This is especially for Want2be.
25 years ago today, JM and I said our vows to each other. I was looking at pictures last night. The picture of Daddy giving me a kiss on the cheek almost broke me. But they're good tears, because I was loved so deeply by my daddy. There's a picture of me and ds30, who was so cute in his little tux that matched JM's. DS walked me down the aisle and JM made vows to him as well.
And man, we made a mess of things. Both of us were broken, each of us thinking the other would surely fix everything. 11 years ago today, JM began to write the email that would unravel us. I would find it 2 weeks later, the day after spending my birthday helping dear friends bury their 23 year old son. 2011 was so hard. We separated, attempted "R" (which was not even close to actual R) and separated again.
I was DONE. D. O. N. E. Our false R didn't just fall apart, it blew apart like a nuclear blast. My discovery of the truth (that he remained in almost daily contact with OW despite swearing to me on everything holy that he didn't even know how to get in touch with her if he wanted to) culminated in a dramatic suicide threat at my work. I chased him and took him to our scheduled MC appointment and sorta manipulated him into making the threat again in front of our MC. He was then admitted to a psych unit for his protection. While he was there I packed up all of his belongings and put them in our garage. I met with his social worker and told her I didn't care where he went when he was discharged as long as it wasn't my house. I was honestly ready for him to be dropped off at a homeless shelter if he couldn't convince his parents to let him stay with them.
And somewhere along the way, he finally managed to get his head out of his butt. He had a spiritual experience that transformed him almost to his DNA level. He physically changed. He carried himself differently. His facial expressions and manner of speaking changed. He became humble and willing to do anything and everything to fix the mess he'd caused. So 10 years ago today we renewed our vows. And we have rebuilt our family on a foundation of shared faith, love and mutual respect. We had one "hiccup" in R that required a little adjustment. At that time, the Wayward forum was absolutely critical for our recovery. I'd been here almost a year at that point, but JM was never one to be online, and certainly not one to share his problems and ask for help.
Did I mention, though, his willingness to do anything? He fought through the discomfort because it mattered to me. He bared himself, asked questions, and listened to the answers. He printed out The Life Boat post and carried it with him. That's when I knew we were going to be okay.
I've shared this before, but I'll never get tired of this story. I came home from work one evening and he met me at the door. Told me to close my eyes. He guided me to our room and to sit down in a chair. He had a basin of warm water and proceeded to wash my feet in this warm soapy water. He dried them and then put lotion on them. All the while, he was weeping. And so was I. It was a tender act of humility and service that carried such powerful emotion and meaning.
So here I am today, sitting at my desk at work. He sent me some gorgeous flowers today and the scent of roses is amazing. At one point I thought he'd ruined our anniversary forever. But today I find it a precious gift. Because I can never think of our anniversary without thinking about how close we came to losing it all, and how hard we both fought to build something new.
I'll close with my favorite verse from one of my favorite hymns.
"Here I raise my Ebenezer; hither by thy help I've come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God.
He to rescue me from danger, interposed His precious blood."
Ebenezer is a remembrance. A memorial stone placed to remind us where we once were and where we've come by God's help. Our anniversary will always be our Ebenezer.