Sticks And Stones

We’ve heard this saying a hundred times when we were younger to help us deal with bullies growing up. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. We are told not to give in to people taunting us, to let words go in one ear and out the other without a single thought. However, as we get older we know words are more powerful than we could ever imagine.

What do I mean when I say they are powerful? Well, they can move nations to come together or to destroy one another. They can persuade us to walk one path in life or take another altogether. They have the power to make us brave or to bring terror into our hearts. Words can heal us…but they can most definitely hurt us as well.

When you’ve been married for decades you start to learn the deepest secrets of each other. You soon know everything about one another and you put absolute trust in that person to forever respect those secrets and feelings. Sadly, marriages, trust, respect and secrets can all be broken. It’s going to happen whether you like it or not. People will always say their marriage is “perfect” they don’t fight and they perceive it as nothing but unbreakable. Reality will soon come in swinging and everything you’ve held dear can now be used against you.

My wife wanted to divorce me and I was devastated by that choice. During the time of her leaving I could have done one simple thing, and that would have been to shut my mouth. We both should have done that, but I was by far the worst. I said things to her that I didn’t mean, but I was so hurt that I wanted to do the same to her. I knew the buttons to press, the levers that needed to be pulled and I did it perfectly. I saw it hurt her and it did nothing for me. I loved her, I still do, and by doing that I painted an ugly picture of myself in her mind and regret in my heart.

Doing nothing can sometimes be doing something. Like I said, if I would have shut my mouth, regardless of what she said to me, maybe we could have patched things up somehow. I loved her and I thought during this time she was still in love with me, so I should have gathered up together those words directed at me were from a place of hurt and maybe tried to put reason in there somewhere.

Humans are emotional. Look at our politics, religions, movies, music just about everything we do. We strive from our emotions. They can get out of control and put us in a place we never wanted to be in. It is hard to control them. It would make life a little easier if we could keep them in check 24/7, but then again some of our greatest achievements come from a whim of said emotions as well. A double edge sword it would seem.

What can I learn from my experiences from this? When I rethink those terrible days of us fighting I wish I would have listened more to her side along with mine. Instead, we took everything as an insult. When you do that you are already in attack mode. You aren’t trying to have a conversation; you are just waiting for them to be done talking so you can fling your mud at them. Stop, listen, and think about what was actually said. Yeah, sometimes the two of you don’t want to be together, but in my case I wanted to stay more than ever. And even if you want the divorce it doesn’t mean you need to make a new enemy. You had something, you had a moment in your life and whether you liked it or not you were happy in one point in time.