This post was originally taken from the blog The Screenwriter’s Wife, but I’m also posting here to add to the collection of marriage stories.
My husband and I met when I was 17. We instantly clicked, but he was 26 and didn’t know my age. Everyone, including my mother, said he was too old for me. That is, everyone except me. I had this deep down in my gut feeling that he and I were meant to be together. I couldn’t explain it. I hardly knew why I believed it.
Problem was, he listened to everyone. He was afraid our age difference would matter to me since it mattered to everyone else. He never even told me how he felt.
After four years of surreptitious smiles and longing glances, my now-husband worked up the nerve to ask me out. We have been a couple ever since then. There was never a break or break up between us.
Very nearly though.
Let me explain.
Our relationship was not perfect. Wonderful, but not perfect. Though we got along my really well, we weren’t exactly compatible. We were (and are) two clashing personalities. He is cautious, careful, and patient. I am an emotional, sometimes temperamental aka stereotypical, redhead.
We very rarely argued. We never yelled at each other. We supported each other’s hopes, dreams, and decisions.
Then came the big decision: We wanted to have a baby. My husband and I had talked about it for a while but didn’t feel ready. Two years after we were married, we decided it was time.
My early days of pregnancy were full of joy and trepidation for both of us. Then depression and mood swings hit me. Like, smacked me down and stole my energy, my happiness, and my peace of mind. Our once excellent relationship began to unravel.
Things only worsened after our baby was born. The depression completely ravaged me, taking my husband and our marriage on a ride through hell. We drifted farther and farther apart. Only it didn’t feel like drifting. It felt like we were pulled away from each other.
To make matters worse, I no longer trusted my own thoughts. I also no longer trusted my husband. I lacked a major cornerstone of relationships. And really, it wasn’t just me. My husband didn’t trust in us either. We both admitted that we wanted to give up.
But here’s the thing: When you are stuck in a crappy place, you forget the happy times. You forget the friendship you share. You forget the love. My angry, depressed brain hid it all from me. None of those things seemed to exist.
Yet when I asked my husband for a divorce, he told me no. Quietly but strongly.
“What do you mean ‘no’?” I asked to myself and aloud.
“No,” his reply. “I’m not letting you go.”
This wasn’t a power play. It wasn’t a control thing. He remembered what I couldn’t because of my PPD. We loved each other too much to give up.
Did we really, though?
We had to look at our marriage. Honestly. All the aspects of it, no stepping around or over the ugly stuff. We needed to face reality and decide if our marriage was worth saving. What we came to realize was that despite all we’d been through, it really was. Not because we were comfortable in it. Not because of the amount of time we’d been a couple. Not because we had a child together. Not for any reason other than we loved each other enough to want to make it work.
So we had to fight.
That isn’t exactly what you were expecting me to say, is it? Well, it was surprisingly true. We had to fight with each other after ignoring one another and our problems for so long. We had to fight to keep our marriage.
Over three years after the postpartum depression first kicked in, my husband and I have found our way back to each other. We kiss hello and goodbye again. We smile at each other. We find small ways to connect. We even do those longing glances again. Do we still bicker or disagree? Sure. I think that is normal for relationships. But now we know how to leave it at that and not let it grow into a black hole of resentment, anger, and silence.
I would like to add that while our marriage became rocky because of depression, other relationships might share the same experiences due to other issues. Any bump in the road, any pothole or rock or long, drawn-out detour can cause problems. Both marriage and life are full of unexpected things. This doesn’t meant you cannot get through the rough times together. You can. My husband and I are proof of this.
While I wish I could forget about nearly losing my marriage, there are two things I always want to remember: 1) trust is critical, and 2) no matter what, the love is still there.