My phone buzzed in my pocket just as I was handing out a round of coffees at a team meeting. It’s a text message from a friend and it’s not good news: his wife has moved out and gone to live with her mother. I’ve known this couple for several years, and I didn’t have any inkling that they might be having even a few troubles, let alone serious ones. It’s a total shock and I’m very sad to hear what has happened.
I met my friend, the husband, later that week. He was a broken man; full of regret, contrition, and all of a sudden feeling totally alone. And more than that, he was embarrassed – ashamed that deep down he’d known his marriage was drifting in the wrong direction but that he’d been too complacent and, perhaps, apathetic, to halt it. “I just didn’t think it would ever get to this point,” he told me. “I thought it would sort itself out.”
That was a little while back, and I’m pleased to say that over the last twelve months this couple have begun to turn things around. They’re back together and are starting to re-forge the connection and intimacy between them. It has been, and continues to be, a tough slog at times, but they are fighting to stay together, plugging away at it bit by bit.
They’re sticking together because, when all is said and done, they don’t want their marriage to end. They care about it; they really, deeply care. It reminds me of the words of Elie Wiesel: “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”