“Until death do us part.” This sentence is usually included when two people make their vows to each other on their wedding day. It symbolizes a sense of an unconditional kind of commitment, that, regardless of what may happen during the duration of the marriage, will remain strong and long-lasting. Unfortunately, many people fall short of this type of commitment for a variety of reasons…some realize their mistake and reconcile with their spouse while others may discover too late, that any kind of resolve is beyond restoration.
Today’s story is written by a man who made a bad decision with his marriage. He became involved with a co-worker, lost interest in his wife, and ended up learning a valuable lesson. It is my hope that his account of what happened to him and his relationship with his marriage will help encourage and inspire you to stay strong in the relationships of the people you love.
A year or so ago, I came home one night and found my wife serving dinner. Walking up to her, I held her hand and said, “I’ve got something to tell you.” She sat down and ate quietly. Again, as it had been in the past months, I saw the hurt in her eyes. I tried to open my mouth and speak but couldn’t find the words. After an awkward moment of silence, I finally let her know what I was thinking. “I want a divorce.” I said calmly. She didn’t seem to be upset by my words, instead she asked me softly, “why?” I avoided her question. This made her angry. She began to yell and scream, threw away her utensils and shouted as I stood there and listened.
That night, we didn’t talk to each other. She just sat there quietly weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage, but I just couldn’t give her a satisfactory answer; she had lost my heart to my co-worker, Jane. I just didn’t love her anymore, I pitied her!
The next day, with a deep sense of guilt and sadness, I drafted a divorce agreement. In it, I stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% of my company. She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. My wife, the woman who had spent ten years of her life with me and had become the mother of our child, was a stranger. I felt sorry for the time she wasted with me, the resources and energy she had spent with me, but I could not take back what I had said to her. The most important thing was that I loved Jane and loved her dearly.
Later that day, I came back home very late from work and found her writing something at the table. I decided not to have any dinner, went straight to bed and quickly fell asleep. I had spent a very eventful day with Jane and was dead tired. When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did not care so I turned over and was asleep again.
Early the next morning, she presented her divorce conditions to me. She didn’t want anything from me but requested that I give her a month’s notice before the divorce. She requested that in that one month, we both try to live as normal a life as possible. Her reason was simple, our son had his exams later in the month and she didn’t want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.
I agreed to her terms. But then she had something more…she asked me to recall how I had carried her into our bridal room on our wedding day. She requested that every day for the month’s duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning. I thought she was going a little crazy but just to make our last days together bearable, I accepted her odd request.
I told Jane about my wife’s divorce conditions. She laughed loudly and thought it was silly and absurd. “No matter what tricks or shenanigans she tries, she has to face the fact that the divorce will happen”, she said scornfully.
My wife and I hadn’t had any physical contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So, when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Behind us, our son applauded and yelled, “daddy is holding mommy in his arms!” His words
brought me a sense of pain and embarrassment. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; “don’t tell our son about the divorce.” I nodded and feeling somewhat upset, I put her down outside the door. She went to wait for the bus to go to work and I drove alone to the office.
On the second day, both of us acted much more relaxed. As she leaned on my chest. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn’t looked this closely at this woman for a long time. I realized she was not young anymore. There were fine wrinkles on her face and her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.
On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me and gave our family a son.
On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again, and I decided that I wouldn’t tell Jane about it. As the month slipped by, I discovered that it became easier to carry her. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.
She was choosing what to wear one morning. She had tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed and said, “all my dresses have gotten bigger.” I suddenly realized how much thinner she had become…which was the reason why I could carry her more easily. Suddenly it hit me like a punch in the gut, she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart and never once complained about it. Subconsciously, I reached out and touched her head and caressed her face.
At that moment. our son came into the room and said, “Dad, it’s time to carry mom out.” To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out of the house every day, had become an essential part of his life.
My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid that I might change my mind at this last-minute. Then, lifting her in my arms, I walked from the bedroom, through the sitting room, and to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally, I held her body tight…just like our wedding day.
But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last day, when I held her in my arms, I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and told her that I hadn’t noticed that our marriage had lost so much intimacy and the love that we once shared.
Then it happened.
I drove to my office and jumped out of my car without locking the door. I was afraid that if I waited too long, I would change my mind. I walked upstairs and Jane opened the door. I said to her, “I am sorry, Jane, but I do not want the divorce anymore.” She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead and asked, “do you have a fever?” I moved her hand off my head. “I’m sorry, Jane,” I said, “I made a decision…I am not going to divorce my wife. You see, my marriage had become boring and shallow because we didn’t value the essential things of our lives, it wasn’t because we didn’t love each other anymore. We had just lost sight of the important things that hold a marriage together. Since I began to carry my wife this past month or so, I realized that I had started our marriage carrying my wife into my house on our wedding day and I am supposed to hold and take care of her until death do us apart…and that’s what I am going to do”
Jane was stunned then, suddenly, she seemed to wake up. She gave me a hard slap across my face, slammed the door, walked away, and burst into tears.
I walked downstairs and drove away. I soon came upon a floral shop and had a great idea. I decided to order a bouquet of flowers for my wife! The salesgirl smiled then asked me to write on the little card that came with the bouquet. I smiled and wrote, “I’ll carry you out every morning until death do us part”.
Later that day, I finally arrived home with the flowers in my hands, a smile on my face and a song in my heart. I ran up the stairs, burst through the door and called out my wife’s name. There was no answer. Puzzled, I searched each room, but she was nowhere to be found. Finally, I went to our bedroom and found, to my great surprise…my wife in the bed. But she wasn’t moving or breathing…she was dead.
Unbeknownst to me, my wife had been fighting cancer for months and I was too busy with Jane to even notice. She knew that she would die soon, and she wanted to protect and save me from whatever negative reactions and actions that may have come from our son if the divorce had taken place. At least, in the eyes of our son, I was a loving and caring husband.
Folks, there is a moral to learn from this story: The small details of our lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansions, the cars, properties, or the riches that we may have. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves. It’s the little, unseen things that are the most important…love, faithfulness, commitment, and selflessness, things that money cannot buy, that makes a relationship, like marriage, endure the test of time. So, find the time to be your spouse’s friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy, love, and trust. For it is the unseen things in a marriage that no only have the most value…they are the most important things.
Here’s to successful relationships, thriving friendships, and happy marriages!