Fathom Mag

Published on:
May 7, 2019
Read time:
2 min.
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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. 

Have you tried putting on a pretty dress?
Rachel Joy Welcher

“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?

...praying together?

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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Rachel Joy Welcher
Rachel Joy Welcher is an editor-at-large at Fathom Magazine and an Acquisitions Editor for Lexham Press. She earned her MLitt. from The University of St. Andrews. She is the author of two collections of poetry: Two Funerals, Then Easter and Blue Tarp, and the book, Talking Back to Purity Culture: Rediscovering Faithful Christian Sexuality (InterVarsity Press, 2020). You can follow her on Twitter @racheljwelcher.

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