There's so much I wish I had realized when we were together. I can't believe it took a divorce to help me see it.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on March 19, 2020. It has since been updated.
It was time... finally. Three kids and 17 years of marriage to show for. Yet, it all culminated to this day... the one where we realized this marriage wasn't working and that we couldn't continue the pretense of happiness. Granted, we made a deal to put our differences aside so that we could give our children both their parents. But it just wasn't happening anymore.
We were fine for the first year of our marriage. Or so I thought. Looking back at it now, we were just finding it easier to hide all our issues. But then we had our first child and it wasn't so easy anymore. I had to go off to work and you had to stay home to take care of the little human you had just birthed. Of course, I tried my best to help around and initially it was working. Then came our second daughter and then our youngest. That's when we started to break down a bit.
You said I was never home to help around, whether it was getting diapers from the store or just washing the dishes. But I was out working for hours just to make ends meet and keep the roof over our heads. We started having more fights and we were cracking bit by bit. We decided to stay together because our three too-young-to-understand children needed us.
So we kept up the charade... until we couldn't take it anymore.
Which brings us back to today - the day of our divorce. The day we were going to sign those papers and decide who was going to gain custody of the children or plan schedules with them. But as much as today was a step towards an uncertain future, there were so many things about you I learned in the days after we decided to get divorced. I can't believe I didn't see it until now.
The first thing I learned about you was that you were so much more emotionally attuned to everyone around you. It was like a sixth sense. You could always tell how the children felt without them telling you. That could have been chalked down to motherly instinct but more important was that you always knew how I felt even before I did.
When I came back home from work, tired and frustrated, you did your best to ease my burdens, even when I didn't help. Of course, there was only so much you could do in all the years of our marriage before you had to let your own dam burst.
I learned that you are the strongest woman I knew. From managing the lives of three unbelievably energetic children to maintaining peace in the household, you held us all together. Whenever any one of us were sick, you were there right beside us. What I truly regret is not having been there for you when you were sick.
You had to do everything on your own anyway. I honestly don't know how I managed to miss how intelligent you are. Every issue we had was so smoothly taken care of... as if it were never there in the first place.
You always prioritized us and barely had time to take care of yourself. But you never let that stop you from tackling life head on and making delicious lemonade with the lemons thrown your way.
Another thing about you that I saw clearly only after I knew we weren't going to be together - you had tremendous amounts of patience that I would never have been able to achieve. The kids and I couldn't have been easy to deal with. I mean, I didn't notice how wild our kids were because you raised them so well. No matter who threw a tantrum, you were always there to help us sort it out. You were the best at calming us down.
But it was this quality of yours that made me realize that you were the most amazing woman. Your unconditional love. Through thick and thin, fights and pain, you never stopped loving. Maybe we aren't "in love" now, but you showed me that I still had a place in your heart as the father of our children.
You've always wanted the best for me and just the other day, you said so too. I didn't believe it at first, but with all these truths hitting me, I know that you truly meant it. Even though we're not together, I know for a fact that you have the confidence to move on. I also know that sometimes you will want to just sit down and cry for all the burdens on your shoulder and that's okay. I have faith that you can take care of yourself.
You are the glue that binds us and that won't change even though we're not together. I will always love you for how wonderful a human being you are.
Disclaimer: This article is based on insights from different sources. The views expressed here are those of the writer.