You get married. You're madly in love. You just know it will be forever.
And then, sometimes, little cracks start appearing in the framework. They appear over time, so that you don't often notice the onset.
At first, it's the little things...
When you see the first ones, it's kind of like seeing veins that appear as you age. At first it is a little scary, then you tell yourself: "Well, that's just part of life."
And then those cracks started spreading.
How did this happen? I asked myself a thousand times. How had I found myself in such a place?
How did I go from looking forward to his walking in the door, to feeling something akin to fear as soon as I heard the creaking of that garage door going up?
It is the little things.
It starts with a bad name being thrown out. And you excuse that as his being tired from working such long hours.
So he takes weekend trips by himself to decompress.
Then one day you dare to open one of his credit card bills. And your world starts spinning.
Charges while he was out of town. To clothing stores for women.
You pick up the phone and call one of them. And ask what you purchased, as though you're having a problem understanding the charges on the bill.
"Remember, that pretty dress...and a jacket..."
And you thank the salesperson for their trouble. You apologize. You must have forgotten.
Except you never bought a dress or a jacket.
It's the little things...
Over time, those little things become one big thing. And suddenly it's crushing down on you like a boulder.
You find there's not much to talk about anymore. When you go out to lunch, each of you stare over the other's shoulder into space.
This is not wedded bliss. Not when you feel the need to rush outside just as he's walking through the door.
No more: "How was your day?" said in passing.
You don't want to know anymore. Because you know most of what he says will be lies.
And the cracks in the framework widen until you worry you might just fall in and not be able to ever climb back out.
I want you to know that those little things are really big things from day one. You just can't bear to admit it.
It's called "denial."
One of the steps in grieving a loss.
So my advice to you, or your daughter or sister or friend, is: You may think it is you. At first it's easier to blame yourself.
But when that first "little thing" happens; whether it's a name you're called or a sudden shove that comes out of nowhere, get real and start making a plan.
Don't spend years telling yourself: It will be okay. He was just irritable. He didn't mean it. It will get better.
It. Will. Not.
If you're in that situation, I can promise you right now that it will never reverse its direction and go toward "better." It will only barrel like a freight train toward "worse."
I'm sure you once felt such pity for women in this type of situation. What is wrong with them? How could they choose such a man?
I did it too.
But what you don't understand is that their charm is so dazzlingly bright that they are way ahead of you.
When that little voice inside all of us begins to softly murmur, you think it is just insecurity on your part.
They somehow make you feel like the most special woman in the world. You feel like you've wandered into a fairy tale.
And you have.
But one day you will look in the mirror. And that woman that you used to pity?