You don’t know this, but about five months ago, Shaun and I were holed up in a Chicago hotel, trying to decide if we wanted to stay married.
I’ll give you a minute to pick yourself up off the floor.
We both played starring roles in the drama, HOW TO BREAK YOUR MARRIAGE.
At the time, he wanted to be around his friends more than me. And I wanted to throw myself into my work instead of him… It was a recipe for disaster. So while I was busy working my ass off and speaking all over the country, he was busy joining golf leagues and bowling leagues.
We didn’t even care (or have the energy) to fight anymore. We essentially became roommates. Roommates with three children, with whom we alternated duties. We weren’t even hanging out as family all at once.
One day I looked at Shaun, after I realized what we had been doing, and I confessed, “I have been looking for four bedroom houses to rent.”
He didn’t look stunned or sad. He just said, “You can have this one.”
I expected him to say that. But it hurt me so fucking bad. I didn’t expect to feel so broken by his words, and he didn’t expect to feel so broken over mine.
We went right to Hell and back. And I am happy to say, five months later, burning it down to nothing helped us rise like a phoenix from those ashes.
I want to share with you how we did it.
1. GET OUT OF TOWN
The house and the kids are stressful. I was constantly bitching at him that he needed to help me more. He felt like he was helping more.
We took ourselves out of that situation and away from all of those distractions.
We holed ourselves up in a Chicago hotel for the weekend. There was nothing sexy or romantic about this. I think I cried for two days straight, asking him over and over how we got to this point. But deep conversations came from this. Things were said by both of us that needed to be said.
But the main thing that was said was… WE WILL FIGHT FOR THIS MARRIAGE!
2. STOP POINTING FINGERS
It was a very quiet ride to Chicago. When we finally began talking, we both started hurling insults and blaming the other person for not being there.
We realized the insults had to stop. We never say mean things to each other anymore, for the simple sake of not hurting the other person. I tend to cut like a knife with my tongue. It’s my worst character flaw.
We’ve both decided our pride can go by the wayside for the other person’s happiness.
Everyone fucks up. No one is perfect. Not even me (as much as I hate admitting this).
3. PUT EACH OTHER FIRST
This sounds like an easy concept, but it’s really not.
Shaun and I put each other before even our kids now. Before, I was putting the kids and my job before him. Not anymore. Shaun’s first. When we are happy, the children are happy. When our whole family is happy – that’s all that matters in the world.
4. GET YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT
That’s it. He’s my number one priority. Glad I got that straightened out.
5. BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN: AND DON’T BE RATIONAL ABOUT IT
Two days after we came back from Chicago… I quit my job.
I walked out, giving no notice. Everyone was shocked, even me.
I didn’t have another job, and I quit my job. WHO DOES THIS? That’s not sane.
I called my husband that morning, sobbing.
ME: I want to quit my job. Like, now. I have no other job. But I want to leave this instant. I just realized it’s this place. It’s this place that’s destroying us.
SHAUN: About time. Leave now. Don’t look back.
But that place was killing me. In Chicago, while I was trying to fix my marriage, I was fielding calls from employees. It never stopped for me. So I quit. I just walked the fuck off the job. My family meant too much to me to stay there for one more second.
I also ditched a lot of bad influence friends in my life. I just got rid of them. No more. They didn’t seem to sync with my priority. We need positive people around us. People who aren’t morally bankrupt.
Going through the burn-it-all-down process made me look like a crazy person. I am sure of it. But when you’re burning things, you’re rebuilding yourself.
I had to mentally get stronger to be better for him. I don’t care what other people think about how I got to this point. I am happy now, and he is happy now. It had to be like this.
Shaun isn’t participating in the golf and bowling leagues anymore. He hasn’t even asked to be in one. He just quit. He doesn’t even want to anymore. He burned some things down because they didn’t sync with his priority.
Do we still see our friends? Absolutely. But we tend to just hang out with each other now, at home, in sweat pants, being best friends and laughing a lot.
Not because we have to…
It’s because we want to.
I understand that there is a time and place for divorce, but maybe some of us give up too easily.
On this day of love… if you are staring down the barrel of a divorce… ask yourself if maybe, just maybe, there is just one last ditch effort in both of you.
If there is the slightest chance, I promise you, you will come out on the other end stronger than ever… but first you have to burn that old house to the ground… and rebuild it.