The Almost Divorce

If I were to write another memoir, a sequel(ish) to Rockabye, I'd call it, "The Almost Divorce," because almost divorcing? Is something most (every?) married couple goes through at some point. Something many couples are going through right this very second. Something my husband and I went through for two plus years.

When Hal and I were in the trenches, lighting and putting out cigarettes on each other's hearts, we regularly spoke of divorce, how we would deal, who would move out. It was Archer that kept us together, mainly because neither of us could mutter the words "custody" or "step parents" without seeking a toilet bowl to puke in.

I have never been a jealous girlfriend, or wife. Quite on the contrary, actually. But the thought of my son with another mother figure singing him to sleep? Broke me.

I have the utmost respect for couples who make it work, who pick up and glue together the broken pieces of their marriage "for the kids" AND for themselves because I've been there and it's tough fucking work. I also very much applaud the couples who understand that it's soul suicide to fake it work.

Unadulterated honesty, when it comes to one's heart and well-being is mandatory practice as far as I'm concerned.

For a lot of couples, that means getting a divorce:

For Hal and me? It meant almost...

And today our marriage is all the stronger for it. We needed to come out the other end of that hell. We needed to face head on, an almost divorce in order to wake up, covered in dust, happily married. Which is why if I ever get around to writing another memoir? It will be about that.

How it almost happened.

But didn't at all.



kwərk | 10:19 PM

My parents have had so many periods like that, a few I'm pretty sure my dad doesn't really know about. But they are still together and better than ever, and I am so proud of them and even when they have their severely rough moments I am grateful because I know they have found the tools to work it out...even though it took them so, so long to do so. It's survivable when both people want to make it so and put the effort in and I like those relationships the best: the ones where two people fought amongst themselves to be together. I credit my constant need to be communicating in my relationship to watching my parents learn how to do it.

I love your stories and the way you find beauty in each piece of them. :)

spicylikeginger | 10:49 PM

Awesome! I will buy that memoir. I bookmarked Hal's page. Hilarious!

katiepaisley | 11:52 PM

I am a long time reader, first time commenter, I think. I am having the worst nigh,t I am laying on the couch mentally poking needles in my husband, who is, happily sleeping in the room completely oblivious to my agony. I hate him and us right now, but you happened to post this exactly when I needed to be reminded that things can work out, and everyone goes through rough patches. Thanks!

Sylvia | 2:56 AM

I've just recently started reading your blog.... I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

This is touching, my husband and I are barely getting to this point... Thanks for the inspiration!

by the way....
your babies are adorable!

Julia | 5:02 AM

yep. I hear that.

mrs.notouching | 5:06 AM

My parents stayed together "for the kids" and it was awful. I was not going to marry or have kids. Ever. The first year I started living with my husband was by far the worst year... we stayed together for all the wrong reasons at that time, but now? We keep telling each other how glad we are that we did! Our marriage now is like a good wine - gets better and better every year. What can I say, life has a great sense of humor.

Ker | 5:41 AM

My parents are still married now - going on over 30 years. BUT - my Mom took off to another state when I was 16. My parents are now friends - it is strange. One lives in FL, the other in AZ. They can be in the same room and they don't fight. At my wedding, they played well together. But, they still live thousands of miles apart... married. Strange.

Great Momversation, and you and Hal rock this marriage gig, so good for you!

Brooke | 5:42 AM

My parents also "stayed together for the kids" and it was not pretty. My husband and I have been married almost ten years, and during our first year of marriage, we also "almost" divorced. It was an awful time, but we are both better partners for having come through the other side.

Oh, and I would love to read that memoir.

Marie-Ève | 5:53 AM

My parents did stay together for the kids and faked it, and it was awful. They ended up divorcing when I was 14, and the divorce during my adolescent angst phase did screw me up, but I guess not as much as the terrible example they provided throughout my childhood.

I personally think that having kids with the right person is the single most important decision you'll ever take (although I know you don't always get to choose it this clearly).

After my son was born my soon-to-be husband and I had a really tough time too, even though things were nearly perfect before and I really didn't see it coming. There were time when I hated his guts, but I also couldn't bear submitting my son to the split parents life this early, not without a fight. So we did fight for our family, and made it work (I guess it helped that we did have a real connection to begin with). We are totally back to puppy love, stronger than ever, getting married in three weeks.

Jess | 5:54 AM

I have been following your blog and I love it. I love it because it is raw and real - you write beautifully and you people connect with the truth in your words. Thank you for sharing!

Unknown | 7:48 AM

Thanks for this. Seriously. Sometimes life gets so crazy you forget that your stuck in a big fat plate of normal...

Jake and I were totally blindsided by what being married was. We were best friends, and head over heels in love, but then I went and got knocked up on our honey moon. So the first 9 months I wasn't myself... I was an emotional, hormonal, exhausted hag and it was miserable. I lost myself in my first baby. I was so in love with him that I became terrified of doing anything for myself because I might screw his life up. Somewhere after baby #2 I got me back. I realized, my kids are going to be okay if I stay up writing, they'll be okay if I trap them in the living room watching tv while I paint my nails... and once I figured that out, we figured us out again. It's new and it's different, but it rocks. And it was DEFINITELY worth fighting for.

come check out my blog | 8:01 AM

I really enjoyed finding your blog, I am now a follower, I also enjoyed your content.
I went through many years of contemplating divorce, and we used to threaten each other with it as well.
we have been married for 10 years now, we have a combined family and honestly I probably wont get divorced. Because we do love eachother. And I honestly dont think the issues will go away, until we work through them. My husband has actually been married 3 times prior to me. And yes, I know why didnt I see the flashing lights coming right at me, dunno thats the past and today is today.
Come check out my blog
come check out my blog

Another Dad | 8:21 AM

Damn, does this ring true. We had the recipie right: immature lack of emotional support combined with some parent point keeping during the first few years of our daughters life and then top it off with a seven year itch = therapy, tears, talks and liquor. Lots of liquor. The good news is, we just might see our 8th anniversary in June. We both know there are no guarantees, however, the lessons learned have made it an easy choice to WANT what we have. Every day.

I'm not sure I could correctly describe the feelings I had when it came to thinking of some other guy in some other city attempting to read the "funnies" to my daughter on Sunday mornings.

Anonymous | 8:44 AM

i can relate; my husband and i have almost split a few times, threatening each other, tears streaming, slinging insults and making each other feel responsible for all the things we felt we "missed out" on.
we always would come back to one another, apologetic and best of friends again. now that i'm pregnant, and due any moment, i worry about how we'll handle each other with the twins around.

i know it's going to be a huge struggle taking care of two babes at once while penny pinching and trying to get by, but i cling on to the bond we share and the fact that we are best pals, through all of the crap, good stuff and struggles.

thanks for this post. it's nice to read someone who's honest about marriage for once!

summertime | 8:48 AM

I have no intention of the fake it work scenario, but man do we have to make it work sometimes. And it really is the thought that, no matter how crazy my partner might drive me, I can't imagine him not being a live-in father for our son. That just breaks my heart. And I can't really imagine not having him be my partner in crime (I try, and sometimes it's sort of blissful for about five minutes, but then I realize it'd be terrible to not have him).

Anonymous | 10:10 AM

I absolutely love and relate to every sentence you wrote. Beautiful.

Ray | 10:24 AM

I love that photo of your hand on top of Hal's. It's beautiful. And I'm glad that you two worked it out. That you took the hard road and fought instead of giving up. May your marriage be ALL THE MORE STRONGER for it. Always! <3

Mary O | 10:30 AM

I give you so much credit for hanging in there when so many others would have bailed. I can't imagine another woman being a mother-figure to my kids, either. It would be the hardest thing in the world.

Anonymous | 10:43 AM

My husband and I separated for 3 years; but we would never bring up the the D-word, untill, one day, we did. And that's when I knew I wanted to be with him, and only him, for the rest of my life. We have been back together for 2 years are stronger than ever; because we know what's at stake. And shortly we're going to celebrate our 10-year anniversary, including the 3 years we were separated; because without those 3 years, we probably would not appreciate what we really have with each other.

Anonymous | 11:08 AM

thanks for sharing your story. I also had a daughter unplanned and am on, what i hope is, the tail end of the really hard part of our marriage. reading about your experiences remind me it truly can all work out.


Stephanie Greenwell | 11:39 AM

GGC, thanks for your brutal honesty. my husband and i go through that whole "maybe we shouldn't be married" when we get into fights. it's silly when we're not mad, but it's down right brutal when we are. we too started got preggo before marriage, but that doesn't make a difference to us. we're still lovers and figthers, husband and wife, and most of all, mommy and daddy. marriages is a struggle, but well worth it when you fight for something you believe in. congrats to you and hal and the beautiful family and life you've created together.

Franny | 12:28 PM

Its amazing that you posted this. I was at a real crossroads in my marriage VERY recently. It took some time and a lot of work, but we realized deep down. That we can make each other feel happy and fulfilled, There is something deep within us that the other just cannot be without. And like you the thought of another parental figure in the life of our daughter made us both sick. I cannot imagine nor do I want another father than the one our daughter has. And more importantly, there is no one else in this world that I want by my side more than he.

jjlibra | 1:02 PM

i stayed together for years trying to make it work and soul sucking it definitely was. i'm out now. but he makes life hell and sometimes i wonder if it would have been easier to stay together and. i mean, at least then i wouldn't have to share holidays with him. in fact, if we were still together he'd have no interest in the kids whatsoever instead of this interest he pretends to have just to spite me. but in the end, i know it was the right thing. i am matter how many times i get dragged into court, i get to go home to my new life where i am free to be happy. and i am.good for you guys making it work and thank you for recognizing that it not always can and that has nothing to do with not wanting to put the effort in.

Mandy | 2:03 PM

Long time reader, first time commenter.
Love this idea! Keep up the blogging and writing!

Anonymous | 3:25 PM

Divorce is tough. Staying together for the kids is not the right choice for everyone. If you can do it, then great. Seriously. But, if you and the spouse are toxic together, don't try it for the kids. Get apart before you destroy someone's life.

I love that you and you husband have found such a great place for yourselves. I am in a very happy and fulfilling relationship myself. It makes the world seem a little better just knowing someone cares about me so honestly.

Keep up the good work!

angela | 3:33 PM

My parents were married 9 times--my mom, 5 times and my dad, 4 times (working on divorce #4, yeah!). So I was like I am NEVER getting married. But I got married at 20. And it has been hard sometimes, very hard. Last year, we went through a period during which I was seriously considering it--both of us were. But I love my husband so much and he loves me too and we have worked through it and are doing so much better. We have two kids and that, of course, was a major factor, but even with all of my parents' divorces, I will never stay with a man simply for the kids. Because I think that's way worse than divorce. The fact that my husband comes from a stable family background helps tremendously. He didn't grow up expecting divorce. I did. But I don't anymore. I'm willing to work hard for this family that I love so much. And I am very happy. :)

Sarah | 4:00 PM

My most favorite Momversation... so raw + touching. Thank you. Knowing how NOT to be married (thank you, parents!) has really helped me to figure out how to STAY married. For now, anyway! Admitting that marriage ain't a sure thing has gone a long way towards ensuring we actually put some work into staying connected. So hard, which perhaps makes it even more worth it as we succeed.

Tracy | 5:53 PM

My parents married young in the 1950s. They divorced young, too, when my oldest brother was a year old and my second oldest brother was still in our mom's belly. In the space between their divorce and reconciliation, my mother lived with one of her brothers until she got on her feet, got a job, made some kind of life for herself. She did what she needed to do. But something, and none of us kids know what that is and likely will never know, something brought them back together. They had the youngest boy soon after, and 7 years after that they had me. They may not even be married now - we can't find any legal record of that, for all our snooping - but they are together, and they are happy.

Sounds like you found your way to happy, too.

Sarah @ | 6:44 PM

That's the best kind of divorce, isn't it? The almost kind.

Robyn....but call me Rob | 7:38 PM

I love your story.
I think it will make a fabulous book. I'll buy it. :) ~Rob

Mary@Holy Mackerel | 7:43 PM

Been there waaay too many times...know it well. And yes, I think it's a necessary part of marriage. How can 2 very different people live together and NOT want to kill each other every second day??

Pamela | 8:05 PM

So after reading the 5 Year Stand I was further convinced my marriage was seriously lacking. Funny, I've been married for 5 years and have 2 children as well, an almost 4 year old boy and a 9 month old boy. Thanks for this post to point out it ain't all peaches and cream! I swear at times I'm a second from dropping this marriage like a bad habit! But after some serious deep breathing and shit I feel it just might work out. Thanks!

Shannon | 11:08 PM

I can so relate. I won't clog up your comments with the history of our marriage, but we are celebrating 6 years in July and for the first time, I am feeling like we really have something to celebrate.

I met you when you were in the middle of your struggles and I remember you talking a little about it that day. I could tell you were really hurting. It is so totally awesome to see you guys this mad-crazy happy now. Especially since I feel the same way about my hubby. It rocks.

Bex | 5:58 AM

Your children are adorable, but it's your posts about Hal that really get to me. Because it's easy to love your children - that's an effortless love that comes naturally. But to love someone who never grew inside your body, who is so entirely other but so mixed up in you at the same time - that's a love that takes some learning. And when I remember that, I remember that some things are worth fighting for.

Tiffany | 8:29 AM

Isn't it amazing how our children can help in all situations. Most they don't even know about. My daughter was my savior from an almost divorce.

jo | 8:57 AM

Call your publisher, tell them the public wants this book and we want it NOW! lol Seriously, I hope the future holds you writing more on this subject. The first few years of my current marriage where hell, but we were determined to make it work and now it's hard to explain the calm we feel knowing everything we have survived over the past decade. Love your work!

Deanna | 12:54 PM

I'd like to read that book.

Lex - @laprimera | 1:25 PM

That is a book I'd definitely buy! Keep holding hands, such a beautiful representation of making it through.

Anonymous | 3:32 PM

oh man. we are in the thick of this now. I dont think we are going to make it.

SO | 8:04 PM

I don't sleep. I miss sleep. Even when everyone else can sleep, I lay there and listen to my three year old snore, just like I did the first night in the hospital. Sigh.

Alex | 9:03 PM

My parents are divorced, and I think it's the best thing to have ever happened to my mom. She went on, met a beautiful man, and has had a wonderful life, something I can't see happening if she stayed with my dad. On the other hand, as a product of divorced parents, it's something I am deathly afraid of, and a reason why I took so long to get married. But, my husband and I are just about to celebrate 9 years (15 if you count the dating part!) and though we have rough patches, we are able, thankfully, to work it out.

Bj in Dallas | 10:15 AM

First time over here (from Shindig) and I am SO going through this right now. However, I am in the divorce process, but the comments on the video reinforced what I am doing is right. I stayed 10 years for my daughter, but looked up one day and said I can't do this any more.
When he told our m counselor that there wasn't anything wrong with him, it must be me, I was done. I had tried everything I could and it wouldn't work and I didn't love him anymore and my daughter and I would be fine. And we are.
One other thing that strikes me as odd, funny,or weird is how interested other people are on 'how the process of the divorce' is going?
If they weren't my friends or family I would tell them to mind their own f in business. But I don't and just say 'OK'. I was even recently asked 'what am I afraid of?" and I replied I didn't know there was a time limit for the general public to be satisfied with. The only thing that has slowed down the process is equal cooperation on getting things on paper and filed, and umm, money??

thanks for letting me vent over here- we've got a good group over at my blog, come over some time.

Mrs. P | 11:28 AM

I wish every one of my married friends could read this. It seems like they are all going through what you are describing. My fiance and I have been to counseling and we aren't married yet. We learned so much going through our "rough patch" that we fell in love with each other all over again. You are right when you said, "we needed it". Because you know what, that was the toughest thing we had to go through- for now. I can imagine when we have kids, or bigger issues- we will go through "the dust" but at least I can see I know we have the strength to see each other through the other side.
Thank you for writing this, there are so many out there that need to know what they are going through in their marriage is NORMAL.

I think people expect that love, understanding, and compassion are automatic in relationships, but the are not. I wish people understood that.
Of course I do understand that there are time when divorce is the right thing to do.

Anonymous | 10:17 PM

Please publish that book now...I need it. Thank you for your writing, you are so honest and real. I would love having a friend like you. You are very gifted in making people feel they are accepted. Love your blog.

jen | 8:03 AM

i think this is a great topic for a book. i think this can touch so many different people whether married or single. and even if it is just telling your own story. it woudl help others to see that they are not alone in their fight. that all couples go through rough patches and/or rough acres. but you can make it out alive and still connected.

Candi | 9:25 AM

Thanks for sharing this. :) It was helpful to me to hear today.

Jordan | 10:49 AM

My husband and I went through this almost a year ago. I moved in with an old college roommate for a month and lived a somewhat single/married life. My stepson didn't have a clue what was going on, and besides the fact that I knew I was being stupid about the whole thing, I knew I could never tell him I was leaving. That was a large factor in my coming home. At 8, he's already experience one divorce, and I didn't want to be the cause of the 2nd one. We still have daily struggles and try to work our issues. We've been married almost 4 years. I'm definitely more fulfilled now than ever.