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  • dan1852

A Wife Determined For More

Desperate to know what was causing my deep pain. Searching for answers and appealing for change. Grieving loss after loss but striving to accept the relational difficulties. Enduring pain of uncertainty and expectantly waiting. Committed to purposeful growth despite the outcome.

 

I was that wife.

 

My story began in 1997 when I met my husband, Kevin. We each brought to the dating, engagement, and marriage a myriad of differences. Differences we would much later recognize in clear vision. Our start was rocky, yet we saw something in each other that we loved.

 

Despite some warning flags, I believed that Kevin had a faithful & trustworthy heart to commit to us. In some areas he did. In others, he didn’t know himself as well as he thought.

 

A short 3 years into marriage, Kevin asked for a divorce, for no good reason in my perspective. He said “I just can’t do this. I am not equipped to be a husband.” Just like that, he was done. With an 8 month old baby boy at home, a new little house in a cul-da-sac and a new spunky Labrador puppy, his solution was to leave on a whim—though distraught and overwhelmed.

 

Fast forward, 3 years later, after much personal growth and insight into himself—divorce having been finalized years prior—he wrote me a letter asking for another opportunity to be together. Can you imagine my response? Part of me was screaming “absolutely not, you already had a chance”, while another part of me wondered what this was all about. I had grown. I had healed and I had forgiven him. I had been through the toughest moment of my life, gained perseverance and strength, and now had Jesus by my side for the first time in my life, personally.

 

I felt cautious and anticipatory. I turned my eyes to Jesus to guide me. My thoughts alone got me all tangled up. My body gave me all sorts of mixed signals from trembling hands to a peaceful heart. Jesus led me each day. Kevin and I got to know each other again. We made commitments and had hard conversations. It all seemed different this time.

 

And it was for a while.

 

It was renewed and our family grew to a party of five. We had two tender-hearted boys and a precious baby girl. Life was good. And then another wave of tragic came our way. Kevin lost sight of his faithfulness to me and us and this time stepped out of our marriage and struggled with infidelity that became an addiction that he too couldn’t stop even with his convictions and attempts.

 

Devastation hit!

 

I was absolutely crushed—most days barely finding breath. Doing my best to take care of my precious babies, now 7, 4 and 2. This time I could leave. Biblically I had a clear out. Yet I knew first I needed healing and support. And I knew Kevin had some tough decisions to make and my needs were for him to find help immediately. He desired our family despite these horrendous behaviors. He was willing to get help and that was an absolute for me. There was no negotiating. I honored myself and focused on my healing, care for the kids and observed for a full year before I committed to stay in the marriage. We separated in-house for an extended period of time.

 

Phew, let’s all take a deep breath.

 

Each time I write my story, the short version or the long version, I can feel it. I can feel it for what I endured, and I can feel it for those that are or will endure anything similar. I wish intimate betrayal wasn’t even a possibility. It’s lonely. It’s isolating and there are not many people to talk to. Others don’t often know what to say, and sometimes they downright don’t want to hear it as it’s uncomfortable for them. But there is help & though I did a bit DIY (do-it-yourself) style, I found healing and I found hope. 

 

That was nearly 15 years ago now.

 

Fifteen years is a long time and a lot of repair and restoration that took years. We are still together. Kevin chose to do the recovery work. He has remained faithful and knew the outcome if the behavior happened again. I would have chosen differently for our future, and I will still choose that today if we have a breach of sexual integrity. Lack of faithfulness is not an option with our previous history. By God’s grace far beyond my own strength, I wept and grieved and never stopped fighting for what I believed was possible for me and for us.

 

Fifteen years was not always filled with repair and restoration. It has many moments of emotional neglect, crying out for attention, and standing up for being treated with respect. Many professionals, therapeutic intensives, and groups later, we had high moments and low moments. Of course, all couples do. But ours always felt so different.

 

And it was.

 

At the age of 50, Kevin still struggled with regulation of his emotions, still had linear black and white thinking, gave way to negativism, couldn’t quite put himself in my shoes, focused on the “right-way” even when there wasn’t a right-way, and took hours and sometimes days to find ways to connect after seemingly small relational ruptures. We were baffled.

 

Until …

 

He pulled what I called a ‘stunt’ that created a meltdown and cascade of self-protection behaviors that abandoned me emotionally and physically. He could not see beyond himself and his perspective. This is when we both knew there was something more. Kevin had autism.

 

Through a series of podcasts, medical white-paper research, self-assessments and professional evaluation, it was clear that we had neurodiversity in our relationship from day one. What could have looked so different came into clear view in 2022, almost to the day of our first wedding anniversary. Both with tear filled eyes, we welcomed this diagnosis. We grieved yet another part of our story, AND we welcomed this new reality that would help us know differently.


These are some of the things we’ve noticed in our marriage through the years that helped us see we needed to view our relationship through a neurodiverse lens:

~      When communication continued to feel like we were speaking two different languages.

~      When other professionals had given diagnoses that just didn’t seem to fit.

~      When not just one but many or most areas of relating felt so different (social interactions, sensory sensitivities, processing speeds, intimacy needs, cognitive flexibilities, etc.)

~      When we often felt disconnected, misunderstood, confused, and unknown.

~      When we were genuinely willing, open, and honest but still missed each other.

Kevin and I have often said that this was not the story we would have written or remotely desired, yet because we have confidence that God permitted it, we will do our very best to use it for good. We will seek to honor where we are now.


This is a short synopsis of my story—hard to put down in a few words—that is soon ready to be shared in a real and raw memoir of twenty-five years of striving and remaining willing to find faith-filled hope in Jesus forged by painfully compounded losses.


Our story is still in the making, one step, one challenge, one victory at a time. And I leave you with this ....

God’s not done with your story either!

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Launch April 30th, 2024!!  Determined For More can be found at: www.livingstonescoaching.com/book and directly on amazon.com


DETERMINED FOR MORE

A Story of Perseverance Through Divorce, Betrayal Trauma, Emotional Deprivation and Autism.

What’s In This Book:

§  Hope and purposeful growth despite marital difficulties.

§  Trust rebuilt and safety restored through infidelity and sexual betrayal.

§  Boundaries and self-care amidst destructive behaviors.

§  Diagnosis of ASD1 (Autism Spectrum Disorder) in adulthood.

§  Neurodiverse strategies for connection & communication.

 

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