I've always had a certain level of openness about my life on my blog, in my classes and in my books. I want you all to know that I am a real person with real struggles and challenges. While I have figured out a lot of things, it isn't because life has come easily for me. And that's the way it is for many of you who are reading this post right now.
This past year has been one of the most difficult years of my life.
It has also been one of the most deeply healing. (I'll get to that more later in another post...)
About six years ago when I first really began repairing the ruptures in relationships in my family, I had a question. Could a marriage that wasn't in a good place be fully repaired if one person in the marriage was really dedicated to working on it? And if not, could one dedicated parent use this relationship-focused paradigm alone and have everything work out? I was asking these questions for myself, as well as for my clients who were struggling in their marriages.
In the midst of writing books on raising emotionally healthy families, I realized (again) a glaring truth. The truth was that my marriage still wasn't in a good place after six or seven years of working on it. We weren't benefitting our children with the tension between us. Actively working on our marriage had allowed us to come to understand each other better, yet we realized that we really weren't happy together. And we hadn't been happy together for a long time.
Over a period of months, we talked. We cried. We listened to each other. And finally it became clear that the best path for both of us was to separate. We did so in September, with the words, "I love you and I release you."
Since September, my energy has been going inward for my own healing process and to support my children. Even under what Ryan and I both consider fairly good circumstances, this has been exhausting and overwhelming at times. At the same time, it has also become very clear that this was the absolute right decision for all of us.
No one gets married to one day get a divorce. It was not on my radar until I simply couldn't deny the difficult place my relationship was still in after such a long time. My dedication to my family is still paramount, but Ryan and I have agreed that we can work together to parent much more effectively living in different houses.
So, for me, the answer to my question in my particular set of circumstances is that I cannot parent the way that I want to when I am living in unresolvable conflict with my partner. As much as divorce carries wounds for the children, growing up in an environment where there isn't deep love and respect in the marriage also carries its own wounds. Living apart, Ryan and I are actually able to love and respect each other more than when we were living together.
This has been a year of finding and living my true north. It hasn't been an easy year and it still presents many challenges ahead, but I know that I am living my truth. While it isn't the truth that I'd hoped and planned for, it is mine and I am grateful.