When I tell you I want to hear three little words from my estranged husband you probably automatically think those words are “I Love You”. When I left eight years ago I knew those words by heart. I knew he loved me but what I needed him to say more than “I Love You” is three different words that meant more to me. I needed him to say “I Choose You” Most people are thinking well if he said I love You then he did choose you right? I have asked myself that question over and over in my mind, I knew he chose me from September 1983 all the way to September 1989. It was always me that he chose it was always me that he put on a pedestal. But in September 1989 I had to ask him a question that I needed the perfect answer for. “Who Do You Love?” Some circumstances in our lives made me have to ask that question and if he just would have said “I Love You” Our lives would never have been torn apart years later. But his answer was “I don’t know who I love.”
We were separated by distance at the time. I was in Florida while he was stationed in Germany and I was soon to join him. I went to Germany and he met me at the airport and I was very sick so he took me home right away. In a few days I was better and we talked about those unhappy circumstances that had brought him to the point he didn’t know who to love. He did ask forgiveness and I forgave readily because I loved him and I chose him to be by my side as my husband. But he never told me “I Chose You”. He just started living as if we had never been disturbed by those unfortunate circumstances. He did tell me I love you but I never knew if he loved me for staying or if he chose me to be his loved one.
I was dealing with infertility and had three miscarriages by then and I needed him to choose me, not just say I love you but to actually choose me because everything that had happened in my life up to that point had given me a heaping load of low self-esteem. We continued to stay together him being fine with the status quo but me always having a nagging feeling I only had his heart by default. I had done a lot of different infertility treatments but they all failed. He was in the Army and when we came back to the states and got stationed at Fort Hood Texas they sent us to San Antonio to Fort Sam Houston where they had a large infertility clinic and they would do tests and I tried every medicine known at that time for infertility but there were no positive results. He loved me through that. But with the prospect of never giving him a child in my mind I thought would he choose me if he had known that?
He went to war for his country and when he got back he became a casualty of the Clinton Military Drawdown. We stuck together while we had to figure out what to do as a career now that he was not a mechanic in the Army. He did have two certifications in the automotive field but no one looked at his military work history as anything but him going to war not that he was a top rated mechanic for over 14 years. He could not find a job in his field of expertise. Through a family member back home where I came from in Florida he was able to land a very lucrative job but the work conditions were almost unbearable. First he had to commute one hour to get to work where he worked hard manual labor in the horrible Florida Heat and Humidity on 12 hour swing shifts. I tried to make everything good for him at home so that he had a place to really just come home and relax. We lived that way for 3 years. Him being gone at least 14 hours a day and then sleeping 8 so everything we had to do was in a two hour window frame of time . We never would have made it without that job and the only saving grace to it was after 5 weeks of swing shifts you got one week off. But we were never together. More and more I took care of the details of our lives and he worked those long shifts to make it possible.
He came home one day after a 12 hour shift and was so excited a co-worker told him all about a college that worked with you and helped you get an education while you worked difficult hours. So he added 4 more hours to my alone time for the sake of our future. He was gone 16 hours 2-3 times a week and then on his off days worked on our vehicles and mowed the pasture and we were very active in our church. As I said our only saving grace was the fact after he worked 12 hour swing shifts for five weeks he got an entire week off. He still had to go to college 2-3 nights that week but it gave us time to reconnect. I managed our lives and our finances. And then his father got sick and every weekend we could we could we would drive the six hour trip up to Georgia and visit his father. Those are precious memories.
During all this time I was very busy with keeping our lives together and every time the church doors opened I was there. It was a small church so I did 3 or 4 different jobs to help everything run smoothly. That was my life. I was at church way more than I was with my husband. We drifted apart.
Then after 15 years of infertility out of the blue I became pregnant and had a normal pregnancy that ended with a healthy baby girl. I knew they would be close because by my sixth month she knew his voice and when he would come home and say something it felt like she would be tumbling in my belly. Finally I told him when he came home in the middle of the night he could not even speak because she would get so riled up that I would not be able to sleep anymore. So he began just slipping in the bed quietly when he would come in from work but she knew when he came because my belly would actually moved toward him like a magnet. I knew they had a wonderful, unshakable, and unbreakable bond even before she was born. When she was born in May of 1999 it had been almost ten years that I had been wondering if he chose me or if my whole life was caused by some default actions of another person. I guess you could say that when he said “i Love You” I wondered if he did because I had stayed by his side or if he had actually made the choice and I was the one he truly loved.
After our daughter was born no one could separate them if he was home. I would try to keep her from waking him while he tried to get some sleep but the minute my back was turned she was curled up into the bed with him. I believe that is why she learned to walk by 9 months so I could not keep them separated. But His love for her was ever present. She brought Joy to him. He loves her deeply to this day. They have a bond that is so sweet and so right that I could never be jealous. But I was alone.
It had been a joyous pregnancy everything went right until an emergency c-section but even that did not dull my joy. I remember when they wheeled me down to the awaiting van that the light sparkled through the trees and I truly felt it was the Light of God shining on us. But everything was shattered for me right after that because of the onset of Postpartum Depression. When I had my 6 weeks check up my Obstetrician diagnosed me with it before I ever said a word. There was talk of antidepressants but I was breastfeeding and the medications could get into the milk and there were no studies on children who had ingested antidepressants from a mothers breast milk and so after a talk with my daughter’s Pediatrician I just bit the proverbial bullet and pretended to be happy. For 9 months I breast fed till my daughter started drinking out of a cup. By the time I was no longer breastfeeding I had Postpartum Psychosis.
I was alone. I hid how bad I felt. But that made me feel even more alone. Circumstances would come along and I would find a friend who was lonely too. I had a psychotic break with reality by the time my daughter was 18 months. Then there were a lot of medications in high dosages and I just existed for the sole purpose of being my daughters mom. By the time my daughter was five my husband had Graduated with Honors from college. He held a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science and Technology. The company he had worked for those 6 long years offered him a position as the Technology expert for a smaller company they had in Northern Alabama.
He had made it! No more long swing shifts and no more hard manual labor in sweltering heat. He had his own office with only 30 minute commute away from a quaint town where we felt would be a positive place for our child to grow up. I became focused on my daughter and her education and trying to be functional as a human being on all the medications I was on. I was so thankful for the fact that my daughter had a strong bond with her Daddy because that took a lot of strain off me.
But as luck would have it this division of his company would shut down, He was given a few months notice and started sending out his very impressive resume immediately to all of the high tech corporations in this area But we had no luck.
With the last little bit of money we had saved, a monetary gift from the church, and a neighbor who was generous to us in our time of need we were able to move back to Florida bad had to live with my parents who were at the time living with my sister there were six adults in the three bedroom house and my daughter and her baby cousin. We made the best of what we could and my husband was sending resumes out all over the country. While I had so much family support I went back to college myself. I felt it was finally my turn. I had two semesters in when a company from where we had lived in Alabama called and wanted an interview with my husband. I knew he had the job when they flew him from Florida just for an interview. But I felt safe where I was and I was going to college so I asked my husband if while he came back up here that me and my daughter would stay in Florida while I finished my Associates degree. That was just not a possibility because he said he could not stand not to see her. So I was put in the role of taking care of our child and I could not finish school because of his great bond with her. I became even more mentally unstable. A year after we had come back up to Northern Alabama I had another psychotic break. I was so medicated I did not feel any emotions not sadness nor even happiness I just existed.
He had never chosen me. I was his sidekick, his partner, his child’s mother. And he did love me in all those roles, but I still could not forget the fact he had never chosen me. Maybe it was my mind not being stable but this became a real point of contention. It led to me telling him I was leaving him and there was nothing he could do about it. He never tried. He allowed me to live in his house until I was employed and had housing good enough for me and my daughter to live in. He actually helped me move into my apartment. Custody was settled in a friendly loving manner and we both had ample time with our daughter. She told me one time that she was mad at me because I made her Daddy cry and that’s the only emotion I ever knew he had showed over my leaving.
For eight years I lived a separate life. We could neither divorce nor get legally separated because if we did I had no insurance and with all the therapy, psychiatrists, and medications I needed to be able to be a functioning human being, for our daughter’s sake he did not divorce me. But as I said, I lived a separate life. In those 8 years I had 4 boyfriends. The last man I was with loved and adored me. But God had put a calling on me to live right and live for Him and go back to my husband. So that is what I did I went to my husband and begged for another chance. That is where we now are. At the beginning of my “one chance”. We started marriage counselling with his Pastor. We told everything to the Pastor all the circumstances that had come up in our lives and I had already told my husband that my lack of confidence in our love happened in September of 1989 when I asked him who he loved and he had only said that he did not know who he loved. He says he does not ever remember saying that, which actually drove a dagger into my heart. Words that have haunted me for 25 years had no meaning to him whatsoever. He has decided for us to try and reconcile but he says now that he truly does not love me but is willing to try again. His Pastor sent us on a date last night and it is the first time in 25 years that we actually focused on each other and what was happening in our lives.
But I still have not heard him say “I Choose You” and he says because of all the years that have gone by he is just unable to feel love for me right now but he would try. I am an ordinary woman there is no special feature or talent that I have to entice him. It will simply be just another decision to love me. But just beginning to love me will not get us back together the only thing that can do that is if he chooses me again.
So for all the men and women out there know that there are two sets of “three little words” one is “I Love you” but to me the other three are more important “I Choose You” those are the words I have to hear. He can hold back the I love You’s till he feels right about saying that again. But to heal My heart all I need to hear is “I Choose You”,