Luckily, my husband is so loving and accepting of everything I am feeling in the aftermath of our loss. And I can see how during a dark time, love and light can shine through even more, if you let it.
My experience is the reason I fully connected with a recent post by mom-of-three Harmony Hobbs about the five stages of love in a marriage. In the now-viral Facebook post, Hobbs, who blogs on the page Modern Mommy Madness, starts by sharing a photo of herself and her husband Robbie early in their relationship.
"I read something recently that said there are 5 stages of love," she writes. "First there is the exciting, falling in love stage; that's when this photo was taken. I'd never met a man like him and we couldn't get enough of each other."
She goes on to write, "The second stage is becoming a couple and building a real life together, which we've been doing for the past 12 years. It's a lot of work. SO MUCH WORK. At one point, I was fairly certain I was going to die of sleep deprivation. I had thoughts of smothering Robbie in his sleep. We loved each other, but ... you know. We also hated each other sometimes."
Um, raises hand at how relatable that sentiment is!
"Which leads me to stage 3: DISILLUSIONMENT," Hobbs continues. "Most people get stuck here, because disillusionment really freaking sucks. We see each other for what we really are, and it's hard to remember why we fell in love. Everything is a struggle, and life has worn us out to the point that any kind of work beyond immediate survival feels like an overwhelming task. Date night?! BITCH, PLEASE."
She says of stage 3, "It's a dark time." She also told Parents.com in an email about couples who find themselves here, "My advice is to look at YOURSELF and see how you can change or improve your own behavior. For the longest time I thought my difficulties were because I was surrounded by difficult people. WRONG! The real problem was me and my attitude, as well as the fact that I am high-functioning alcoholic. Getting into recovery was the best thing I've done."
The mom of kids ages 8, 5, and 4 continues in her post, "If you hang in there, stage 4 is about creating real, lasting partnership. It's finding the kind of true love and acceptance that comes with breaking down to your worst in front of another person, and HE DOESN'T RUN AWAY SCREAMING. Instead of rejecting the ugly parts of me, Robbie is helping me put myself back together again. He trusts that the new me will be even better than the old one, and that helps me to believe it, too."
Stage 5, she concludes, is about "using the power of two to change the world. We aren't there yet, but I look forward to it. I am so, so grateful that we picked each other."
She also tells us about the current status of her marriage, "Right this moment I feel gratitude towards my husband for his patience with me as I continue to work on my recovery from alcohol and prescription medication."
We applaud her honesty and feel grateful she shared this important post. I know it helped me as I navigate the most challenging days of my life I've ever faced, days that have truly put my marriage to the test. But we are determined to get through it, and enjoy brighter times ahead, even if we don't exactly change the world.