These days, divorce is no longer uncommon, but this man’s divorce is anything but normal. What began as a strange request ended in a surprise. If you read to the end of this story, you’ll be sure to learn something about the thing we call love. But warning: Grab your tissues!
One day I came home, handed my wife her dinner, took her hand and said, “I want a divorce.” She didn’t seem the least bit upset, but calmly asked why. My answer was evasive, and that made her angry. She let her dinner plate fall and screamed, “You’re not a real man!” We didn’t speak at all that night. She cried. I knew she was searching for a reason for our failed marriage, but I couldn’t give her it: She’d lost me to Jane. I didn’t love her anymore. I just felt sorry for her!
I guiltily showed her the divorce papers, leaving her the house, car, and a 30% stake in my company. She looked angry and tore the papers apart. The woman with whom I’d spent 10 years of my life, was a stranger. I was sorry that she’d invested so much time, strength, and resources in our marriage, but I couldn’t take back what I’d said or felt. Finally, she broke down in tears, the reaction I had expected from the beginning – suddenly the divorce felt more real.
When I came home late from work the next day, she was sitting at the table writing. I didn’t have anything to eat, just went straight to bed and fell asleep.
The next morning she told me her terms for our divorce: She didn’t demand anything from me, but asked that I spend the next month living side-by-side with her like normal. Her reason: Our son had important exams coming up in one month and she didn’t want to burden him with the divorce before that.
She also asked that I think back to our wedding day and how I carried her over the threshold to our house and into our bedroom. From now on, every morning for one month, I was to carry her out of our bedroom. I thought she was crazy, but to make our last days together more bearable, I agreed.
On day 1, we were both a bit clumsy when I carried her out, but our son clapped and sang, “Dad’s carrying Mom in his arms!” His words released a wave of pain within me. I carried her out of the bedroom, through the living room, and then to the front door. She closed her eyes and said in a soft voice, “Don’t tell our son a thing about the divorce.” I nodded and set her down outside in front of the door.
On day 2, we had already improved. She nestled herself into my chest and I could smell the scent from her shirt. I became aware that it had been a long time since I had consciously looked at my wife. Her face had fine wrinkles and her hair was slowly turning grey. Our marriage had left its marks on her. For a moment I asked myself what I’d done to her.
When I lifted her into my arms on day 3, I felt a flash of intimacy return: This was the woman that had gifted me 10 years of her life. On day 4 and 5 I could feel that intimacy even stronger. As the month went on, it got easier and easier to carry her, and I suddenly realized she was getting thinner.
One morning it hit me that she must be carrying so much pain and bitterness towards me. Without thinking, I brushed my hand over her head. In that moment, our son came in and said, “Dad, it’s time to carry Mom out!” It had become a morning ritual for him that his dad would carry his mom out of the house. My wife grabbed him and held him to her chest. I turned away, because I was afraid it would change things. I lifted her into my arms and her hands instinctively wrapped around my neck. I held her tight – just like on our wedding day.