Monday, June 27, 2016

Forgiveness: Rebuilding a Family

Forgiveness


Most people who know me know that I have been divorced from my children’s father for about five years now. Most who know me also know that we have been back together, working on picking up the pieces, for the last two.  And the truth is, sometimes I don’t know which is harder.

It would be easy to say that infidelity tore my family apart. That’s the obvious answer. But it’s the not-so-obvious things that probably started the tear. Nothing big or unique, but small rocks being thrown at our glass house. Ask any married woman and, if they’re honest, they will tell you that raising a family, being a wife, working and continuing to be the woman their husband fell in love with is nearly impossible.

In my case, we had three children under the age of six. All of my time was spent taking care of them. Not complaining. That’s what I’m supposed to do. I’m a parent and chose to have each one of them. Well, the last one may have been the result of a little too much wine and not enough hobbies, but loved and wanted nonetheless.

The Jackson trio
Looking back, there was a lot going on. Who has time to be crazy, sexy, cool? The attire of the day, or everyday for that matter, was sweat pants? And if they were clean, it was a really good day. I had one nursing, one still on the bottle and I usually couldn’t find the other one. Needless to say, it wasn’t a glamorous time in the Jackson household. There wasn’t time for anything, especially my spouse.


I know what you’re thinking…. that I’m making an excuse for my ex’s bad behavior.  I’m not. I still think he was an idiot and, most days, he would agree. But that doesn’t detract from the truth. We didn’t spend the time needed to nurture our relationship. I didn’t spend the time needed to nurture him.

When we first separated and subsequently divorced, things were pretty rocky. There was a lot of crying, cussing and arguing. Every time we got together, the tension could have killed an elephant. But after the initial pain subsided, we both decided that we wanted our kids to grow up with both of their parents…mainly because we didn’t. Both of us were raised by family members, not our parents, and neither of our fathers were integral parts of our lives. It was important to us that our kids had a relationship with both of us.

That led to us indirectly spending a lot of time together at their various functions. I think I saw more of him then, being divorced, than I did when we were married. The familiarity of our relationship and the demise of his “extracurricular activities” got the better of us. He said he wanted to work it out. I told him to take a lap. He persisted.

So, we decided to fight for it. I use the term fight because that’s what it is. Every day, we make a conscious decision to fight off the doubt, the naysayers, and the not-so-fond memories to make things work for our family.

The gang's all here. Back
together again
And why not? Isn’t family worth fighting for? We have no trouble fighting for a promotion. Hell, some of us will fight anyone who cracks a mean “yo-mama” joke. Why is there so much scorn and judgment for people wanting to save their families…especially in the face of infidelity? Wouldn’t you work to save an investment? We’ve invested years in this relationship, building a family and a life together. After going back and forth with others and with myself, I came to realize that I wanted this. Despite what it looked like to others, I wanted my family to work. That began with forgiveness. 

I’m not going lie. Forgiveness is hard, on both of our parts… me forgiving him and him forgiving himself. He’s had to not only reconcile with me, but with everyone he’s hurt and disappointed. It can’t feel good, but he’s doing it for us. We’re doing it for us.

There are days when we both say that quitting and going our separate ways would be so much easier. Yet, reconciliation is where the real reward lies. Working to restore a marriage should never be considered a waste of time. It’s to be applauded. Anyone can run. It takes real strength and courage to fight for your family… even if it’s against seemingly impossible odds.

23 comments:

  1. Ignore the naysayers. We see the adverse impact of failed marriages on children constantly. Keep working at it and wishing you all the best.

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  2. Love this, LaQuenda. Cheering for the Jackson family to make it to the finish line!! Think about what you and Stoney are showing your children about running a race. It's not given to the swift, endurance matters, if you fall behind or stumble, get up and keep going. Keep running. Walk if you can't run. Crawl if you can't walk. Just keep going forward!! Bridget

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  3. This is beautiful. You're an inspiration. Truly. Miss you!!

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  4. LaQ! This is amazing! So honest and real and inspiring and well-spoken. Keep writing - you have such an important voice!

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    1. Hey Jules! Thanks so much for the feedback. Hope you and yours are doing well.

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  5. Hey lady Jackson. I too went through something similar the only difference is that we didn't separate. We too decided to fight. We are in counseling at Trinity church and the reward is far above anything that we could have asked for. God is truly a restorer and a keeper. I will keep you all lifted up. I'm so happy for you all. Forget the naysayers.. they are not living your lives. Keep fighting smiling laughing and loving. God bless your family. I love this!!!

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  6. Love it! Love it! Love it! We choose to love and you are making the right choice. Don't worry about the naysayers. Some people are just so negative because they lack the heart and willingness to forgive, the compassion to understand we are all humans and make mistakes, and most importantly they forget that we disappoint God everyday through our actions and in his unconditional love, his forgiveness is unlimited. I applaud you. Heck I stand up and give you a standing ovation. We have to keep fighting to show our kids how to not give up and keep fighting. Like the old song says "Nobody told me that the road would be easy, but I don't believe he (God) brought me this far to leave me.)

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  7. I applaud you and your ex husband for fighting for your family. Infidelity does not have to mean the end....Many blessings to you

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  8. Your willingness to be vulnerable is heroic. Your story will doubtless benefit others. I agree with the other commenters; I too am cheering for the Jackson family. If we are honest, we all walk with a limp. And we just have to keep walking toward the finish line.

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  9. Your willingness to be vulnerable is heroic. Your story will doubtless benefit others. I agree with the other commenters; I too am cheering for the Jackson family. If we are honest, we all walk with a limp. And we just have to keep walking toward the finish line.

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  10. Rooting for you both! Thanks for sharing your story. It really is much easier to run away and hide, especially when our private lives are so public these days with social media, etc. The courage you both are showing is admirable even though the events that led to the situation were not. You are setting an example for so many that marriage and family are worth fighting for. Some people just don't get that. I'm glad you do.

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  11. God does and/or allows things for a reason! God fights your battles, arranges things so you are found in the right places and at the right times. I'm so happy for the Jackson.

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  12. It's very hard to forgive for me. Was stay at home dad and infidelity was reason for separating. I knew it all along though. She never had time for me and we'd argue. I asked later on if somethings going on then tell me. Nope but it came to light. Forgiving her is something that I can't do right now.

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    1. It was very hard for me too. We ended up divorcing. But once the dust settled and I wasn't making decisions based on emotions, I saw things differently. Believe me, this journey is different for everyone. It might not end in reconciliation for you, and that's fine. But give it some time. Let the smoke clear. Very few mistakes are made when you take things slowly. #wishingIhadtakenmyownadvice

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  13. No one says it's easy. Believe me it takes time. Just know in your heart that we all have made mistakes that have hurt others. Forgiveness is not for them it's truly for you.. It opens new paths to a more fulfilled life.

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  14. Thanks for sharing your heart! Keep up the good work. It was my privilege to teach your oldest one and to witness the mutual admiration between father and son. I am proud of you for going on with your life when the going got rough and for fighting for God's covenant blessing for you and your husband--a lasting legacy, which is bearing fruit in your beautiful family. My parents were married for 57 years. That does not mean that the skies were always sunny in our household, but my parents made the same commitment you and Stoney did. They were raised without their fathers, and they wanted my brother and I to be raised with ours. There were plenty of tumultuous times...but somewhere it sort of smoothed out. Or, maybe I just went off to college! In either case, they stayed together. They worked through their conflicts in their own way. They loved each other. They loved their children together. They supported us in everything we did. They did not agree on everything, but they created the family they wanted to have. One that I am glad to be a part of. They showed my brother Al and I that people can work out their differences in love. You and Stoney give your children tools to work out life problems when you show them that you don't give up when life is not easy. That's one of the most valuable lessons of all. May God continue to bless and keep you all.

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