Well, I won't give up on us... {my messy beautiful}

I have always had a messy life. Being the type of kid who often had to spend hours cleaning her room by way of pleading, cajoling, and threats from my mom, messy was my motto. It may have looked like a cyclone on the outside, but it was smooth seas inside.

Fast forward into my adulthood, where I found I had no greater capacity for neatness than I did as a teen. I married my husband Pete and thought I might develop a sudden propensity for housework with that ring on my finger, but no such luck. Books live in haphazard piles, laundry piles up, and I forget to take out the recycling all the time.

Eight months after we were married, we became pregnant with our son, PJ. He was born nearly 5 months after our 1st anniversary. We quickly fell into the chaos that only new parents know, drifting past each other in a sleepy haze as we doted on this amazing being that had stormed into our lives. We tended to our son with everything we had, through his infancy into toddler-hood and into his diagnosis of Autism shortly after he turned two. Parenthood in and of itself changed everything, but that diagnosis...the discovery that PJ had Autism turned my world upside down. I  threw myself into every aspect of his therapies, tracked every milestone as they crept by. I vaguely noticed that, maybe, I wasn't tending to my marriage, but it wasn't a concern I took very seriously. I certainly didn't consider the idea that Pete was drifting away. There was a growing valley between us as I wildly tried to keep my son connected to the world- what was more important?

This time last year, I was in bed reading Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Melton (of Momastery fame) and came across an essay entitled "Easter", detailing the demolition and rebuilding of her marriage to her husband. She spoke of going through the motions of love and marriage- just enough sex, just enough affection, just...enough. There was no way to pinpoint what was happening between them but to say that there was a disconnect. I nodded as I read, saying "Yes. This. This is what I would say to Pete, written down perfectly." I wanted to show it to him, but instead, I rolled over and went to sleep.

I never reached out. Pete didn't, either, and a few months later, it all came to a head. A late night, a lot of blame, and the worst fight we had ever had brought us to the decision to take leave of our marriage. Pete didn't sleep at home again for nearly four months. My son was confused, and although we worked together as a team for his sake, the tension between us was palpable, even to an Autistic toddler. His moods and behavior declined- another thing that was sacrificed  on this messy alter, and I despised myself for causing his hurt. Still, I couldn't simply roll over and go back to way things were between Pete and I, and neither could I just go for the clean break. Instead, we sought counseling.

It took a few tries, but we found a good therapist. This ended up being the decision that, in the end, gave our marriage a new heartbeat and continues to sustain it. Every week, we go in and sit on the couch and we agree to lay. it. all. out. There's no hiding, no avoidance, no pretense. And let me tell you something, folks. It's hard for me. I had to bring all of my hurt and accusations and broken, missing pieces to the table, and I also had to prepare myself for the understanding that I wasn't simply a victim in our marital troubles. I carried a bucket full of blame myself. Pete and I, both, had wandered so far from where we started, and in two different directions. Our therapist is our road map, easing us off the wrong path by asking the right questions to help us find a new path.

It's been nearly a year since that terrible night, and while we have come so far, we still have miles to go. Miles. The road is bumpy, messy, rocky, and soooooooooooooooo looooooooooong. And it's still cluttered with books and laundry and PJ's toys. In so many ways, the road looks the same. It's Pete and I who look different. But, that's the good news, right? There is a road ahead of us. Us. 

I'm so excited to take part in the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project! To learn more about Carry On, Warrior, just released in paperback, and join in the project, CLICK HERE

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Beautiful writing. I'm glad you guys are on this journey together. xoxo
Thank you for posting this. I can relate in many ways. I don't want to get too personal here, but I can relate. It's hard to keep a balance & I am totally a messy person.
I'm glad you guys were able to come together and get to a better place. I found you through the Messy, Beautiful Link up.
Thank you for sharing this. I know it probably wasn't easy. Gosh life truly is SO MESSY! We all want it clean and cut and easy. But, it will never be that way, no matter how hard we try! Maybe it is just easier to just let it be!
FosterCareQandA said…
This is a great reminder to anyone in a lifelong relationship. Especially once we become parents, it's so easy to put the relationship on the back burner. Thank you for sharing your messy beautiful!
Christine P said…
I so admire you for sharing your story!! I can relate to what you guys have been going through, as we've been going through similar crap since Nicky's diagnosis. You are an incredible person and I'm very lucky to know you!!
Jenn said…
I'm so happy that you and Pete are working together! I can totally relate. Sometimes I just want to...well, this is your blog, so let's just say I get it. Your writing always makes me so happy because I know I'm not alone.
heather lesoine said…
Found you after you commented on my blog. Love this post...I've been guilty of the same since the birth of our first son at 28 weeks. I keep thinking that my husband and I have this unspoken agreement that we will come back to each other when things calm down...only problem is, it's UNSPOKEN, which means he knows nothing about this imaginary agreement and we all know things will never calm down. Yet, I'm still too afraid to do anything about it...
elizabeth said…
first of all - I am a messy, piler-upper of a girl too! (another high five for that : ) and second - this post is beautiful...and your honesty in sharing your story is such a gift! thank you!
I am a complete mess...always. I don't think it will ever change, I think it's a part of my DNA! My husband is the compete opposite of me which has been both good and bad! I love the ending to your story...how you and Pete are fighting for the family that was first before your son came into this world! It sounds like you have a great therapist to guide you, too. Looking forward to following you in our little blogging group! :)
I've been sitting a mess of piles for months and when I get the motivation to clean it up something distracts me and I don't finish what I've started. So glad you sought counseling and have made it through a year. Thanks for sharing your story with us!
Anna Mujica said…
I'm inspired by your story, thank you for being so open and honest about your marriage and struggles. While not for the same reasons, I see my marriage falling down the same road but thankfully we saw all the warning signs and are trying to get part of ourselves before we had kids, back, before the divide between us continues to grow. I'm a messy person too, and that doesn't help matters since when the husband comes home from work, I see an opportunity for him to keep an eye on the kids while I scurry around the house, which means even less quality time spent together. I wish you all the best and I'm so happy for you that you didn't just give up!