Why I stayed. It's a question that's difficult to answer, though I think the question misses the point, because I didn't stay. I left. The more accurate question would be why did I come back? It's not a decision that would gather much respect from the world if they knew our story. In fact, I would even think a woman in my shoes would be a little crazy to go back. But here I am.
The difference is that I'm not back where I started. We are in an entirely different place now. I see things in him that never were; peace, joy, empathy. He now has the ability to love--something he never knew how to do before. I see things in me that never were: the ability to stand and protect myself while facing things head on instead of ignoring the offense as a way to cope.
I describe the place that I was in during our time separated as me being in a boat. The boat is sitting in the middle of a huge lake and you can see mountains in the distance. You're all alone, and you have a paddle, but it's lying still in the bottom of the boat. You aren't sure of which direction you want to go, so you just sit and feel the rocking back and forth as the wind moves the water, allowing the boat to take you and eventually place you on whichever shore it happens to. I didn't need to make a decision at that time about whether or not to file for a divorce. I just needed a safe place to heal at that point, and to know I had the control to pick up that paddle if I chose to do so.
The reason I came back has two elements and is very simple when broken down:
My decision was first and primarily based upon his change. Without fully knowing that change happened and without the wisdom from outside professionals that yes, this was a true change, there was no going back. Simple.The secondary factor is one of these two things (and which one it currently is just depends on the day for me):
a. I have two beautiful children. For their sake, I need to exhaust every possibility to have a healthy, good marriage between their mother and father. Until I have done everything within my power to give that to them, I will have not done enough.
b. We are good for each other. Problems aside, when it comes right down to the framework, I married the right man. If we can have a good and healthy marriage, we will be able to accomplish more in life, for God, and be more self fulfilled by being together. When unified in a healthy manner, we are stronger together than we are separate.
I was never looking to or trying to go back after I left. I just was still, focusing on getting my own healing, and allowing God and life to move me to the next place. That's all. It's not complicated. This is just where I landed.