When my husband of almost four years asked me if I thought we should divorce, I opened my laptop, started a list and tried to get to the bottom of things. Did we still love each other? Did we still want the same things? Why were we so unhappy lately?
In situations like these, I was usually the hysterical one. I had severe PMDD, and was always asking myself, about once a month, what we were doing together. We'd shout. I'd cry. And in the midst of things, unexpectedly, he'd make me laugh, despite the tears pooling in my collarbone, the twisted, damp tissue clutched in my hand. We'd move on.
Now that he was calling my bluff, I suppose I felt that it was my turn to be the rational one.
We had been more like roommates than romantic partners lately, two ships passing in the night, so I looked at my list and typed "weekly date nights." I added items like "schedule sex" and "try hanging out with Michael's friends more." I wrote "contact shrink." I assigned the both of us homework. I Was A Lonely Newlywed...
The next week, we typed up love lists for each other, and read them out loud. I mentioned his cleft chin and his well-defined arms. I mentioned his willingness to try anything with me… no matter how odd. I mentioned the way he smelled and the way he made me feel safe and the way he managed my crazy.
He told me that he loved how comfortable we were around each other. He admired my talent and passion. He liked that we had the same values, and that we were both cat people. "You had me write a love list," he wrote, "and it makes me love you more."
For several weeks, things felt good. Then we backslid and I took off my ring, because I was tired of having the same fight over and over again.
We didn't talk things out.