It's Over . . .

I got a horrible piece of mail today. Nope. Not a bill. Not an invitation to hire a landscaper. Not even an offer to renew a magazine subscription for five years for just $10/year. NOPE. This was a really, truly horrible piece of mail. My marriage is officially over. Just as Tompkins County in New York state blessed the union seven and a half years ago, Sedgwick County in Kansas blessed the breaking of the bond just the other day.

A blog is a horrible place to share this sort of crap. I only mention it for context because I've shared much about the ups and downs of married life, navigating co-parenting, trying to end a marriage in a respectful, positive, and loving way and - perhaps most importantly - stopping being the husband of a woman you still truly love, admire, appreciate, and find indispensable.

MANY think I'm still "in love" with my ex-wife. I'm not. I have not been in a long time (she knows this - if you are a "friend" to her that reads and might use this post to hurt her - please don't) but that is because we stopped focusing on stoking, feeding, nourishing, and nurturing that part of our love. But there is still a love between us.

We focused on the other things that filled our lives. Jobs, friends, our families, money, cars, the house we shared, the hobbies and recreations and educational pursuits we both valued . . . our child. We made the classic/rookie/veteran/eternal mistake of presuming if we just got everything else in order our love would thrive and burn bright for the rest of our earthly sentences. Pro tip for those of you married or considering it - that does not happen.

So here we stand . . . divided. I can honestly tell you I have more love, affection, respect, appreciation, and spirit for her today that I had a year ago and certainly 15- or 18-months ago. She is an amazing force of a woman but our love has to now shift, regroup, re-focus, and re-establish itself in to whatever form of "love" it will be as we continue to share a child and our earthly sentences accordingly.

Never stop working on your love or your marriage. It will fail. Never take your spouse for granted. They will grow to resent it. Never presume you are heard, seen, understood, or fully accepted. You are not. Never go to bed angry. Never refuse a genuine kiss or a hug. Never stop telling someone you love to have a good day or asking them how their day was. If you do, they will start sharing those moments with someone else. Marriage is not simple. Love is not easy. Relationships are not intuitive. Survival is not guaranteed.

Do. The. Work. Love and be loved. Every day.

For my ex-wife on this . . . the first (mail-confirmed) day of our unmarried-yet-shared life . . . I dedicate a song that I've played for you 1,000 times but not nearly enough times within your earshot. And for that, on top of the other failings, I am sorry.