The list was one I never thought I would make. I stared at the book titles I had jotted down for reference; each of them looked at divorce from a different angle: how to tell your kids, how to do it amicably, how to maintain financial stability in its wake, how to heal the emotional scars. I felt I was at the end of my rope as I drifted farther and farther away from any hope of restoring the unity we had once enjoyed. Divorce seemed to be the next logical step. The question was, did I have the courage to take it? And beyond that, was such a drastic and life-altering decision really the solution?
34 Years Later... Discontent = Divorce?
I considered what had led to this overwhelming feeling of discontent. My husband and I had been married for 34 years. We had created many happy memories — some of the best of our lives. We had four beautiful daughters who had grown into sensible, competent, and caring adults. We had been blessed with three granddaughters whom we cherished. Our lifestyle, although not opulent, had been comfortable and secure. We had always been solid in our spiritual beliefs and experienced God’s faithfulness in getting us through tough times. Through all the ups and downs, we had considered each other our best friend.
When he lost his father, I thought my husband would never recover. They had shared such a special relationship it had taken him more than a year to rise up from the emotional heap he’d been stuck in. Then a restructuring at his company occurred that forced him to take a job that brought little pleasure and a lot of heartache from a boss who belittled him.
As his wife, I thought I had been as supportive as any loving spouse would be in the same situation. I’d done everything I could think of to help him rise above his circumstances, but it never seemed enough to keep his spirits lifted. Time and again he would take a step forward into a more positive perception of the future only to take two or three back into the past where old memories dominated his thinking. He began to drink more and communicate less. As he fell further into despair, I came to resent his playing the victim and that he wouldn’t, or couldn’t, transcend his circumstances.
Negative Internal Chatter
I began to see him as weak. My respect for him diminished. A barrage of negative internal chatter seized my mind daily: Why couldn’t he just get over it and move on? Why did I constantly have to be the cheerleader? Why couldn’t he see he was allowing other people, and circumstances outside of his control, to dictate his future?
I wanted to be happy, but the way things were going, my happiness seemed doomed. I wanted him to be happy, but nothing I tried worked. I became resentful and bitter that all I suggested or complained about fell upon deaf ears. The inner turmoil was more than I wanted to deal with. My head told me to surrender and move on, but my heart told me I couldn’t give up yet.
Words of Wisdom: Be The Change
Often I would surf the Internet for sites that fed my desire for spiritual growth and awareness. It was on just such an occasion that I visited one promoting beautiful art prints that highlighted quotes from great sages and masters of our time. As I clicked from print to print, one stood out, as if just waiting for me to absorb the words of wisdom blazoned across the artwork.
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
The quote was one I had heard before. But this day it spoke directly to me. Waves of goose bumps traveled throughout my body, and my heart raced as wisdom took hold. Here in bold revelation, presented in simple but astounding truth, was the answer I had been searching for. An amazing gift of clarity had been specially delivered to me, and the screen of self-righteousness I had been hiding behind suddenly collapsed.
Changing My Perception
I realized in that moment how wrong I had been. In trying to force my advice and philosophies on my husband, I’d been treating him like a lost child in need of parental guidance. In viewing him as such, I had lost my respect for him as a man and a husband. Now I could clearly see that it was my perception of his faults that had delivered me to this place, and only I could change that. I could continue to react to him as I had been, with disdain and disrespect, or respond with compassion for a man temporarily struggling to find himself. A sense of peace accompanied the undeniable certainty that I had to begin a journey inside myself and become the change I wished to see.
Little by little, I worked on allowing my husband to “grow forward” in his own way, at his own pace. I made every effort to think before I let critical statements roll off my tongue. I made it a point to support whatever attempts he was making to overcome his own self-limiting behavior. And most importantly, I strived to stop standing in judgment of him, something I had been doing much too often of late.
Change for the Better
In time, I began to see a change in our relationship. We were arguing less and communicating more. Our household returned to one of laughter and lightheartedness. We began enjoying each other’s company again. Though I knew that my change in attitude contributed, it was his that enabled him to move forward into action-oriented realization of his strengths. His confidence returned in exponential measure to the newly embraced efforts he was making to improve his life.
As I revisit the last year, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for everything that we have gone through to arrive exactly where we’re supposed to be in this present moment. And I smile because, finally, I get it.
This article was excerpted with permission from the book:
When God Spoke To Me:
The Inspiring Stories of Ordinary People Who Have Received Divine Guidance and Wisdom
compiled and edited by DavidPaul Doyle.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, New Page Books, a division of The Career Press, Inc. ©2010. www.newpagebooks.com
About the Authors
Vecchi Talarico has been married to her husband, Pete, for 35 years. She has four daughters and three granddaughters. A hairstylist for 25 years, Vecchi currently volunteers in the Look Good Feel Better program, where she teaches women in cancer treatment how to overcome the appearance-related side effects of their treatment through makeup, wigs, and head coverings.
DavidPaul Doyle is the editor of the book When God Spoke to Me. He is also the author of The Voice for Love: Accessing Your Inner Voice to Fulfill Your Life’s Purpose DavidPaul has traveled worldwide conducting workshops to help others open themselves to God’s voice and discover their own true nature. His passion is reaching people everywhere with the gift of spiritual discovery through books, seminars, and tele-classes. Visit his website at www.thevoiceforlove.com