There are probably two main moments in a marital breakdown; the first is when you first realize, in a kind of “a-ha!” moment, that your marriage is not what you thought it was and you start fighting to get back to what you thought your marriage was or what you want it to be; the second, is when you reach that point when you know there is no salvaging the relationship.
Perhaps there are moments in between these two pivotal ones that confirm your initial suspicion, and there probably are. A marriage doesn’t break down overnight. It is a gradual process sometimes taking years, sometimes taking weeks or months.
But there is a little bit of shock and pain when those thoughts register with our consciousness…my marriage isn’t how I imagined it and, despite all my efforts, I can’t handle my marriage anymore.
True to form, the downfall of my marriage came over time. It didn’t happen in the blink of an eye.
In our case, the first moment I mentioned came about seven years before the second moment. The first moment brought with it disappointment and self-analysis. I admitted I had some issues that I needed to deal with that were affecting our marriage (not that my husband was completely innocent in this department but I couldn’t do anything about his issues…only mine). So I started working on me. Learning about the habits I needed to give up and what a wife’s role should be and what I wanted it to be, and working towards that.
In between the first and second major moments, there was a middle moment when my husband admitted that he didn’t love me and wasn’t sure that he ever had. Which really wasn’t news to me, truth be told. A girl can tell. But I had coached myself into believing that he did in his own way. To be told that what I had thought was wrong totally crumbled my world.
Seven years after the first moment, after much soul searching, I finally came to the point where I knew the marriage was over. I had made a choice many years before to love my husband (around the time of the first moment) and had to admit that I hadn’t been “in love” with my husband for a long time although there were blips.