| This is the 548th story of Our Life Logs® |
My name is Melodie. I was born in 1983 in New Jersey, but my mother married a military man and we moved to Alaska, North Carolina, and Virginia in my youth. Besides the fact that my parents could not get along and separated by the time I was in high school, we made out well.
I always imagined myself in a loving relationship, even from a young age. By the time I was 21, I was heavily involved with a man named Reggie and we had two children together by the time I was 29. This relationship was full of childish outbursts of jealously and ended after 12 years of verbal, mental, and physical abuse. I finally found the strength to leave when our children were seven and one. I decided to start fresh and move to Nevada where I had a brother. I stayed about six months before getting my own place with my kids.
After moving out of my brother’s house, I struggled to work and find childcare. I decided to let my estranged father move in with me, which was a big help. He watched the children as I worked, and he even helped clean up around the house. We became extremely close for the first time and he encouraged me to date. Of course, I had my guard up because of everything I had already gone through. Still, my father insisted. It was so hard, but I took my father’s advice and began dating a man named Harvey.
My dad really liked him. He said that Harvey reminded him of his father (my grandfather). My children loved Harvey and even asked to call him dad after a while. My dad felt so secure with our union that he left and allowed Harvey to move in and be the man of the house. Everything happened so fast. We met in August and in March, we miraculously conceived twin boys. Harvey asked for my hand in marriage and my dad said yes. On February 17, 2018, we got married, and everything seemed like a dream. We even went on a honeymoon to Mexico and bought our first home together soon after that. I was a stay at home mother so that Harvey could continue to work without having to pay for daycare.
But life waits for no one.
My husband and me on our honeymoon!
A month after my wedding, my father was murdered. It was all so sudden, tragic, surreal. I began to feel depressed, as anyone would. But because he was murdered so soon after one of the happiest days of my life, I never allowed myself time to grieve. Consequently, I was shoving the bubbling feelings of post-partum anxiety and depression into the dark caverns of my soul in the hope that it would never surface. I continued to be a mother and a wife and willed myself to forget about my own healing. I was always there for everybody except for myself.
My father’s murder consumed me and a year after he was killed, I lost it. I had a mental breakdown.
It had been 365 days since my dad’s last breath and I was washing dishes like it was just another normal day. I tried to block out my husband’s violent video game while I dipped the dish sponge into the soapy water, but it was too loud. The video game was called Mortal Combat, which meant you fought till the death. My father had been beaten until he could no longer fight back, and all I could hear was my father’s voice crying out.
Any other day, this game would not have bothered me so much. But suddenly, I flipped my lid. “TURN THIS CRAP OFF!”
In astonishment, my husband told me to stop yelling and then he ignored my request. He then started complaining to me about the cookies I had purchased. That was it. I threw the dish I was holding right into the TV. And then another. Another. I threw every dish at that game until the sink was empty all while my poor husband ducked and ran for his life. Flying, shattered glass busted our television and when I tried to clean it, the glass cut my hand. Then my husband ran out of the house and I latched the door so he could not re-enter. This was cause for our neighbors to call the police as my husband banged on our front door. This was a nice neighborhood that was not used to domestic altercations. My husband decided to leave and when the police came, I was honest and told them I had broken the TV. I was arrested for Domestic Violence and spent the night in jail.
I still did not see the underlining issue and I blamed my husband. When I got out of jail, I did not return home. instead, I stayed at a friend’s house in the same area. This made my husband even madder because he would see me walk the children to school. He was so hurt that he filed for a divorce. When I was served with the papers, I was so pissed off that I signed them and turned them in the very next day. Neither of us really wanted a divorce, but our pride would not let us admit that.
For months, we would fight in court over the cars, the house, the kids, and the everything-under-the-sun. My husband was ordered to pay child support and give me a car. I moved in with a neighbor down the road and my husband hired babysitters every day so he could work. On the days that I would have the children, we would go all over the place, but we had to use the bus because my husband refused to give me a car even under judges’ orders. We even got CPS involved with each other accusing the other one of being an unfit parent. He called the police on me when I was late to drop off the children on his days, even though I was late from having to catch three buses in the Vegas summer heat. I called the police on him when he did not hold the baby’s hand as he crossed a busy street even though I knew he was also trying to get the stroller and the car seats out of the car. We both needed each other desperately, but resentment drowned our Love. We even told our court-appointed mediator that we would rather have mediation in separate rooms because that is how much we could not get along. He saw me on another dating site, and I saw him on the same dating site.
I could go on and on about how we did each other so wrong. You name it we did it. I made a public post on Facebook about him. He quit his job and put our home on the market without my signature. I went out to eat with another man and he went to Costa Rica to just “get away.” We both were out for blood and barely spoke to each other unless it was to insult.
So, you might be wondering, when did we get divorced? When did we finally put each other out of our misery? We did not. We are still married, and we are happily married. How did we survive this? How did we halt an out-for-blood divorce proceeding? I guess the real question is, how did we forgive each other?
When you marry somebody, the Love for that person is ingrained in the very essence of who you are. I believe that you are literally legally and spiritually bounded by the Law and the Lord. This fuzzy feeling that got us into this marriage situation in the first place does not just go away. Love is deeper than any other emotion. And that is what we had to learn. We had to realize that Love covers a multitude of sins. Love covers rage, grief, jealously, anger, resentment, and even depression.
We were forced to open our eyes to this lesson when my husband’s Uncle Kurt died, the man who had raised him. There was no room for wrath when Uncle Kurt passed. In the hurt, I longed for his love and he longed for mine.
Here I was, homeless and on a path for divorce by the hand of this man, and yet…I still felt sorry for him. His sadness and grief was all I needed to see to realize that I was not keeping my contract with God, not just my husband. By showing him kindness amid our suffering, Love was able to sneak through all the pain. As much as I wanted to hate this man, I could not. The soul will always choose peace if we let it.
I hugged my husband for the first time in 6 months when he told me his Uncle Kurt had died. I had not touched him or had any affection since he filed for divorce, but when I hugged him the Love was still there. I squeezed his 6’4” frame in my arms and he melted like a baby being picked up from daycare for the first time. His father had passed when he was six and he was raised by his grandmother and his uncle. My husband cried and cried and all I could think about was how much he needed me. That is Love. When you think about that person and feel love for them in the midst of your hatred of their behavior. Because isn’t that who we hate? The person’s behavior, not them.
Since that day, my disturbing-the-peace charges were dropped and the court required me to take anger management classes. I attended a grief counseling and support group at my church to properly process the death of my father. Plus, my husband and I started attending a monthly marriage workshop before the COVID-19 pandemic (which is a whole different story!). In fact, it was during quarantine that I truly realized how grateful I was to have Harvey in my life as a support system, friend, and husband. I can’t imagine if we had gotten a divorce after two years of marriage. We would both be going through this pandemic alone. Our near divorce has brought us closer than we could have ever imagined, and I hope that this can inspire any struggling couple or marriage.
I am so glad my husband and I stayed together. We love each other more now that we have made it through the storm.
This is the story of Melodie Harris
Melodie now lives in Las Vegas happily married to her best friend and they have four children. All the children are so glad their parents stayed together and so are they. Since the country-wide quarantine in the midst of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, date nights have been far and few in between, but Meoldie and her husband still find joy in watching movies next to the fireplace and playing board games with their children. Her husband no longer plays Mortal Kombat but delights in a friendly competitive Mario Kart from time to time. They now also enjoy running on their treadmill in their new home gym together and recently, Melodie has gone back to writing.
Melodie and her husband, Harvey, 2019.
This story first touched our hearts on December 8, 2020
Writer: Melodie Harris | Editor: Colleen Walker