part 4, amber

Falling in love was not on the agenda. Is it ever? Maybe it is. I think it was on the agenda when I met my husband. I needed a husband and he needed a wife, and well there we were. I’d spend six years trying to be the best wife I could to the worst husband I could imagine. I guess you could say we tried, but I’m not even sure he would say that about himself on a good day. I tried, he railed against me and every ounce of love I gave him. It was exhausting. It made me want to stop feeling to be so wrecked and abused every time I gave voice to any emotion. And a week before this girls trip, he’d shoved me and tackled me in front of our four-year-old, berated me into the ground and asked me to apologize when I had to comfort my crying children and call the police. It was over, maybe long before then, but definitely then.

I’ve talked to so many people about how I thought I talked more about how hard things were with him. About why I didn’t… I was scared we’d be isolated, or that anyone would think I was wrong to marry him (it’s probably mostly that, let’s be honest). I don’t wish I hadn’t, even now. It was hard, harder than anything I’ve ever done, loving him while he hated me, and talked openly about trying to get me to divorce him with neglect and abuse, while he scared my children and me regularly with more rage and abandonment than I ever knew was possible in a marriage. (And while most people who found out were bewildered that such a “good man” could possibly…)

I’m not sorry I celebrated the good moments big and publicly. If I have regret it’s that I wasn’t more open about all the pain and heartache, about the police reports and fleeing. I’m sorry I wasn’t more honest, not because I wish I’d outed him as an abuser sooner, but because that was our truth and hiding it made our story so fragmented even now, for all the people I thought I was sharing with.

But. But I’m glad I tried my best to love him. I hold on to a little hope that some of it got through, that the scared little boy in him that pushes people away felt a little of it.

And I’ve talked to so many people about how scared I am that this will look like that did to some people. Just a sharing of the good moments, a bending of the truth. I’m scared that some people will miss the all the healing in this, all the beauty and the wonder and the grace. Damn I’m more scared of that than I’d like to admit. And I really want to say that I’m scared of that because I don’t want anyone else to miss out on their own healing. Here’s the honest truth of that though- I hate that there are people out there that would miss out on seeing *my* healing. I hate that there are people who *are* missing out on my healing. Because they’re still grieving my marriage, or because they think This, with her, is wrong. Or because they feel lied to with the way I kept all the truth, and now they don’t know if they can trust what they’re seeing in all these photos and words.

Listen I know, I know, most people aren’t even paying that much attention to me or us. But that’s the thing when you open yourself up wide on the internet or anywhere else- it’s as chock full of vain insecurity as it is mending. So here we are. I’m committing to sharing more of this journey than the last one. And more of the last one as I can. Not because I want to justify my actions (God knows that’s futile), but because maybe, (God, maybe) the healing won’t be just for me.

(I never shared these photos because we took them weeks before we were ready to talk about any of this, when we were still calculating how many losses we’d have to count for loving each other. Turns out the number was higher than we thought and matters way less.)

Love is love and the price we’re paying for years of keeping quiet about broken marriages and hearts is too high.

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