When my husband said he wanted a divorce, I chose to fight for my family and reclaim my smile. #depression #relationships #divorce

Depression Nearly Led To Divorce

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Many who have recovered from depression can pinpoint a day or a time that they truly decided they would fight against it. For some it was a conversation, for others a traumatic event. For some it could even be just a festering thought.

Personally, that time was the day my husband said four extremely painful words. They were words I had never imagined hearing, despite the hundreds of thousands who year them annually. He came home from work and said, “I want a divorce.”

The word hit my ears six years after we had gotten married and brought with it an overwhelming plethora of emotions. I screamed, cried, and sobbed. I became downright unreasonable.

But when the emotions were gone, the questions took over. The most prominent being the one that seems to have dominated much of human history – “WHY?” Why would he want to leave me? Why would he want to break the vows we had made to each other at the wedding altar?

It Was Because He Loved Me

The answer was a hard pill to swallow and brought tears not just to my eyes but down my face as well. In a nutshell, my husband explained that while he did truly love me, he couldn’t bear to see me so unhappy any longer.

He felt responsible, inadequate, and guilty. He had tried so hard to help but he was hurting too and he didn’t know what else could be done. So he wanted to end it. He was willing to be civil and wanted to find a way to make it all work in the least hurtful way possible.

But it did hurt. It hurt in a way that truth often does. Sure, I was angry. I was upset. I was sad. But that hurt and anger caused me to look deep inside of myself and ask more questions. “Why did he feel this way?” “Was he right?” “Why was I unhappy?” “Was he responsible?”

No, he wasn’t. I was quick to see that he had struggled so hard to make my life as wonderful as he could. From caring for our kids, to doing housework, to taking me to doctor’s appointments, to lightening the mood with humor, to comforting me when I was ill. 

He was always there and he sacrificed a lot more than I believe most men would ever think of. So if he wasn’t to blame, who or what was?

The Problem Was Me…

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash
Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

…Or rather something deep down inside of me. It was a monster of darkness that had resided within me for quite possibly my entire life. The creature had reared its ugly head more than once, but in recent years it had gained momentum and was nearly out of control.

Its primary goal was to steal every ounce of joy from within me. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t even close to being happy. In fact, most days I would declare I was absolutely miserable. I didn’t enjoy feeling this way, but this monster of despair, hopelessness, and loss had gained such a grip on me that I hadn’t been sure it was worth it to try to wrestle out of its grips.

At least, I wasn’t sure until that moment. That moment I realized I had something to fight for. It was the moment I realized there was purpose. The day I heard the word “divorce” was the day I realized my lack of resolve to fight against this monster wasn’t just increasing my misery, it was affecting my loved ones as well.

The pain continued as I allowed myself to think of all I had put my husband through. I thought of all he had given up to try to convince me to fight for myself. I began to see the pain he must have felt watching me cry myself to sleep night after night as well as the extra work he had to do to make up for the days that I couldn’t bear to pull myself out of bed.

He Wasn’t The Only One Suffering

Then I turned to look at my children. My beautiful little girls were suffering too. They got tired of watching Mommy cry. They wanted a mommy who would go play and laugh with them.

Instead, they were often sent out of the room, or even yelled at simply because Mommy was “having a bad day”. I began to wonder what they thought. Did they feel guilty as my husband did? Did they think it was their fault Mommy was always so sad?

Time For Action

As I began to see life from the views of my husband and from my children, I came to realize something had to change. I had to do better for my husband, for my kids… even for me. I had fallen low enough and it was time to rise up and reclaim the joy that I once had possessed. At that moment, I knew it was time to fight. It was time to stand for myself.

I wasn’t sure how or even if it was possible to escape from under the cloud of darkness above me. In all honestly, I wasn’t sure if the damage that depression had inflicted on my marriage could be repaired. I didn’t know how long it would take to rebuild the confidence in my children.

But I did know that if I was going to ever live a profitable, healthy, joyful life and provide one for my children I had to take back my joy from the deep and hideous monster within.

“Divorce” Brought Healing

The day I heard the word “divorce”, was probably one of the worst and one of the best days of my life because that word challenged me to fight against depression. While I still despise the term as well as the meaning of it, I truly believe it was that word that saved my marriage, my family, and quite possibly my very own life.

The word “divorce” showed me just a glimpse of purpose and left me with the biggest question and challenge of them all: “Are you willing to fight? If not for yourself, for your family?” And that word gave me the strength to say, “Yes. I will do whatever it takes to reclaim my joy and fight for my family.”

And that was the day that my life changed. It was the beginning of the fight (which I won) for my marriage, and the fight to reclaim my smile.

Has mental illness hurt your relationships? Let me know in the comments below and consider sharing this post with your friends!

***UPDATE: For an update on our marriage, please check out this post. Hint: We Didn’t Get A Divorce.

 

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34 comments

  1. Ashley

    I’m so glad you were able to overcome depression. It is a real battle and not an easy feat! God bless you & your family!

  2. Janell MCKinney

    Very touching story and a reality for others. Thank you for sharing

  3. Kelly

    You are not alone. Sharing your story is going to help so many others.

    1. Jennifer

      Thank you so much for visiting today!

    1. Jennifer

      You are 100% correct. I’m just glad that change didn’t come along too late for me.

  4. Tracy C

    Depression can be hard to fight. And, family members can’t force their loved ones to get help. I’m so happy that the D word was the catalyst that made you realize how bad it was and that help was needed.

    1. Jennifer

      You are so right, loving someone with mental illness is hard. But it’s even harder when the lines of communication are broken and there is no mutual understanding. Thanks for visiting with us today.

  5. Neil Alvin Nicerio

    Oh that’s a nice read. We don’t have divorce here in the Philippines 🇵🇭 yet though. I bet many will avail it.

    1. Jennifer

      That is so interesting! I was not aware of that, thanks for sharing!

  6. Hoang Vi Fessenden

    Honestly, I’ve been divorced and alot of people don’t realize that it’s your own happiness that matters and you shouldn’t be stuck in a marriage that you’re not happy in and will be miserable for the rest of your life! Go you!

    1. Jennifer

      So glad you visited with us today and I’m glad you found a way to be happy. Being stuck in a marriage is definitely not a good situation to be in, but I do have to say I believe some people give in too easy. Sometimes, with a little bit of work, one can go from being “stuck” in marriage to being completely joyful in that same relationship. Sometimes, there really is no other way, but I am very glad that although my husband was miserable, he allowed me the opportunity to try to do better.

  7. Haroon Ejaz

    Wow that is so motivating for all of us!

    1. Jennifer

      Thank you for visiting with us today!

  8. Lorita

    Thanks for sharing your story! I’m sure a lot of people could relate in some shape and form. Glad you overcame depression

    1. Jennifer

      Thanks for your words of kindness. I have not overcame depression or anxiety by a long shot. It has been a life-long battle that I am not sure can ever be cured. But I am on my way to managing it better than I have in a very long time.

  9. Saba

    Thanks for sharing. it’s one of the most touching articles I have read.

    1. Jennifer

      Thank you so much for visiting with us today

  10. Nicole Marie

    Its hard to recognize and identify the main source of your depression. Good for you for taking control of your life

    1. Jennifer

      Thanks for the kind words. You are so right, identifying causes is one of the hardest parts of most struggles.

  11. Nursery rhymes girl

    Keep your smile forever. 🙂 Thanks for sharing things with us.I really love to read life stories as motivation. Good luck everything you do! 🙂

  12. blair villanueva

    It was so good that you successfully overcome your depression and now moving on with your new life. Keep on smiling and collect many happy adventures!

    1. Jennifer

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story!

  13. siennylovesdrawing

    keeping your sharing here as it’s gonna be an inspiring sharing for my best friend. Thanks!
    cheers, siennylovesdrawing

    1. Jennifer

      I am so glad your friend will be appreciative! Have you shared the link to the site with them? If so, thank you so much and thanks for visiting!

  14. Ashley

    Sometimes you have to make hard choices like divorce to improve your life. Wonderful article!

    1. Jennifer

      I do believe there are some circumstances where divorce is necessary but I am so glad I was able to focus on improving my mental health and to be able to fill my husband’s love tank. Our marriage isn’t perfect, but I am very grateful he gave it another chance.

  15. Jenn ~ onehoppymomma

    I think a lot of people underestimate that depression can be situational. My depression was gone after I left my first husband and later married the love of my life.

    1. Jennifer

      There are many various forms of depression. The dictionary simply defines it as “feelings of severe despondency and dejection”. Based on that statement, everyone has depression sometimes. It is more of what I would call extreme unhappiness or sadness and some doctors do even diagnosis it as depression. But clinical depression such as I suffer from is not situational. It generally persists or even increases despite extremely positive changes in one’s life. That said, I am very glad you found your own way to happiness.

  16. Clyde

    I’m glad you have found the escape, ironically from the word ”divorce” not from the act itself but just the word. I thought at first, ending your marriage vows has saved you, but reading it, I came to realization already. I am happy for you and your family. 🙂

    1. Jennifer

      Thank you. I truly thought we were headed for a true marital separation, but thank the Lord up above, my husband agreed to stay married until my youngest was 3 months old and during that time, he began to love me again.

  17. Ivana

    I’m happy you have found this revelation in your life, good luck to you in the future.

  18. Hackytips

    It’s difficult but good to see you found good in it. You have a great positive mindset 🙂

  19. Everything On A Plate

    More power to you on this journey! A positive mind set is a great thing to have

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Reclaiming The Smile