It was incredibly sad. The worst part about it, for me, is that I really, truly felt like he was going against his gut. I knew he loved her. I know he had loved her for YEARS and that they had issues, especially because they are really as different as night and day. But it just felt so WRONG that they'd end up getting divorced, because I knew they cared about one another. Even after he asked for a divorce, I still felt like something was going to change. I'm not all that good at remembering to pray, but I would often feel an urge to pray, ardently, for their marriage, and for R in particular. I knew he was going through a lot of stuff. I met up with him after he asked for the divorce, so I could see where he was coming from; although I understood, to some extent, why he thought they wouldn't work out, it still felt like he was convincing himself of something. Like he didn't totally believe it. I didn't want to argue with him or play devil's advocate; I really tried to just listen to him and bring up different ideas. In the end, it seemed like he was pretty intent on going his own way. When I spoke to M about it, she still hated the idea of divorce, and mentioned that if he sent her the divorce papers, she wasn't entirely sure that she could sign them. After all he had put her through, she still loved him.
Fast forward about two months. It's fall, and M has gotten a bit more used to the idea of them divorcing; she started the school year (she's a teacher) and had pretty much decided this would be her last year teaching at that school, and her last year in Illinois. She wanted to try somewhere else, wanted to move and have new experiences. I thought this was a great idea. She mentioned wanting to move here to Jackson, but her soon-to-be ex-husband lived her, and she wouldn't be able to see him or know he was around, it would just hurt too much. We talked a lot about it, and I told her that I was still praying for them.
Then R called M one day. She didn't pick up, even when he called a couple more times. Finally she spoke with him, and he didn't bring up the idea of divorce, or that they didn't have a future. Instead, he just wanted to talk. This started to be a weekly thing, where he would call on Saturdays. One night he asked "do you miss talking during the week?" and "do you ever feel like you want to call ME, instead of me calling you?"
It was weird.
She wasn't at all sure what to think, but I told her to just see what happens. More and more R started talking about 'them' as if they were still a couple. After weeks of this he sort of mentioned that he didn't think divorce was really the answer. Not long after that, M's mom was diagnosed with cancer. R started calling more and more. He decided that he and a friend were moving from Jackson to Denver, so he could be closer to a main airport, and may be able to visit M a bit more. It was sort of a weird move. I visited the store R worked at before he left and had a good talk. It was only supposed to be a goodbye, since I didn't know the next time I'd see him. I also wanted to get an idea of what was going on with him and M from his point of view. We talked for about twenty minutes about random things: college, books, my new Kindle, life in Jackson. Then I said "soooooooo" and he immediately laughed and said "yeah, about me and M..." and then "she's super pretty, isn't she?" Of course she is! And fabulous and kind and compassionate and forgiving. He agreed. Then he said he really wanted to give their marriage another try. I was very happy to hear that, and happy to see him acting more and more like his old self.
He was in Denver for about two weeks when M called him, upset about her mom, who had started chemo. He asked, "Do you need me to be with you in Chicago?" and she said yes. He moved to Chicago less than two weeks after that.
M and I have kept in close contact, and it's been hard for her to trust R again, not knowing if he's going to flake out. R has really been trying though, which has been just amazing to see. During one of their talks, he told her, "You're my family. I left my family, and I just sort of started to realize what that means." I really feel like God is answering my prayers for them, and that He is accomplishing the things that I prayed for them; over and over I prayed for redemption, reconciliation, harmony, and unity in their marriage. Over and over those words came to the forefront.
They're still not perfect. They have a LOT of work and counseling ahead of them. But last weekend they moved out of their parents' homes and into an apartment together. This will be the first time in over a year that they've been together long-term, and it's just really exciting. They're talking about their future, about what they need to work on, and about their relationship. I am just so happy and blessed by this reconciliation. I knew that God had more in store for them. I know it's going to be hard since they are SO different, in so many ways. They have different religious beliefs, different wants and dreams and philosophies, but they love each other. And they're going to try to make it work.
I'm sending them a little housewarming gift. This is one of the things I'm sending:
I thought it turned out pretty cute! I tried to distress the frame, and I thought the design would be a nice reminder that marriage = family, and home is wherever your family is... or something like that.
All in all, I'm just very pleased about the whole thing. :-)