Glennon Doyle Melton, whom many of you know from her Momastery site and her first bestseller, Carry On, Warrior, a collection of her many incredible essays about what it means to find sobriety, to find a higher power, to find that you were enough all along, shared the truth about her husband's betrayal a few years ago.
In the time since, she has also shared a few details about their healing, a story that became her second book Love Warrior, which will be released in September.
But, just a few days ago, she shared another part of her healing journey, an unexpected and, to many, difficult piece of news. She and her husband are separating.
It can be hard for those of us hopeful that we can rebuild our marriages after betrayal to witness what we see as the failure of another couple to move past the betrayal. I know, early on after D-Day, I clung to the happily-ever-after stories. I needed desperately to believe that the path I'd chosen wasn't foolish. That it was possible to create something wonderful out of such pain.
It has been almost ten years. And while I hesitate to confess that my husband and I are ourselves going through a tough time right now, the truth is that our marriage is probably a lot like many of my friends who haven't experienced betrayal. It's got its ups and its down, its disappointments and its joys. Some days I look at my husband and wonder how we're going to make it another twenty years together (hell, I wonder how I'm going to make it to dinner without strangling him) and other days I wonder how I could ever live without him. The legacy of betrayal still rears its head now and again but mostly our challenges are more pedestrian. Disagreements over curfews for our children, frustration with who does more around the house (spoiler: it's me).
But there's no doubt that we've had to grow in order to heal from betrayal, in order to create a marriage that can weather the storms. And there have been (still are!) times when our growth doesn't keep pace with each other. Part of our most recent challenges have been around exactly that. I was worrying that he had...stalled. That his dedication to our marriage was flagging. I wondered, with little humility, if I was simply more psychologically evolved than he was. That he had reached his limit.
And then, with me handwringing that I just didn't understand why our son would behave in a certain way, he stunned me with his insight. In one simple sentence, he clarified the situation. Then he went back to watching some idiotic show on television, leaving me aware that a lot more goes on behind his brown eyes than I give him credit for.
And so I offer you this assurance. That, if you choose the path of healing and self-love post-betrayal, you're in for a brutal, beautiful journey ("brutiful", as Glennon puts it). You will change. There's no other way to reach healing. You will change in ways you can't imagine and that will alter how you show up in the world. Your partner might grow alongside you, not necessarily at the same pace and sometimes not in the same direction. Or he might choose a different path, one that leads not to growth but to a continued life in the shadows. But you, I hope, will continue to choose light. You, I hope, will keep your inner compass pointed toward the truth of yourself and your worth and knowing that you are, have always been, enough.
And so you'll be able to make your own choice about your marriage. No matter whether those around you are able to rebuild or choose to leave those marriages behind, you will be able to follow, with clarity and compassion, the path that's right for you.
It's what Glennon Doyle Melton has done. She has not betrayed those of us who've hoped that she could light the way toward a healed marriage. She has simply not betrayed herself and it is that truth that lights the way for all of us.