It happened Monday (at 4am)...the first of the miracles. Been a process of several small ones since ('several small ones' actually = 'several HUGE ones' really...but the initial one was the biggest and most needed of course...to start us on this road.) Super tough process, but we're holding up and making it...just finished another all-day-long rough 'passageway.' Time for some take out, veggin', snuggling, and funny sitcoms. Whew. ;) Hard, but we're happy.
Those first few days were very, very interesting. Here's what I wrote at the time (a week after he moved back in) to describe what was going on...
For the next few days (after he moved home), we just hunkered down. Rarely left our bedroom...MUCH discussion. It's like when you first have a baby and you want to nurture it...esp. easily done when you have a homebirth. You have the baby, and then you just stay there, with nobody bothering you. You can stay in your room/bed as much as possible, just easing that baby into life here on earth, letting it make an easy, gentle transition. Nurturing it. That's what needed to be done with our relationship. So, that first week (last week) was all about that.I had an very overwhelming sense of relief. During those first few days, I found out some very hard things. We had not been living in the same house for 3 1/2 months. But, we hadn't been really together, we hadn't been one, we hadn't been a team for over 2 1/2 years at that point. I knew nothing about him. He knew nothing about me. We had been living separate lives in many ways for a very, very long time. I didn't know anything about his job, didn't know anything about who he talked to or had in his life, etc. So, the first few days were partly about getting to know each other again in some ways. And part of that involved finding out some hard things...things about Joel, things about people in our lives, lots of things that had happened and been done behind my back in those 2 1/2 years, etc.
Despite all of those super hard things, I still had that overwhelming sense of relief. I just couldn't believe it was over. The truth is that I knew that reality was that it was not 'over.' And in fact, much of it was just beginning. But, considering what our lives and marriage had been like, I also knew that it was a huge turning point. And I was going to just live in the relief of that for a while.
I updated a friend of mine that same week:
I've said this whole time that if Joel could see this for what it really was, he would be broken about it (because that's the way he is) and if he truly repented out of that, the reset button would be punched (because this was not about lack of forgiveness or grace) and we could move on from that. But without that, that couldn't happen. So...thankfully, that happened and the button was pushed. So, things are back to normal...with just some real things to focus on and learn about ourselves. Because it's been so long that this has gone on, there has been major damage that will need to continue to be repaired. Those are hard things. But, we're ok.During the 2 1/2 years leading up to this point that all of this was going on, I had never said a word to my family. As I have said, I had only talked to those four close friends about it (and had only confided in them a year and a half in), and then a couple more close friends after Joel moved out. So literally, I had confided in 6 people...and only at the very end. But I knew that it wouldn't be wise to involve family. So, I had only told my family (my parents, brothers, SILs + a couple of cousins, nobody else) two weeks before...when it was absolutely necessary (turns out Joel had actually let some of them know already, behind my back, even though I had asked him not to...yes, that was a huge sin against me, to add to all the others we've had to work through). This was part of my update to my family:
Although you've really only known the deep extent of all of this for a couple of weeks, lol...if you'd traveled this road with me for the *years* that this has gone on, you would feel the full impact and know how huge and what a turning point this is. So, maybe you can just believe me and imagine for yourself. Ha. It's huge. It's a game-changer. And there is still much work to do, but we are thrilled to have our family back on the right track.We were on the right track again. Finally.
It was hard. But, we were together again. Joel had finally seen it all for what it was. And, we could start working together toward a common goal.
We went back to meet with that couple, as a couple, at the end of September. Our time together there did not start out well, but it ended great, and they really helped us a lot in many ways. Since they are not actual counselors and their lives are very full, it did not work out for us to keep meeting with them. But, they had provided what it took to turn things completely around for us...and given us several tools to work through in order to stay on track to heal. They also told us about a counseling opportunity that we might try in the future.
But, for the past 6 1/2 months, we just continue to work through things. We continue to peel back the onion here...of our marriage, of our upbringings, of the things we've been taught all of our lives.
It has not been without some major bumps in the road. In fact, in November Joel moved out again for a few days. When you put others in front of your spouse...that doesn't work, people. Thankfully, we did work through that. But, there's not a lot of room for error here. After all that happened and for how long it happened, it's do or die time.
So, we're focusing on the reasons why it all happened in the first place, learning about what in our past caused that to happen, and what beliefs and traditions need to be changed so that nothing like this ever happens again.
We're hunkering down still. If you're local and you notice that we're not being super social...that's why. We set aside this whole year to do nothing but work on us. To focus on nothing else. To commit to nothing but healing our marriage and family.
"But how are you doing?" you might want to say. We're good. And then something will come up and we're not good. Then we'll work through that and we're good again. Then...we're not. You get the picture.
The truth is that what caused this all is deeply rooted. That's why it was so important to go after the roots. Now that we know what the roots are specifically (and every now and then we'll even find another root, as we did just a few days ago), we can go after each one. We can pull them up one by one. It takes time...and sometimes the root is so firmly planted, it's hard to pull up. You'll think you got it, but then there it is again, pushing through the soil of our lives and wreaking havoc. So...it's just going to take time.
But, with each rough patch that we survive (and there have been many, even in the past 6 1/2 months), we become more resilient. With each root we discover, we learn more. With each one that we get close to pulling up at the root, we get to replace that unhealthy root with a healthy root...which makes us so much stronger.
We've learned a lot so far. In the next few blog posts, I'll touch on some of those things. We've learned a lot about family. We've learned a lot about the church. We've learned a lot about traditions and belief systems. We've learned a lot about how others treat you. It's been...interesting.
I'll talk about it all. While the story has reached the point of us being back together...and then brings us to the present time and how we are continuing to work through this, this story is far from over. There's lots more to say here. Stay tuned. ;)