Dec 1 2005 my husband went to prison- 4 year sentence- and we have a "truth in sentence" law in our state.. no chance for early release. I had been with my husband for 13 years at the time of his sentencing (married for 6 of them). I had to put my feelings aside and deal with the affect and feelings for my 6 year old son, 2 year old daughter and 16 year old step daughter (his daughter). I remember leaving the court room that day- thinking "How the hell am I going to do this alone for the next 4 years".. "How do I tell the kids when i pick them up from daycare that Daddy just won't be home for 4 years"... " how do I explain to a 16 year old that her Dad won't be there when she gets her drivers license.. or graduate from school.. How am I going to take care of the house alone- pay the bills, etc!! What do I tell my parents?? My mind was racing... Why me?? Why did God lead me to this point in my life? I have never really broken the rules. I always thought I was a pretty good person- never had a run in with law-- always got good grades, went to college, got a good job, married, bought a house had kids... did everything in perfect order.. What did I do to deserve this???
My husband and I got along well. We never really argued much. We seemingly had a good marriage. Or so I thought. In hindsight-- I know now why God sent him away. This has been a learning process for both of us. I learned that I was WAY too passive. I turned my cheek the other way much too often. My husband had a drinking problem and went out 3,4 sometimes 5 nights a week... Leaving me to take care of the kids. But I never said anything to him about it. I just let him basically do what he wanted (which only led him into the activity that got him where he is...selling drugs). i always had the attitude of "He's a grown man and will do what he wants-- arguing isn't going to make him change-- he's gotta want to do it on his own". Truth is-- I was content with him NOT being home. If he wasn't drinking he was either crabby or hungover. He wasn't abusive or anything like that-- just no fun to be around. I would pray often that God would make him have some epiphany on his own and quit drinking... Hmmm... the phrase "Careful what you wish for" became all too familiar.
In hindsight-- I realize that I had a crappy marriage. But at the time, I thought things were fine. It took this "break" for me to realize that I needed to be a stronger person for my family. I needed to speak up and set some rules and not get walked all over. I needed to stand up for my children and say "NO you're NOT going out again.. your going to stay home and spend some time with your children!" But I didn't.
This break has also saved my husband. He probably would have been dead messing around with the "thug" life. Its no life for a family man. He had to be taken away from his family-- for him to realize what he's been missing. God answered my prayers alright... not just in how I thought it would come to be. I guess it was the only way for God to get him away from alchohal and his crooked night life. Sometimes when you don't listen to God-- he just straight up has to knock you upside the head.. which is what had to be done in my husband's case.
I have been completely faithful to my husband so far (and don't have intent not to be). While I went through my stage of being angry for putting his wife and kids in such a struggle-- I'm over that stage. I'm just ready to start over and rebuild our relationships. In the beginning I wasn't sure if I should have stayed. I didn't know if God was knocking ME upside the head saying "go on girl.... I'm giving you a chance... run!" But I know God has a way of leading you where you are supposed to be. If I am to be with someone else-- I would have met that person. Since 3 years into the gig I haven't-- I'm sticking around. Only a little over a year to go. The time really does go fast.
During my visits with my husband we do a lot of talking and growing. We talk more now than we ever have in our 15 years together. We've learned so much about each other. Strange... been together all this time and we're first learning about the new people we are becoming through all of this. The kids also visit every month- its important for them to still maintain their relationship with their father-- inmate or not.
My husband says that he just wants to focus on being a good Dad and husband when he gets out. While I know its easy to talk that way when you're locked up-- At this point I've invested 15 years into this relationship (and over 9 of them in marriage)-- we have a family. I pray that when he gets out-- we'll have the happy ending I know I deserve. If I didn't at least give it that chance-- then I would never know. BUT if it doesn't-- I know in my heart that I have given it 100%.
For anyone else going through something like this-- there's a few things that I've always kept in my mind: 1) If God brought you to it, He'll bring you through it and 2) whenever life brings you a challenge like this, you really have just two choices: you either let it bring you down or use it to make you stronger. I chose the latter.
All the best...