“The way of love is not a subtle argument. The door there is devastation. Birds make great sky-circles of their freedom. How do they learn it? They fall, and falling, they are given wings.” ~Rumi
You can create your dream life from devastation.
I speak from first-hand experience.
On Thanksgiving Day, my husband knelt before me and said he didn’t think he loved me anymore and didn’t think he wanted to have children. He had flown in that day from our home in NYC to see me perform in a Christmas musical in Salt Lake City. Both being working actors, we hadn’t seen each other in weeks.
His unpacked suitcase was sitting in the living room, standing against the wall. And even though we had been trying to get pregnant for the last year and a half, I placed all of my attention on his specific word “think.”
It wasn’t an absolute!
He wasn’t coming to me and asking for a divorce, or saying he wanted out; he just didn’t “think” he wanted these things.
So, even though I felt like the ground was going to swallow me whole, I went into hyperdrive.
I was willing to do anything to stay in my marriage.
I finally confessed to my husband that I had an affair too. I had been keeping this secret inside of me for four years and told him I wasn’t in love with this other man, and the affair actually showed me I wanted to stay married to my husband.
It didn’t matter that my husband’s face darkened when I shared this. I was telling the truth finally and letting him know I wasn’t perfect and I knew how he felt.
I took my husband’s phone, found the number of the girl he was having an affair with, and told her to stop talking to him. I threatened her, saying I would tell everyone she was a husband stealer.
It didn’t matter that my husband went into a rage because I had contacted her. I felt justified. I was doing what was necessary.
The next day, on Black Friday, after my husband slept on the couch, I made him get on a plane back home.
It didn’t matter that, as working actors, we had spent most of the year away from each other or that I had felt panicked for months that something was wrong. He needed to go home, get his life together, and recommit to our marriage.
When I arrived home from my theater job weeks later, I immediately found a couples therapist so we could work this out.
It didn’t matter that my husband spent most of the time avoiding the deeper questions and refused to let his therapist speak to our couples’ therapist. I felt I was doing the right thing.
I could make it work.
I could turn this around.
So I called his parents and best friend, pleading with them to help convince him to stay. I then crawled under the pull-out couch and refused to come out until my husband said he loved me.
I stopped eating and locked myself in the bedroom. I canceled all our travel plans for the holidays so we could just be isolated at home together.
I even told the man I was having an affair with to never contact me again.
I could do this. Until our final couples therapy session, when instead of answering the question of why he wanted to leave the marriage, he just talked about how amazing his girlfriend was.
Each comment caused me to curl into the fetal position in agony. I had never felt so invisible in my life. He didn’t seem to see me shrink and break right beside him on the couch.
Nothing I was doing was working.
So, when we left the therapy office, I told my husband to go home and pack his bags.
I then hired our couples therapist as my own and went to the bookstore to buy a book on divorce.
And the first thing the therapist said to me was, “You must be exhausted.”
And something within me broke.
A dam that had been built for years holding my life together. Holding a lot of lies together.
The lie that we were happy.
The lie that we both wanted to have children and create a family.
The lie that we both wanted to grow as a couple.
And the biggest lie of all—that it was my job alone to make this marriage work.
We were both such great actors in this marriage. I had always thought he was a better actor than me, but I suddenly realized my talent was far more advanced.
Sitting on my therapist’s couch, I wept. I wept in the way that I had needed to for years. I acknowledged that I had been the driving force in our marriage.
I had been the cheerleader, the motivator, and had done everything I could to ignore the fact that I wasn’t happy, and hadn’t been for a long time.
I allowed the dam to break and the water to flow finally.
I asked for help.
I stopped trying to control my marriage and let it fall apart.
The waves took me, shooting water up my nostrils and tossing me upside down. My whole body was submerged in the grief that I couldn’t stop.
I had to accept this was out of my control.
And then, when I was washed up on the shore, with my face down in the sand, my mouth opened and I took a breath.
And an image came forth.
An image of a family.
An image of a loving partner holding our child.
An image of all of us smiling with ease.
And slowly, with great care, I lifted myself up and wrapped my arms around myself with love.
A love that had been missing in my marriage.
And I vowed to heal from my divorce and learn what it meant to be in a healthy relationship where I wasn’t trying to control everything.
The following year when Halloween arrived, I went to the store and saw a pair of white wings. I borrowed red clothes from some friends and dressed up as something entirely new.
Placing the wings on my back, I felt my shoulders relax.
I was navigating the single scene for the first time in my life and was practicing something very radical for me.
Those wings were thrown away a few years later when I moved in with my fiancé, and replaced with red wings I wore the Halloween before we adopted our daughter.
“The way of love is not a subtle argument. The door there is devastation.”
That moment of being on your knees, of feeling like your heart is literally tearing apart in your chest, can actually be a portal to the life you have always desired.
Simply because, when our hearts are broken, we soften.
We become deeply vulnerable, and our guard comes down.
We may rail to the heavens shaking our fist and exclaiming, “This is NOT what I want!”
And in that moment, we can suddenly see what we DO want.
Because the situation we are in is so painful, there is actually this radical moment of honesty that can arise that wouldn’t have if we were still in the relationship.
Especially since when we are in relationships, we are usually spending all of our energy on staying in it.
But when it is slipping through our fingers and there is nothing we can do…then the real magic begins.
While going through a divorce after fifteen years of marriage was excruciating, it did light the fire within me for what I wanted more than anything, which was to create a family.
Because of that heartbreak, I gave my full energy to healing from the divorce so I could call in a very different man and marriage that would support a family.
The truth was, I was not living my dream life in my first marriage. I was just trying to make it work every day, and completely blind to the truth of my relationship.
Going through heartbreak can help you see the truth.
And finally learn that you are capable of creating what you most desire.
About Nikol Rogers
Nikol Rogers is a confidence coach and spiritual teacher who helps people change the world and create an impact with their perfect audience. Her premiere book, 13: One Woman’s Sacred Journey To Discovering Her Greatest Poweris a sacred invitation and auspicious calling to your heart to finally have the life you have always desired. This book will help you create a whole new beginning. Connect with her at NikolRogers.com and on IG @Nikol_Rogers.