Jul 05, 2008
Last week we received the news that our long-time friends and former neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. T-, decided to separate. Actually, it was the Mrs. who decided it was time to leave the family castle. Their son is finally home safe from his second and final tour in Iraq, and their daughter was recently married and moved out of state. The irony of Mrs. T-'s choice of Indepence Day for her move out date is stunning.
While the cracks in their relationship have been visible off and on for some time, I never quite believed that two people in their mid-fifties who had survived raising children and paying off the mortages and all the other mundane necessities of marriage would actually split the sheets. They've been together since high school, so why blow it apart now when they can finally relax and have some time to themselves?
I've said often enough that the only two people in a marriage who know the truth of that marriage are the respective spouses. Nobody else on the planet can really know what a relationship is by outside observation. In this case,the motivation is particularly elusive. They're both good, solid people. So what in the world happened?
We invited Mr. T- to come over for the day yesterday thinking he probably wouldn't want to hang around while his home was torn apart with his wife's move. It's not often that I've seen a grown man cry, and Mr. T- ripped my heart out and left it in bloody strings. Bless his heart, he tried to put on the strong front in front of the guys, but at one point he sought out a private moment with me to talk. Next thing you know, his head is on the table and he's sobbing his heart out. I hope I was able to say something right and give him some momentary comfort, but I sense many months of tears are before him.
Anyone who knows this man understands that his entire adult life has been about his wife and family. He has done, and will do anything necessary for their happiness - even at the expense of his own. That's what makes this split so awful: neither party has done anything wrong, but something went awry and they can't figure out how to fix it.
I hope and pray that this separation will give them both time to think. Mrs. T- herself can't explain why she had to leave. If she could at least give Mr. T- a reason it would be a bit easier to take, but there isn't one. There isn't another man. They've got financial security. There's no drug or alcohol issues. So what gives? If two people ever deserved happiness, it's these two. God help them both.