Have You Tried
“Have you tried marriage counseling?” she asked, holding the legal documents hostage. She was beautiful, petite, with sleek brown hair. And I found out later, soon to be married. Her engagement ring glistened with hope. Mine was the last story she wanted to hear two months before her wedding. I imagined her putting on emotional armor against our marital failure, considering us outliers who lacked endurance. Writing us off as quitters.
“Yes. I mean, yes he said he would try it but we never did. We...I...he knows what he wants. He’s made up his mind. He told me.”
“So you guys never went?”
“No. I wanted to. But no.”
She looked at me as if I was giving up. Or maybe I just read that into her concerned eyes. I felt like a failure for the hundredth time that week. Why was I even here? How had an enviably good marriage become a stack of papers on a cold desk? Why were we getting a divorce without ever having tried marriage counseling? Would it have changed his mind? How did I get here?
After he told me his plan to file for divorce, my people - my village - told me to hire legal representation. This felt unnecessary. Strange. But some of them had walked this road before. They knew how quickly things could become ugly. I couldn’t process the chain of falling dominoes, so I listened to them, knowing they loved me. I leaned into their wisdom. I had to. I was helpless, like a child.
She agreed to represent our case. I’m not trying to bash the beautiful, young lawyer. But I will never forget how she made me feel when she asked, “Have you tried…”
Because I had tried. Everything. And when you have tried everything and it has failed, it’s hard to hear people’s suggestions. Have you tried…
...putting on a pretty dress?
...giving him an ultimatum?
...reading this book?
He’s not praying. Not anymore. I pray. Alone. For him. Please, I know you all mean well. But stop. Because I have tried.
And nothing worked.
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