank You for not letting our marriage end. I would be lost without her and do not want to think of a world without her in it. Whether people care to admit it or not, she leaves an impression on everyone she meets. She loves unconditionally, even through hesitation from prior experiences of pain.
I see Your love through her. I pray that You continue to bless her life and give her the voice, courage, wisdom and desire she truly wants in life. I know through You she will find it all.
I love you all!
Andy Grammer – Don’t Give Up On Me
I will fight I will fight for you I always do until my heart Is black and blueAnd I will stay I will stay with you We’ll make it to the other side Like lovers doI’ll reach my hands out in the dark And wait for yours to interlock I’ll wait for you I’ll wait for you’Cause I’m not givin’ up I’m not givin’ up, givin’ up No, not yet Even when I’m down to my last breath Even when they say there’s nothin’ left So don’t give up onI’m not givin’ up I’m not givin’ up, givin’ up No, not me Even when nobody else believes I’m not goin’ down that easily So don’t give up on meAnd I will hold I’ll hold onto you No matter what this world’ll throw It won’t shake me looseI’ll reach my hands out in the dark And wait for yours to interlock I’ll wait for you I’ll wait for you’Cause I’m not givin’ up I’m not givin’ up, givin’ up No, not yet Even when I’m down to my last breath Even when they say there’s nothin’ left So don’t give up onI’m not givin’ up I’m not givin’ up, givin’ up No, not me Even when nobody else believes I’m not goin’ down that easily So don’t give up on meWhoa, whoa Whoa, whoa Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah Yeah, yeah, yeahI will fight I will fight for you I always do until my heart Is black and blue